Maine Supreme Court affirms arbitration agreement

By David Hutton | Oct 31, 2017

PORTLAND, Maine (Legal Newsline) – The Maine Supreme Court has dealt Cate Street Capital a blow in its appeal of a Cumberland Superior Court judgment, affirming an arbitration award granted to Matthew Eastwick and denying a motion to vacate the award.

The Oct. 12 decision comes after Eastwick and Cate Street Capital had agreed to arbitration for any disputes stemming from a settlement agreement.

The panel hearing the case included Chief Justice Leigh Saufley and justices Donald G. Alexander, Andrew M. Mead, Ellen A. Gorman, Joseph M. Jabar, Jeffrey L. Hjelm and Thomas E. Humphrey.

According to the opinion, Eastwick worked at Cate Street Capital from August 2010 until February 2016 under an employment contract, which included dispute resolution agreement that mandated mediation and arbitration. It did not allow an opportunity for resolution through court action.

Following Eastwick’s departure from Cate, a dispute arose, which was resolved during mediation held on July 27, 2016.

Under the agreement, Eastwick was to receive $100,000 with 30 days of the release and $15,000 per quarter for 10 quarters, effective Jan. 15, 2017, the opinion states.

According to the agreement, if Cate Street didn’t make its timely quarterly payments and failed to make the payment 30 days after it was requested, Eastwick was entitled to file a judgment for the entire amount owed to him.

However, the agreement wasn’t finalized and another mediation session was held on Oct. 11, 2016.

A mediator signed an order proposed by Eastwick, but Cate Street objected, noting the session was nothing more than another mediation session and objected to the mediator’s decision.

On Jan. 9, the Superior Court rejected a motion by Cate Street to vacate and granted Eastwick’s application to confirm the arbitration award. It also approved a writ of attachment and an attachment upon trustee process in the amount of $250,000.

The court denied a motion by Cate Street for reconsideration and the company filed its appeal.

In its opinion, the Maine Supreme Court noted that after backing an application to confirm an arbitration award and the court must enter a judgment to support the award.

“Although the court noted in its order that the parties’ confidentiality had been compromised by the litigation, the court’s judgment incorporated the final agreement, including the ten quarterly payments, without ordering acceleration of those payments not yet due and without modifying any of its terms, including the confidentiality provision,” the court concluded in affirming the judgment.

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