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Arbitrability

Performance Builders, LLC, et al. v. Lopas, [Ms. 1190977, May 28, 2021], ___ So. 3d ___ (Ala. 2021). The Court (Mendheim, J.; Parker, C.J., and Bolin, Shaw, Wise, Bryan, Sellers, Stewart, and Mitchell, JJ., concur) reverses the Etowah Circuit Court’s denial of a motion to compel arbitration of the Lopases’ claims arising from a home inspection, appraisal and sale. The Court concludes that “the movants have met their burden of establishing the existence of an agreement containing an arbitration provision between the parties and that that agreement involves a transaction affecting interstate commerce.” Ms. **19-20. The Court declines to reach the merits of the Lopases’ argument that enforcing the arbitration agreement would violate § 8-1-40(2), Ala. Code 1975, which provides that “‘[s]pecific performance cannot be enforced against a party to a contract. ... [i]f it is not, as to him, just and reasonable,’” Ms. *13. The Court explains “[b]ased on this Court’s analysis in Lewis [v. Conseco Finance Corp., 848 So. 2d 920 (Ala. 2002)], it is apparent that a challenge to a contract under § 8-1-40 is a challenge to the enforceability of the contract as a whole, which is an issue of arbitrability. Pursuant to the terms of the arbitration clause in the inspection agreement, issues of arbitrability are the responsibility of an arbitrator, not this Court, to decide.” Ms. *19.

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