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.

Modern Piping, Inc. v. Board of Regents

Court of Appeals of Iowa

April 3, 2019

MODERN PIPING, INC., Petitioner-Appellee/Cross-Appellant,
v.
BOARD OF REGENTS, STATE OF IOWA ON BEHALF OF THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellant/Cross-Appellee. BOARD OF REGENTS, STATE OF IOWA ON BEHALF OF THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, Petitioner-Appellant/Cross-Appellee,
v.
MODERN PIPING, INC., Respondent-Appellee/Cross-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Ian K. Thornhill, Judge.

         The University of Iowa, Board of Regents, and State of Iowa appeal from the district court order confirming an arbitration award.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and George A. Carroll, Assistant Attorney General, for appellants.

          Jeffrey A. Stone and Roger W. Stone of Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman PLC, Cedar Rapids, for appellee.

          Considered by Vogel, C.J., and Doyle and Mullins, JJ.

          DOYLE, Judge.

         The University of Iowa, Board of Regents, and State of Iowa (appellants) appeal from the district court order granting Modern Piping, Inc.'s motion to confirm an arbitration award. They contend they did not consent to arbitration. They also contend that the addition of a second issue to the arbitration significantly altered the substantive issues to be decided. We review the district court's judgment for errors at law. See Bartlett Grain Co., LP v. Sheeder, 829 N.W.2d 18, 23 (Iowa 2013).

         In 2013, Modern Piping contracted to perform work on two building projects at the University of Iowa. One contract was for work on the Hancher Auditorium Replacement Facility and the other was for work on the University of Iowa Children's Hospital. The contracts contain identical arbitration clauses.

         In 2015, Modern Piping moved to compel arbitration following a dispute arising from the Hancher Auditorium building project. The district court granted the motion after determining arbitration was mandatory under the contract.[1] Modern Piping later moved to amend its demand for arbitration to add a claim regarding a performance dispute that had arisen on the Children's Hospital project. Finding both claims came under the same contract provisions and that the amendment did not substantially change the issues before the AAA, the district court granted the amendment in the interest of judicial economy.

         The matter proceeded to arbitration before the American Arbitration Association, which ultimately awarded Modern Piping a total of $21, 493, 129.81 plus interest for the two projects in March 2018. The appellants moved to vacate the arbitration award, and Modern Piping moved the district court to confirm the award. In August 2018, the district court granted Modern Piping's motion to confirm the arbitration award, and this appeal followed.

         The appellants contend the district court erred in confirming the arbitration award because they never consented to arbitration. Their argument is one of contract interpretation.

Generally, when we interpret contracts, we look to the language contained within the four corners of the document. "In the construction of written contracts, the cardinal principle is that the intent of the parties must control, and except in cases of ambiguity, this is determined by what the contract itself says." If the intent of the parties is clear and unambiguous from the words of the contract itself, we will enforce the contract as written.

DuTrac Cmty. Credit Union v. Radiology Grp. Real Estate, L.C., 891 N.W.2d 210, 216 (Iowa 2017) (internal citations omitted). "Cases interpreting language in statutes are persuasive authority in interpreting contractual language." Thomas v. Progressive Cas. Ins. Co., 749 N.W.2d 678, 684 n.5 (Iowa 2008)

         Both contracts provide identical clauses regarding arbitration. The first clause concerns disputes submitted to a design professional, who the contract designates to judge interpretation and ...


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.