IntroductionAllied Professionals Insurance Co., A Risk Retention Group, Inc. (Appellant) appeals from the trial court’s judgment denying its motion to compel arbitration. We affirm.
Factual and Procedural BackgroundOn May 21, 2007, Mary Sturgeon (Respondent), a resident of Missouri and a licensed massage therapist, was covered by a professional liability insurance policy issued to her by Appellant when the massage table on which she was massaging a client in her Missouri employer’s business collapsed, causing the client to fall and incur injuries. The client sued Respondent for her personal injuries. Respondent contacted Appellant and asked Appellant to provide her with a legal defense pursuant to her insurance policy. Appellant denied coverage and refused to defend Respondent in the personal injury suit, so Respondent hired her own legal counsel. The lawsuit against Respondent was ultimately dismissed.
On December 21, 2009, in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, Respondent filed a breach of contract action against Appellant, alleging that Appellant’s failure to defend her constituted a breach of the insurance contract, and seeking damages in the amount of the attorney’s fees she incurred as a result of Appellant’s failure to defend her.
On March 3, 2010, Appellant filed a motion to compel arbitration, pursuant to the mandatory arbitration clause in the insurance contract, to-wit:
V. GENERAL CONDITIONS
C. Arbitration. If a dispute or claim shall arise with respect to any of the terms or provisions of this Policy, or with respect to the performance by any of the parties to the Policy, then any party or that party’s authorized representative may, by notice as herein provided, require that the dispute be submitted within fifteen (15) days to an arbitrator in good standing with the American Arbitration Association under the Commercial Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association then in effect. Any arbitration undertaken pursuant to the terms of this section shall be governed by the Federal Arbitration Act and shall occur in Orange County, California.
Judge(s): Sherri B. Sullivan
Jurisdiction: Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District
Related Categories: Contracts
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