By Tim Gordon
Lane v. Urgitus (Colo. 2006)
The Colorado Supreme Court held that an agreement to arbitrate can be implied. The dispute concerned who, among various brokers, was entitled to referral fees. The brokers were all members of a trade association, a condition of which was that the members agree to arbitrate disputes with other members. The brokers later entered into an agreement among themselves concerning referral fees. This later agreement did not contain an arbitration provision. A dispute arose concerning referral fees. The Court held that the duty to arbitrate disputes in the trade association membership agreement was an implied duty in the brokers’ agreement amongst themselves.
Also, under Colorado’s version of the Uniform Arbitration Act, when compelling arbitration, the trial court should stay the lawsuit instead of dismissing it. The likely reason, aside from the statutory language, is that dismissing the lawsuit to compel arbitration would render the order final and appealable. The intent of the statute, however, is that an order compelling arbitration be interlocutory.