Hamer Law Group Successful Appeal to Alabama Supreme Court
Chris Hamer and Rebecca Wright of Hamer Law Group were successful in their appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court in Alliance Investment Company, LLC v. Omni Construction Company, Inc., et. al, No. 1170504, 2019 WL 1219416 (Ala. March 15, 2019).
On August 28, 2017, the circuit court compelled the parties to arbitration under an agreement governed by the American Arbitration Association’s Construction Industry Arbitration Rules. Thereafter, a dispute arose between the parties concerning whether the arbitration proceedings should be held in Alabama or Ohio. The AAA made an administrative determination that the arbitration would be held in Alabama. Omni and Kroger asked the AAA to reconsider its decision. The AAA informed the parties that the determination regarding the location of the arbitration would be subject to review by the arbitrator. Before the case could proceed to an arbitrator, Omni and Kroger filed an “Emergency Motion to Clarify Order Compelling Arbitration”, and requested that the circuit court order the parties to arbitrate in Ohio.
On January 22, 2018, the circuit court entered an order, which purportedly amended its order compelling arbitration (147 days later), and required the arbitration proceedings to be held in Ohio. On appeal, Alliance argued that the motion to “clarify” was in substance an untimely Rule 59(e), Ala. R. Civ. P., motion seeking to amend the prior judgment compelling arbitration, and the circuit court lacked authority to order the parties to arbitrate in Ohio.
The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the location of the arbitration proceedings was an issue for the arbitrator to decide under Rule 9(a) of the AAA’s CIA Rules, and, under the facts of this case, the circuit court lacked the authority to order that the arbitration proceedings be held in Ohio. The full opinion from the Alabama Supreme Court is available here..