Termite-treatment dispute gets hearing, rules Arkansas SC

Legal News Line Feb. 23, 2007, 8:37am

Chief Justice Jim Hannah

LITTLE ROCK -- Federal arbitration is the correct remedy for a contractual dispute with a pest exterminator, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled late yesterday. In Pest Management Inc. vs. Langer and Stalnaker (no. 06-748), a case where termites were called wood-destroying insects, the Supreme Court overruled a Circuit Court decision not to grant arbitration to Pest Management. (See attached file). The Circuit Court had earlier ruled that the case was subject to the Arkansas Arbitration Act. It then ruled that any causes of action in the case "sounded in tort" and so were exempt from arbitration under the Act. The Supreme Court disputed Langer's claim that no form of arbitration applied to the case since his agreement with Pest Management did not conform to the "Standard Contract for Treatment of Wood -Destroying Insects." "There is no merit to Langer's claim that the inspection, graph, and letter of clearance [between the two parties] were not issued pursuant to" the contract, wrote Chief Justice Jim Hannah in a unanimous opinion. The Court also found that the case constituted "a transaction involving interstate commerce" and was therefore subject to administration under the FAA. In reversing the Circuit Court's decision the Supreme Court also affirmed a ruling by the Court of Appeals. The case was remanded.

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Arkansas Supreme Court
625 Marshall St
Little Rock, AR 72201

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