Appeal from the District Court of Sargent County, Southeast Judicial District, the Honorable Daniel D. Narum, Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Crothers, Justice.
N.D. Supreme CourtJames Valley Grain v. David,
This opinion is subject to petition for rehearing. [Go to Documents]
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Opinion of the Court by Crothers, Justice.
[¶1] Loren David appeals the district court's judgment confirming the arbitration panel's award of damages to James Valley Grain, LLC. David argues the district court erred by confirming the arbitration decision because a valid arbitration agreement does not exist, the arbitration agreement was unconscionable and the arbitration panel failed to properly apply the law and arbitration rules. James Valley argues David waived his right to challenge the arbitration award because he did not move to vacate the award within the statutory time limit. We affirm the district court's judgment confirming the arbitration award.
[¶2] On July 3 and 10, 2007, James Valley and David contracted to sell James Valley soybeans to be grown during the 2008 season. On August 5, 2008, James Valley sued, alleging David improperly cancelled the contracts in April 2008 and claiming damages for anticipatory repudiation, breach of contract and promissory estoppel. David answered, stating he lawfully cancelled the contracts on September 1, 2007 and James Valley is estopped from claiming damages after he cancelled the contracts.
[¶3] On October 6, 2008, James Valley moved to compel arbitration, arguing the National Grain and Feed Association ("NGFA") Rules were incorporated into the contracts by the terms "Trade rules: NGFA" and the rules require arbitration. David opposed the motion, arguing that no valid arbitration agreement existed and, if there was a valid arbitration agreement, it was unconscionable and that James Valley waived arbitration by filing the complaint. On December 18, 2008, the district court ordered arbitration, finding that the arbitration clause was properly incorporated, that the arbitration clause was not unconscionable and that James Valley did not waive its right to arbitrate by filing the complaint. The parties arbitrated the case before a panel from the National Grain and Feed Association.
[¶4] On August 31, 2010, James Valley moved to confirm the June 22, 2010 arbitration award. On September 21, 2010, the parties stipulated to David having seven additional days to respond to the motion to confirm the arbitration award, and the district court entered an order based on the stipulation. On September 28, 2010, David opposed confirmation of the arbitration award, and as part of his "Brief in Opposition to Confirming Arbitration Award," he argued the district court should vacate the award because the arbitration panel refused to consider the evidence he presented and because no agreement to arbitrate existed. James Valley responded that David forfeited these arguments because David did not move to vacate the arbitration award within the ninety-day time period specified in N.D.C.C. § 32-29.3-23.
[¶5] On October 28, 2010, a hearing about confirmation of the arbitration award was held. On December 15, 2010, the district court issued a memorandum opinion confirming the arbitration award, finding that David did not move to vacate or modify the arbitration award within the time limit, that a valid arbitration clause existed and that, even if the motion had been timely, no reason to vacate the ...