Arbitral Jurisdiction - Chapter 2 - AAA Yearbook on Arbitration and the Law - 29th Edition
Originally from the AAA Yearbook on Arbitration and the Law - 29th Edition
2.01 Scope of the Arbitration Agreement
Unison Co. v. Juhl Energy Dev., Inc., 789 F.3d 816 (8th Cir. 2015)
An arbitration clause in a Turbine Supply Agreement, which covered “any dispute [arising] … in connection with this Agreement or any legal relationship associated with or contemplated by this Agreement” was a broad arbitration clause covering disputes related to the Financial Agreement. This clause did not render null the jurisdiction clause contained in the Financial Agreement.
Juhl Energy Development, Inc. (JEDI) entered into two agreements with Unison: a Turbine Supply Agreement (TSA) containing an arbitration clause which covered “any dispute [arising] … in connection with this Agreement or any legal relationship associated with or contemplated by this Agreement”; and a Financial Agreement (FA), which contained a jurisdiction clause giving jurisdiction to the courts of Minnesota and under which Unison agreed to lend to JEDI the amount of the TSA contract price. Unison brought suit against JEDI in federal court in Minnesota asserting claims relating to the FA. JEDI filed a motion to compel arbitration based on the TSA arbitration clause. The district court denied the motion. JEDI appealed.
The Eighth Circuit, having observed that the parties conceded the arbitration clause in the TSA was valid, found based on the language of the arbitration clause that it was a broad clause, and found, based on the interdependence of the parties’ obligations and the cross-references between the TSA and FA, that the clause applied to the disputes regarding the FA. The Eighth Circuit further found that the arbitration clause did not render null the jurisdiction clause contained in the FA, which would still apply if the parties chose not to arbitrate or sought to enforce an arbitration decision.