NISHA LLC v. TriBuilt Constr. Group, LLCAnnotate this Case
This case began as a dispute over construction costs between Appellee TriBuilt Construction Group, LLC and Appellants NISHA, LLC and Centennial Bank. After Appellee filed suit against Appellants, the circuit court ordered arbitration with regard to Appellee's claims. Appellee subsequently decided to represent itself in the arbitration and circuit court proceedings. Appellants filed a petition for a permanent injunction requesting the circuit court to enjoin the corporation's officers, director, or employees from representing Tribuilt in the circuit court or arbitration proceedings. The circuit court denied Appellants' petition so far as it pertained to arbitration proceedings, holding (1) nonlawyer representation in an arbitration proceeding does not constitute the practice of law; and (2) an arbitrator, rather than the court, should determine issues regarding legal representation during arbitration proceedings. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a corporate officer, director, or employee who is not a licensed attorney, engages in the unauthorized practice of law by representing the corporation in arbitration proceedings; and (2) issues regarding legal representation during arbitration proceedings fall squarely within the ambit of the court's constitutional powers and may not be decided by an arbitration body.