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Jack Dennis, Jr., and Snake River Fishing Trips, Inc v. Jack Dennis Sports

June 22, 2011

JACK DENNIS, JR., AND SNAKE RIVER FISHING TRIPS, INC.,
APPELLANTS (DEFENDANTS),
v.
JACK DENNIS SPORTS, INC., A WYOMING CORPORATION, APPELLEE (PLAINTIFF).



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Marilyn S. Kite Chief Justice

June 22, 2011

S-11-0140

O RDER D ISMISSING A PPEAL

[¶1] This matter came before the Court upon its own motion following a review of recently docketed appeals. After a careful review of the file, this Court finds that the captioned appeal should be dismissed, for the following reasons.

[¶2] This is an appeal from two district court orders, (1) an "Order Regarding Motions Related to Arbitration" and (2) a "Decision and Order Over-Ruling and Denying Any Requested Relief Regarding Defendants' Objections to Order Regarding Motions Related to Arbitration." In the first order, the district court granted Appellee's motion to compel arbitration and stayed district court proceedings. In the second order, the district court overruled objections to the first order.

[¶3] The question here is whether the order compelling arbitration is a final, appealable order. Although there is no published authority from this Court on this question, there is abundant authority from other jurisdictions. See Annotation, Appealability of state court's order or decree compelling or refusing to compel arbitration, 6 ALR 4th 652 (1981). In discussing the issue, this Court will examine Wyoming court rules, Wyoming statutes, and the Federal Arbitration Act.

[¶4] The Court must first examine W.R.A.P. 1.05, which defines which orders are appealable. That rule provides in pertinent part:

W.R.A.P. 1.05. Appealable order defined.

An appealable order is:

(a) An order affecting a substantial right in an action, when such order, in effect, determines the action and prevents a judgment; or

(b) An order affecting a substantial right made in a special proceeding;

Under subsection (a), the order compelling arbitration did not "determine the action," inasmuch as the district court proceedings are stayed. As the Arkansas Supreme Court has written:

We conclude that the trial court's order did not in effect determine the action or discontinue it. The matter has merely been referred to arbitration and the appellant can obtain review of the arbitration decision and raise the very question presented here, whether the trial court was right in referring the case to arbitration. If we permit an appeal from every order referring a case to arbitration, the policy favoring arbitration would be frustrated, and we would be twice reviewing a case.

Chem-Ash, Inc. v. Arkansas Power & Light Co., 751 S.W.2d 353, 354 (Ark. 1988). Next, under Rule 1.05(b), an order compelling arbitration may affect a substantial right. However, this case does not involve a special proceeding. This is a typical civil action, a contract dispute. Thus, we conclude that ...


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