Ridge at Red Hawk, L.L.C. v. Schneider, No. 06-4162.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtPaul Kelly, Jr.
Citation493 F.3d 1174
PartiesThe RIDGE AT RED HAWK, L.L.C., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. James M. SCHNEIDER; S & K Development Company, Inc., Defendants-Appellees.
Docket NumberNo. 06-4162.
Decision Date09 July 2007
493 F.3d 1174
The RIDGE AT RED HAWK, L.L.C., Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
James M. SCHNEIDER; S & K Development Company, Inc., Defendants-Appellees.
No. 06-4162.
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit.
July 9, 2007.

Thomas William Peters (and David W. Scofield, Peters, Scofield, Price, on the brief), Salt Lake City, UT, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Robert B. Lochhead, Parr, Waddoups, Brown, Gee & Loveless, Salt Lake City, UT, for Defendants-Appellees.

Before KELLY, HENRY, and LUCERO, Circuit Judges.

PAUL KELLY, JR., Circuit Judge.


Plaintiff-Appellant The Ridge at Red Hawk, L.L.C. ("The Ridge") appeals the district court's dismissal of its complaint, which sought the vacation or modification of an arbitration award on the ground that the arbitrators erred in determining the proper venue for arbitrating a dispute between The Ridge and Defendants-Appellees James M. Schneider and S & K Development Company, Inc. ("S & K"). The Ridge first attempted to persuade a Texas trial court that venue was proper in Utah. However, the court referred the venue question to the arbitration panel, which concluded that venue was proper in Texas. The Ridge then filed this action in federal court in Utah to challenge the panel's findings. The district court granted the Defendants' motion to dismiss, holding that the venue ruling was a mixed question of fact and law and the parties' arbitration agreement permitted judicial review of pure legal questions only. We have jurisdiction over this appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we affirm.

493 F.3d 1175
Background

The Ridge is a Utah limited liability company with its principal place of business in Summit County, Utah. In 2002, it became a limited partner with 49% ownership of a Texas venture known as Mountain Red Hawk Partners, Ltd. ("Mountain Red Hawk"), which was formed to develop real property in Summit County. K2 Properties, Ltd., was the other limited partner and also owned 49% of the partnership, and K2 Development Company, Inc., was the general partner and a 2% owner of Mountain Red Hawk. Thereafter, Mr. Schneider acquired K2 Properties's interest in Mountain Red Hawk, and S & K acquired K2 Development's interest.

Mr. Schneider and S & K do not contest that they are bound by the original partnership agreement and its amendments. Specifically, the parties agree that an arbitration clause compelled Mr. Schneider to seek arbitration when he sought to dissolve the partnership in 2004. Under that clause:

In all arbitration proceedings in which the amount in controversy exceeds $100,000, in the aggregate, the arbitrators shall make specific, written findings of fact and conclusions of law. In all arbitration proceedings in which the amount in controversy exceeds $100,000, in the aggregate, the parties shall have, in addition to the limited statutory right, the right to seek vacation or modification of any award that is based in whole or in part on an incorrect or erroneous ruling of law by appeal to an appropriate court having jurisdiction. . . . The arbitrators' findings of fact shall be binding on all parties and shall not be subject to further review except as otherwise allowed by applicable law.

Aplt.App. 162-63. Moreover, the agreement provided that "[a]rbitration proceedings hereunder shall be conducted in the principal place of business of the party against whom arbitration proceedings are brought." Id. at 163.

On December 9, 2003, Mr. Schneider filed an action in Travis County, Texas District Court seeking to wind up and dissolve the partnership. Id. at 263. The Ridge filed an answer and then moved to compel arbitration in Utah, its principal place of business. Id. at 264. The court granted the motion in part, ordering that the dispute be arbitrated but referring the question of venue to the panel of arbitrators. The Ridge did not appeal this ruling.

The Ridge also did not initiate arbitration proceedings. Accordingly, counsel for Mr. Schneider sent counsel for The Ridge a demand for arbitration dated March 31, 2004. See id. at 262-65. Counsel explained that Mr. Schneider had begun proceedings before the American Arbitration Association but maintained that The Ridge had "brought arbitration against Schneider and the partnership" by moving to compel arbitration in Texas District Court. Id. at 264. Accordingly, Mr. Schneider argued that the arbitration should be held in his principal place of business, Texas.

On June 7, 2004, The Ridge filed a petition to compel arbitration in Utah federal district court. In the petition, The Ridge sought an order compelling Mr. Schneider to "terminate the Texas arbitration proceedings and, if he wishes to arbitrate a dispute with Red Hawk and/or the Partnership, to initiate arbitration proceedings in Utah in accordance with the terms of the parties' written agreement." The Ridge at Red Hawk's Petition for Order to Compel Compliance With Written Arbitration Provisions at 5, The Ridge at Red Hawk, L.L.C. v. James M. Schneider, 2:04-cv-00522-PGC (D. Utah June 7, 2004). Mr. Schneider filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, contending that the Texas state district court had referred the venue question

493 F.3d 1176

to the arbitration panel, and the Rooker-Feldman doctrine prevented the federal court in Utah from re-litigating the issue. See D.C. Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462, 103 S.Ct. 1303, 75 L.Ed.2d 206 (1983); Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413, 44 S.Ct. 149, 68 L.Ed. 362 (1923). The federal district court granted Mr. Schneider's motion to dismiss on July 8, 2004. See Aplee. Br. Att. 1, at 1-2.

The parties then prepared for arbitration in Texas. Prior to the arbitration, however, the parties stipulated in writing that they waived their entitlement to written findings of fact and conclusions of law from the panel. Aplt.App. at 188. The Ridge then argued that the proper venue was Utah, but the three-member arbitration panel issued a decision on September 9, 2004, ruling that the arbitration should proceed in Austin, Texas. It explained:

The Arbitration Panel has considered the parties' contentions on venue/locale of the arbitration proceeding and the hearings to be held in connection therewith, including carefully considering The Ridge at Red Hawk's claims that the arbitration should be conducted in Utah, the Commercial Rules of the Association and all factors traditionally considered in connection with venue, and based upon all the facts and circumstances of this case, is of the opinion, and so finds, that venue of this...

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2257 practice notes
  • Estate of Lockett v. Fallin, No. 15-6134
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • November 15, 2016
    ...1291, we affirm.II. Analysis We review de novo a district court's grant of a motion to dismiss. Ridge at Red Hawk, L.L.C. v. Schneider , 493 F.3d 1174, 1177 (10th Cir. 2007). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible ......
  • Vigil v. Doe, No. CIV 19-0164 JB\JFR
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • July 31, 2019
    ...that this plaintiff has a reasonable likelihood of mustering factual support for these claims." Ridge at Red Hawk, L.L.C. v. Schneider, 493 F.3d 1174, 1177 (10th Cir. 2007) (Kelly, J.)(emphasis omitted). The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has stated:"[P]lausibility" in......
  • Jarita Mesa Livestock Grazing Ass'n v. U.S. Forest Serv., No. CIV 12-0069 JB/KBM
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • January 24, 2013
    ...that this plaintiff has a reasonable likelihood of mustering factual support for these claims." Ridge at Red Hawk, LLC v. Schneider, 493 F.3d 1174, 1177 (10th Cir. 2007)(emphasis omitted). The Tenth Circuit stated:"[P]lausibility" in this context must refer to the scope of the allegations i......
  • Glover v. Gartman, No. CIV 11–0752 JB/LAM.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • September 27, 2012
    ...that this plaintiff has a reasonable likelihood of mustering factual support for these claims.” Ridge at Red Hawk, LLC v. Schneider, 493 F.3d 1174, 1177 (10th Cir.2007)(emphasis omitted). The Tenth Circuit stated: “[P]lausibility” in this context must refer to the scope of the allegations i......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2245 cases
  • Estate of Lockett v. Fallin, No. 15-6134
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • November 15, 2016
    ...1291, we affirm.II. Analysis We review de novo a district court's grant of a motion to dismiss. Ridge at Red Hawk, L.L.C. v. Schneider , 493 F.3d 1174, 1177 (10th Cir. 2007). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible ......
  • Vigil v. Doe, No. CIV 19-0164 JB\JFR
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • July 31, 2019
    ...that this plaintiff has a reasonable likelihood of mustering factual support for these claims." Ridge at Red Hawk, L.L.C. v. Schneider, 493 F.3d 1174, 1177 (10th Cir. 2007) (Kelly, J.)(emphasis omitted). The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has stated:"[P]lausibility" in......
  • Jarita Mesa Livestock Grazing Ass'n v. U.S. Forest Serv., No. CIV 12-0069 JB/KBM
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • January 24, 2013
    ...that this plaintiff has a reasonable likelihood of mustering factual support for these claims." Ridge at Red Hawk, LLC v. Schneider, 493 F.3d 1174, 1177 (10th Cir. 2007)(emphasis omitted). The Tenth Circuit stated:"[P]lausibility" in this context must refer to the scope of the allegations i......
  • Glover v. Gartman, No. CIV 11–0752 JB/LAM.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • September 27, 2012
    ...that this plaintiff has a reasonable likelihood of mustering factual support for these claims.” Ridge at Red Hawk, LLC v. Schneider, 493 F.3d 1174, 1177 (10th Cir.2007)(emphasis omitted). The Tenth Circuit stated: “[P]lausibility” in this context must refer to the scope of the allegations i......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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