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Gemstone Builders, Inc. v. Stutz

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 08-17-2011
Case #: A141847
Ortega, PJ for the Court; Sercombe, J.; Landau, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A141847.htm

Contract Law: Even though the text of a contract was ambiguous as whether binding arbitration was required. The intent of parties could still be ascertained based on the policy goal of arbitration.

The trial court denied Jeff Stutz’s argument that a contract dispute between him and Gemstone Builders, Inc. required binding arbitration. Stutz appealed the ruling, arguing that the contract was not ambiguous in requiring binding arbitration, and arbitration should be compelled. The Court of Appeals examined the contract, and found that the contract did require arbitration, but was ambiguous concerning whether the arbitration should be binding. The Court ruled that the parties’ intent was still ascertainable and thus could be inferred; and that based on the policy favoring binding arbitration, the parties intended to require that the arbitration in this case be binding. Reversed and Remanded.