Great Western Mining & Mineral Co. v. ADR Options, Inc., 062811 FED3, 10-3142
|Opinion Judge:||HARDIMAN, Circuit Judge.|
|Party Name:||GREAT WESTERN MINING & MINERAL COMPANY, Appellant v. ADR OPTIONS, INC.; BROWNSTEIN AND VITALE, P.C.; BROWNSTEIN VITALE & WEISS, P.C.|
|Attorney:||Benjamin C. Weiner [Argued] Attorney for Appellant Great Western Mining & Mineral Company. Kerri E. Chewning [Argued] Frank D. Allen, Michael P. Hackett, Archer & Greiner Attorneys for Appellee ADR Options, Inc. Candidus K. Dougherty [Argued] Jeffrey B. McCarron, Swartz Campbell Attorneys for App...|
|Judge Panel:||Before: BARRY, HARDIMAN and NYGAARD, Circuit Judges.|
|Case Date:||June 28, 2011|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit|
Argued April 27, 2011
On Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (D.C. No. 09-cv-02907) District Judge: Honorable Peter G. Sheridan
Great Western Mining & Mineral Company appeals the District Court's order granting Appellees' motions to dismiss for improper venue. For the following reasons, we will vacate and remand to the District Court for further proceedings.
Because we write for the parties, who are familiar with the facts and procedural history of this case, we summarize them only briefly.
In 1999, Great Western pursued a legal malpractice action against Appellees Brownstein Vitale & Weiss, P.C, and Brownstein & Vitale, P.C. (collectively Brownstein & Vitale) in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County. The parties agreed to submit the matter to binding arbitration before Tom Rutter (Rutter), an arbitrator with Appellee ADR Options, Inc. (ADR Options). The parties' arbitration agreement stated:
Each party and participating attorney has disclosed any past or present relationship with the arbitrator, direct or indirect, whether financial, professional, social or any other kind. The arbitrator has also disclosed any past or present relationship with any party or attorney. It is understood that any doubt has been resolved in favor of disclosure.
In September 2003, Rutter entered an arbitration award in favor of Brownstein & Vitale. Great Western then filed a petition to vacate the award in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, alleging that ADR Options had undisclosed conflicts of interest with defense counsel for Brownstein & Vitale. The court denied the petition to vacate, and Great Western appealed to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, which affirmed on September 22, 2005.
While the petition to vacate was pending, Great Western filed a series of amended complaints in Pennsylvania state court against ADR Options, Brownstein & Vitale, and Rutter, alleging breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and violations of Pennsylvania's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL). The Court of Common Pleas dismissed the actions, and the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed in May 2007.
In February 2008, Great Western filed a federal action in the District of New Jersey, alleging that certain members of the Pennsylvania state judiciary conspired to issue favorable rulings in exchange for future employment at ADR Options. The District Court dismissed Great Western's complaint for failure to state a claim on March 16, 2009, and denied its motions for reconsideration and leave to amend. In a...
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