Choice Hotels filed an application to confirm an arbitration award of over $247,000 for the alleged breach of a franchise agreement by two defendants, which failed to timely commence construction of a hotel. The defendants had not participated in or submitted any written materials for arbitration. However, the court denied Choice Hotels’ first motion for a default judgment because it failed to adequately establish subject matter jurisdiction and jurisdiction under the FAA. The Court explained that the FAA is not an independent source of jurisdiction, and further held that Choice Hotels’ failed to plead the requirements of diversity jurisdiction. Additionally, because there was no record in the application or the arbitration award itself that the arbitration occurred in Maryland, which was required by the arbitration agreement, the court could not determine that jurisdiction existed under the FAA. Choice Hotels filed a second motion for default judgment, which successfully alleged diversity jurisdiction and established that the case was within the scope of the FAA. The Court then granted the motion for default judgment and confirmed the award. , Case No. TDC-15-2386 (USDC D. Md. Oct. 20, 2016).
This post written by Gail Jankowski, a law clerk at Carlton Fields in Washington, DC.
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