Arbitrability - Scope of Arbitration Provision

Carroll v. Castellanos, [Ms. 1170197, Mar. 22, 2019] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2019). The Court (Mendheim, J.; Parker, C.J., Bolin, Shaw, and Bryan, JJ., concur) reverses the Jefferson Circuit Court’s order denying a motion to compel arbitration filed by defendant physicians in a tort action alleging tortious interference with a contract between plaintiff physician and the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation, P.C. (UAHSF). The contract contained an arbitration provision.

The Court applied settled law that substantive arbitrability concerns “‘1) whether a valid agreement to arbitrate exists and, if so, 2), whether the specific dispute falls within the scope of that agreement.’” Ms. *11, quoting Brasfield and Gorrie, LLC v. Soho Partners, LLC, 35 So. 3d 601, 604 (Ala. 2009). The Court noted that the arbitration agreement between the plaintiff and UAHSF was governed by AAA Rules. Pursuant to those rules, questions of substantive arbitrability are for the arbitrator. Ms. *11. The Court explained that “substantive arbitrability addresses both whether the non-signatories – the individual defendants – can enforce the agreement to arbitrate and whether the claims at issue are encompassed by the arbitration provision.” Ibid.

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