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Turoff v. Itachi Capital, Inc.

2022 COA 147. No. 21CA0825. Colorado Uniform Arbitration Act—Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure—Appellate Jurisdiction.

December 29, 2022

Plaintiff and defendant jointly owned a limited liability company. Defendant sought to enforce the company’s operating agreement by compelling plaintiff to sell her share of the business. Plaintiff refused to sell her interest, and defendant filed an arbitration demand. Plaintiff was initially self-represented but later retained counsel, who requested a postponement to investigate the matter. The arbitrator denied the request, and after arbitration, entered an award for defendant, including attorney fees and costs. Plaintiff moved to vacate the arbitration award. Defendant filed a response opposing the motion that included a request for the district court to confirm the arbitration award. Defendant didn’t identify its response as a cross-motion or file a separate motion requesting confirmation of the award. The district court vacated the award and ordered the parties to resubmit their dispute for a new hearing. The order was silent on defendant’s request to confirm the award embedded within its response.

Defendant filed an interlocutory appeal. A court of appeals motions division ordered the parties to show cause why the appeal should not be dismissed without prejudice for lack of a final, appealable judgment. After the parties responded, the division deferred the jurisdictional issue to the merits division. On appeal, defendant argued that the district court erred by vacating the arbitration award and ordering a new hearing. Defendant maintained that that the order is reviewable under CRS § 13-22-228(1)(c), which allows appellate review of an order denying confirmation of an arbitration award, because by vacating the award and ordering a new hearing, the court effectively denied its request to confirm the award. The Colorado Revised Uniform Arbitration Act (Act) limits appeals from arbitration-related orders to the enumerated circumstances in CRS § 13-22-228(1). Here, defendant never filed a motion to confirm its arbitration award as required by CRCP 7(b)(1); its embedded request for confirmation of the award in its responsive pleading was not procedurally proper. Further, the district court’s order didn’t end the proceedings, so it isn’t a final, appealable judgment. In addition, the legislature made only those orders vacating an arbitration award without directing a rehearing appealable. Accordingly, the court lacks jurisdiction to review the district court’s order.

The appeal was dismissed.

Official Colorado Court of Appeals proceedings can be found at the Colorado Court of Appeals website.

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