Sun Trust Bank v. LillistonAnnotate this Case
In 2001, appellant SunTrust Bank entered into a loan agreement with L-T Adventures, Inc. (“LTA”); this agreement did not include an arbitration provision. In 2005, SunTrust entered into a subsequent agreement with Jedon Lilliston (a co-owner of LTA) and her former husband in a transaction guaranteed by LTA. In connection with this second loan, the parties entered into a “Swap Agreement.” The Swap Agreement included an arbitration clause, providing, inter alia, that “any party may demand arbitration.” Following a dispute concerning interest charges associated with both transactions, Lilliston and LTA filed suit against SunTrust in April 2013. In January 2015, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their action; at no point before the action was dismissed did SunTrust demand arbitration. Lilliston and LTA filed a renewal action, pursuant to OCGA 9-2-61 (a). SunTrust answered the complaint and moved to compel arbitration based on the provision in the Swap Agreement. The question presented in this case was whether a party’s demand for arbitration in a renewal action could be deemed waived based on that party’s conduct in the earlier, original litigation; the Court of Appeals answered this question in the affirmative. The Georgia Supreme Court concluded, however, that a renewal suit filed pursuant to OCGA 9-2-61 (a) was a de novo action, thus, a party’s conduct in the original action had no bearing on the question of waiver in the recommenced action. Accordingly, the Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals.