Best “Man Bites Dog” Story
In the best “man bites dog” story to happen in the pest control practice in years, Terminix made a shocking argument to the Alabama Supreme Court last week. Terminix claims customers must sue it in arbitration. Except it argues that its customers must sue in Court.
Since the 1980’s Terminix has spent millions of dollars convincing trial courts and appeals courts across America that arbitration clauses in contracts must be decided in private arbitration hearings. Well, after losing more than a million dollars in an arbitration case in Birmingham, where they caused an injury of more than $400,000 to a young family’s home, Terminix changed its tune. The customer’s were represented by Campbell Law PC in Birmingham, Alabama. They argued that Terminix offered reasons for the appeal that were so frivolous that they should be punished under rules that discourage frivolous lawsuits.
The lower court ordered that the arbitrator who heard the first arbitration case should decide whether Terminix made up frivolous grounds for the appeal it lost. Since there was not a court reporter for the case, the arbitrator is the only person who could know if Terminix made up some of the reasons for its appeal.
They appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court last week. In the appeal Terminix argues that its arbitration clause does not cover these disputes. Though the clause Terminix drafted literally says they cover “all disputes.” In other words, Terminix argued that tort and statutory claims that it has claimed for decades cannot be brought in court can only be brought in court.
Don’t worry about calling us if your claim seems small because it could help you avoid a tragic mistake. We evaluate claims free of charge, contact us today.
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