Dr. Rueben C. Setliff, III filed a derivative action against several Managers individually and in their capacities as members of the management committee of Black Hills Surgical Physicians, LLC (BHSP), alleging that the Managers breached their fiduciary duties under BHSP’s operating agreement. The circuit court ruled that the dispute was subject to arbitration. The arbitrator ordered that Setliff recover attorney’s fees and costs against the Managers and ruled that the Managers were entitled to be indemnified by BHSP under the operating agreement. The circuit court concluded that the arbitrator did not exceed her authority in making the award of fees and costs and confirmed Setliff’s award. The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s order affirming the award, holding that the arbitrator exceeded her powers in awarding Setliff his attorney’s fees and expenses in direct violation of BHSP’s operating agreement. View "Black Hills Surgical Physicians v. Steliff" on Justia Law
Dan Prue sold his majority interest in DT-Trak Consulting, a medical coding business, for a lump-sum payment and several annual payments. DT-Trak withheld an annual payment, asserting that Prue had violated the parties' stock purchase agreement. The matter proceeded to arbitration. A three-member arbitration panel made an award in Prue's favor. DT-Trak sought to vacated the award, alleging that the arbitrator it selected demonstrated evident partiality and that the panel's findings of fact and conclusions of law were insufficient. The circuit court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that under either the Federal Arbitration Act or South Dakota Arbitration Act, DT-Trak failed to show that the arbitration award should be vacated, as (1) there was no support that any member of the arbitration panel exhibited evident partiality; and (2) the findings of fact and conclusions of law submitted by the panel were sufficient under the requirements of the agreement. View "DT-Trak Consulting, Inc. v. Prue" on Justia Law
The parties in this case signed an arbitration agreement providing that arbitration would occur in accordance with the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) Code of Procedure, but the NAF became unavailable to administer its Code and the arbitration. Defendants moved the circuit court to appoint a substitute arbitrator under Section 5 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). The circuit court concluded that a substitute arbitrator could not be appointed under Section 5 because the NAF Code of Procedure was integral to the parties' agreement to arbitrate and the NAF was unavailable to administer its Code. The Supreme Court reversed after considering the language of the arbitration agreement, the language of the NAF Code, and the federal policy expressed in the FAA, holding that Section 5 applied, and that absent some other defense, Section 5 required the appointment of a substitute arbitrator. View "Wright v. GGNSC Holdings LLC " on Justia Law
Plaintiff-Appellee Spiska Engineering, Inc. (Spiska) sued Defendant-Appellee SPM Thermo-Shield, Inc. (Thermo-Shield) for breach of contract. Following a number of proceedings and appeals relating to the arbitration of the dispute, an arbitration award was confirmed, and Spiska obtained a money judgment against Thermo-Shield. A receiver was appointed to satisfy the judgment by liquidating Thermo-Shield's assets. Appellant Joseph Raver was Thermo-Shield's president, CEO and sole shareholder. Mr. Raver was not a party to the arbitration proceedings. The receiver mailed Mr. Raver a motion and notice of its intent to sell Thermo-Shield's assets. Mr. Raver appeared at a hearing at the circuit court, and objected to the sale. The court denied Mr. Raver's objection, and approved the sale. Though injunctive relief was not an issue at the hearing, the receiver included language in his proposed findings and conclusions that permanently enjoined Mr. Raver from competing with Thermo-Shield. The court adopted the receiver's findings in its final order. Mr. Raver appealed the award of injunctive relief, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction over Mr. Raver to enjoin him. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction to enjoin Mr. Raver from competing with Thermo-Shield. The Court remanded the case for further proceedings.