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Don’t rely on counsel’s assertion of agreement to binding arbitration without the clients’ explicit agreement as well.

October 1, 2018
Gallina v. Adrenaline Family Entertainment Inc., 2018 Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1320

The plaintiffs sought an appeal from an order denying reinstatement of a complaint for damages for injuries sustained on an amusement ride. The plaintiffs attempted to reinstate their complaint after they willingly participated in an arbitration without objection that resulted in a “no cause.” According to the plaintiffs, they never understood they were giving up their rights to a trial and never signed anything. The motion court denied an evidentiary hearing. The only evidence of their decision to waive their right to trial was their participation in the arbitration and certifications of defense counsel that was explained by the arbitrator to the participants. The Superior Court found that they shared the motion court’s concern about the need for courts to be able to rely on counsels’ agreements to arbitrate and the impact on allowing dissatisfied litigants to reopen cases, but due to the circumstances , there was insufficient evidence for the motion judge to have decided the issue without a hearing. The order was vacated and remanded for a hearing as to whether the plaintiffs knowingly waived their right to a trial by a judge or jury.

 

 

Case Law Alerts, 4th Quarter, October 2018

Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2018 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.

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