Parties Must Proceed to Arbitration Despite Unavailability of Arbitration Forum Specifically Named in the Contract

Paulozzi v. Parkview Custom Homes, L.L.C., 2018 Ohio App. Lexis 4739 ( Nov. 1, 2018)  

 This case arose out of a dispute between homeowners and their contractor.  Dissatisfied with the work, the Paulozzis sued their contractor, Parkview Custom Homes, alleging, inter alia, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and fraud.  In response, Parkview moved to stay the litigation and compel arbitration under the agreement’s arbitration provision.

The parties did not dispute that the contract required the Paulozzis to proceed through arbitration.  But the contract also specified that “the arbitration shall be conducted under the auspices of the Ohio Arbitration and Mediation Center in accordance with its rules, at Cleveland, Ohio.”  However, when the Paulozzis filed suit, the OAMC appeared to be defunct.

The Paulozzis argued that because the chosen forum no longer existed, the arbitration provision was unenforceable.  In response, Parkview maintained that the essential purpose of the arbitration provision was still capable of substantial accomplishment, and that the court should enforce it.  In the end, the trial court held that the original forum was defunct, and because the arbitration provision did not provide for an alternative forum, it was unenforceable under the doctrine of impossibility.  On appeal, the Ohio Court of Appeals reversed. Continue reading “Parties Must Proceed to Arbitration Despite Unavailability of Arbitration Forum Specifically Named in the Contract”