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Monday, December 18, 2006

GOODELL DeVRIES WIN APPEAL IN MANDATORY ARBITRATION CASE

On November 30, 2006, in Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals, Linda S. Woolf and Nichole Nesbitt of Goodell, DeVries Leech & Dann won an affirmance of a previous dismissal for a national investment company and one of its employees in a breach of contract and defamation matter.

The case, Arban v. Edward Jones, et al. (CSA No. 0055, Sept. Term 2006), was brought by a former investment representative who claimed that following termination of employment he was denied certain commissions owed to him and was defamed by statements made by another employee to his potential new employer. Goodell’s Motion to Dismiss and Compel Arbitration was grounded on a signed employment agreement with a mandatory arbitration clause.

Plaintiff argued that the arbitration clause was unenforceable and that it did not apply to his claims for defamation which did not “result from” his employment.

The court below dismissed the action and the Court of Special Appeals affirmed, holding that because the arbitration clause applied to both the employer and employee it was enforceable, and that arbitration clauses should be construed broadly.

Because the alleged defamatory statements related to the plaintiff’s employment, the defamation claim fell within the arbitration provision, and the plaintiff could not bring his action in circuit court.
 

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