Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State ex rel. Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority v. Burton

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Writ Sixth Division

December 20, 2016

STATE OF MISSOURI, ex rel., THE REGIONAL CONVENTION AND SPORTS COMPLEX AUTHORITY, Relator,
v.
THE HONORABLE MICHAEL D. BURTON, Respondent.

         Writ of Mandamus Circuit Court of St. Louis County Cause No. 16SL-CC01099

          ROBERT M. CLAYTON III, PRESIDING JUDGE

         The Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority ("Relator") filed a petition for writ of mandamus seeking to compel the Honorable Michael D. Burton ("Respondent") to stay arbitration of the claims in Relator's petition for declaratory judgment and to reinstate the cause on the circuit court's docket. This Court issued a preliminary order in mandamus and ordered briefing. Our preliminary order in mandamus is made permanent.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. The Underlying Action

         In the underlying action, Relator filed a three-count petition for declaratory judgment against The St. Louis Rams, LLC ("Defendant") in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County on March 24, 2016. The action pertains to a section of a Training Facility Lease ("the Lease") entered into between the parties on May 1, 1996. Under the terms of the Lease, Relator agreed to lease real property located in Earth City, St. Louis County, Missouri, including all improvements thereon or to be constructed thereon, for use by the Defendant as a football training facility ("the training facility property"), in exchange for Defendant's payment of rent. The claims in Relator's petition for declaratory judgment seek a declaration of rights under the Lease; specifically, the claims seek a declaration that language contained in Paragraph 38 of the Lease which purportedly grants Defendant an option to purchase the training facility property for the sum of $1.00 is void and of no force and effect because the Lease expired or, alternatively, because it violates Missouri law.

         B. The Parties' Filings and Arguments Relating to Whether the Underlying Action is Subject to Arbitration, Relevant Terms of the Parties' Lease, and Respondent's Order and Judgment

         Defendant filed a motion to compel arbitration of the underlying action and a memorandum in support, alleging the claims in Relator's petition for declaratory judgment fall within the scope of arbitration provisions found in Paragraph 45 and Schedule I of the Lease. Paragraph 45 of the Lease, titled "Arbitration, " provides in relevant part: "All disputes between the [p]arties hereto arising out of th[e] Lease shall be subject to the provisions of, and adjudicated in accordance with, the Arbitration Agreement attached hereto as Schedule I, the terms and provisions of which are incorporated herein . . .." (emphasis omitted). Schedule I of the Lease provides in relevant part: "Any controversy, dispute or claim between the [p]arties hereto including, without limitation, any claim arising out of, in connection with, or in relation to the interpretation, performance or breach of th[e] Lease shall be settled by arbitration . . . Such arbitration shall be the exclusive dispute resolution mechanism . . .."

         Subsequently, Relator filed a memorandum in opposition to Defendant's motion to compel arbitration and a motion to stay arbitration. Relator argued the arbitration provisions found in Paragraph 45 and Schedule I of the Lease are invalid and unenforceable under Missouri law because they are unconscionable, lack mutuality, and are not supported by adequate consideration. In the alternative, Relator argued the Lease does not require every dispute to be arbitrated and specifically does not require actions for declaratory judgment to be arbitrated. In support of the preceding argument, Relator relied on language contained in Paragraphs 30, 41, 26, and 28 of the Lease, which respectively refers to and contemplates, (1) a party seeking relief in a "proceeding to . . . declare rights" under the Lease and subsequently obtaining a "judgment"; (2) the right of a party "to institute suit"; (3) the right of a party to obtain "cumulative . . . remedies at law or in equity"; and (4) "litigation between the [p]arties [ ] concerning th[e] Lease." The context of this language contained in Paragraphs 30, 41, 26, and 28 of the Lease is as follows.

         Paragraph 30 of the Lease, titled "Attorneys' Fees, " provides in relevant part:

In any proceeding to enforce the terms hereof or declare rights hereunder, the Prevailing Party (as hereafter defined) in such proceeding shall be entitled to reasonable attorneys' fees and costs. The term 'Prevailing Party' shall include, without limitation, a Party who substantially obtains or defeats the relief sought, as the case may be, whether by compromise, settlement, judgment, or the abandonment by the other Party of its claim or defense . . ..

(emphasis added and omitted). Paragraph 41 of the Lease, titled "Performance Under Protest, " provides in relevant part:

If at any time a dispute shall arise as to any amount or sum of money to be paid by one Party to the other under the provisions hereof, the Party against whom the obligations to pay the money is asserted shall have the right to make payment 'under protest' and such payment shall not be regarded as a voluntary payment and there shall survive the right on the part of said Party to institute suit for recovery of such sum . . ..

(emphasis added). Paragraph 26 of the Lease, titled "Cumulative Remedies, " provides: "Subject to the arbitration provisions set forth in Paragraph 45 hereof, no remedy or election hereunder shall be deemed exclusive but shall, wherever possible, be cumulative with all other remedies at law or in equity." (emphasis added). And finally, Paragraph 28 of the Lease, titled "Binding Effect; Choice of Law, " provides in relevant part: ". . . Any litigation between the Parties hereto concerning th[e] Lease shall be initiated in the City or County of St. Louis." (emphasis added).

         After Relator filed its memorandum in opposition to Defendant's motion to compel arbitration and its motion to stay arbitration, both parties filed reply memorandums and Respondent held a hearing on the parties' motions. Respondent then entered an order and judgment granting Defendant's motion to compel arbitration, denying Relator's motion to stay arbitration, and dismissing the underlying action.[1]

         C. The Instant Writ Proceeding

         Relator subsequently filed the instant petition for writ of mandamus seeking to compel Respondent to stay arbitration of the claims in Relator's petition for declaratory judgment and to reinstate the cause on the circuit court's docket. Relator's petition did not challenge the validity or enforceability of the parties' alleged agreement to arbitrate as it did in the proceeding before Respondent. Instead, Relator alleged Respondent erred in granting Defendant's motion to compel arbitration because the Lease does not require every dispute to be arbitrated and specifically does not require actions for declaratory judgment to be arbitrated, as evidenced by, inter alia, the language contained in Paragraphs 30, 41, 26, and 28 of the Lease which is set out above. Relator's ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.