First Weber Group, Inc. v. Synergy Real Estate Group, LLCAnnotate this Case
An arbitration panel ordered James Graham to pay First Weber Group Inc. for a disputed real estate brokerage commission. Graham failed to pay, and First Weber filed an action to confirm the arbitration award. The circuit court ordered Graham to pay First Weber the commission awarded in the arbitration but denied First Weber’s request for costs and reasonable attorney’s fees, concluding that no costs may be awarded when confirming an arbitration award. Thereafter, First Weber filed an arbitration request with the Realtors Association of South Central Wisconsin, Inc., of which Graham was a member, asking the Association to arbitrate the dispute over costs and reasonable attorney’s fees because judicial confirmation of the commission award was necessary. Graham refused to attend the arbitration hearing. First Weber subsequently filed a petition to compel arbitration of the dispute regarding fees and costs. The circuit court denied the petition, concluding that First Weber’s arbitration request was untimely. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that under the arbitration agreement, Graham’s timeliness and estoppel defenses against arbitration are to be determined in the arbitration proceedings, not by a court in a proceeding to compel arbitration, and therefore, Graham has not overcome the presumption in favor of arbitration.