Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Accordant Communications, LLC v. Sayers Construction, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division

September 18, 2019

ACCORDANT COMMUNICATIONS, LLC, Plaintiff
v.
SAYERS CONSTRUCTION, LLC, Defendant

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          SUSAN HIGHTOWER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         TO: THE HONORABLE LEE YEAKEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before this Court are Defendant’s Rule 12(b)(1) Motion to Dismiss, filed on May 23, 2019 (Dkt. No. 10); Plaintiff’s Response, filed on June 7, 2019 (Dkt. No. 11); Defendant’s Reply, filed on June 14, 2019 (Dkt. No. 13); and Plaintiff’s Surreply, filed on July 17, 2019 (Dkt. No. 17).[1] On July 17, 2019, the District Court referred the above motion to the undersigned Magistrate Judge for Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72, and Rule 1 of Appendix C of the Local Rules of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas (“Local Rules”).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Accordant Communications, LLC (“Accordant”) is a limited liability company organized under the laws of Georgia with its principal place of business in Seminole County, Florida. Defendant Sayers Construction, LLC (“Sayers”) is a limited liability company organized under the laws of Texas with its principal place of business in Travis County, Texas.

         On December 6, 2017, Accordant filed an arbitration proceeding with the American Arbitration Association against Sayers pursuant to the arbitration clause contained in the parties’ contract. See Exh. A to Dkt. No. 1 (Case No. 01-17-007-4311). Accordant sought damages against Sayers relating to work performed by Accordant as a subcontractor for certain electric utility construction in South Florida for which Accordant allegedly was not compensated. Accordant asserted causes of action for breach of contract, quantum meruit, and fraud. Sayers asserted counterclaims for breach of contract.

         On March 22, 2019, the Arbitration Tribunal (“Tribunal”) issued its “Partial Award” finding that Accordant was the prevailing party in the proceeding and awarded Accordant $459, 392.09 in monetary damages, “plus an amount to be determined by the Arbitrator for interest, reasonable costs, expenses and attorney’s fees.” See Exh. A to Dkt. No 1 at p. 41, 43. The Tribunal also found that Sayers should recover nothing on its counterclaims. The Partial Award further stated that: “This Award is intended to fully address all claims and defenses submitted in these proceedings exclusive of reasonable attorney’s fees, costs, expenses and interest.” Id. at p. 43. The Tribunal ordered the parties to submit briefing on the issue of attorney’s fees, costs, expenses, and interest. Id. at p. 41-42.

         On April 10, 2019, Accordant filed its “Application to Confirm Arbitration Award” seeking to confirm the Partial Award. Dkt. No. 1. The Application also notified the Court that it “will amend this application upon entry of an award for attorney’s fees, costs, expenses, and interest.” Id. at ¶ 10. Accordant further asserted that the Court had jurisdiction over this case based on diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).

         On May 9, 2019, the Tribunal issued its “Order on Accordant’s Application for Award of Fees, Costs and Interest and Final Award, ” further awarding Accordant $792, 565 in attorneys’ fees, $12, 989.04 in litigation costs, $72, 250 in arbitration expenses, and $59, 240.58 in prejudgment interest, with post-judgment interest from March 22, 2019 (the date of the Partial Award) until paid in full. Exh. A to Dkt. No. 7. The Final Award also stated that: “This Award is intended to fully address all claims and defenses submitted in these proceedings exclusive of reasonable attorney’s fees, costs, expenses and interest.” Id. at p. 43. Also on May 9, 2019, Accordant filed its Amended Application to Confirm Arbitration Award asking the Court to affirm the Final Award in favor of Accordant in the amount of “$1, 397, 436.71, plus post-judgment interest and post-award interest to be determined by the Court.” Dkt. No. 7 at p. 3.

         On May 23, 2019, Sayers filed the instant Motion to Dismiss this case under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Sayers contends that courts are only permitted to confirm final arbitration awards and lack subject matter jurisdiction to confirm partial awards. Sayers argues that because Accordant filed this lawsuit before the Final Arbitration Award was issued and sought only to confirm the Partial Award, this Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction at the time this suit was filed. Sayers further argues that the Amended Application to Confirm the Arbitration Award cannot cure the original deficiency because jurisdiction cannot be created retroactively. In its Reply, Sayers changes tack, arguing that the Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction at the time this action was commenced because the Partial Award was not a final arbitration award and, thus, was not ripe for adjudication by this Court. Dkt. No. 13 at p. 4.

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A. Jurisdiction

         “Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, possessing only that power authorized by Constitution and statute.” Gunn v. Minton, 568 U.S. 251, 256 (2013) (quoting Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994)). Subject matter jurisdiction can be established by a federal question or diversity of citizenship between the parties. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332. Federal question jurisdiction authorizes original jurisdiction over “all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties in the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Diversity jurisdiction authorizes the courts to have jurisdiction if the “matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000” and the parties are diverse in citizenship. 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

         B. The Federal Arbitration Act ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.