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Arbitration - Authentication of Agreement

Oaks v. Parkerson Construction, LLC, [Ms. 1171193, Feb. 28, 2020] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2020). The Court unanimously (Mitchell, J.; Parker, C.J., and Shaw, Bryan, and Mendheim, JJ., concur) reverses the Madison Circuit Court’s order compelling arbitration in a construction contract dispute between Parkerson Construction, LLC (“Parkerson”) and Jeanne Oaks. Parkerson’s motion to compel arbitration did not contain an affidavit or other evidence authenticating the agreement containing the arbitration provision. Ms. *4.

Oaks filed a motion to strike the agreement on the ground that Parkerson failed to submit any evidence authenticating the arbitration agreement. In reversing, the Court relied on Barrett v. Radjabi-Mougadam, 39 So. 3d 95 (Ala. 2009) for the proposition that a judgment based on material that would not be admissible at trial is due to be reversed. Ms. *8.

The Court rejected Parkerson’s argument that the agreement was admissible under the business/records exception to the hearsay rule. The Court held that “‘authentication is necessary before a document can be admitted under the business records exception.’” Ms. *12, citing Hampton v. Bruno’s, Inc., 646 So. 2d 597, 599 (Ala. 1994).

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