California Court Affirms Sanctions For SF Firm in Arbitration Row
Law360, New York (by Kali Hays) — A California appeals court on Monday handed a victory to a property owner being sued by a partner in a Fresno mall over clean-up costs, after agreeing with a trial court that arbitrating a discovery dispute was not necessary and sanctions against San Francisco’s Dimitriou & Associates PC were deserved.
California’s Court of Appeal for the Fifth Appellate District affirmed a Fresno court’s June 2014 finding that about $6,500 in sanctions against Bob Vlahopouliotis and his attorney Andrew Dimitriou, then of Dimitriou & Associates, were appropriate considering their contested actions during discovery of issues related to Vlahopouliotis’ suit against Vallarta Properties LLC over maintenance costs for common areas of a jointly owned shopping center.
The court went on to agree that Vallarta was not required to arbitrate any of its discovery-related complaints as Vlahopouliotis had argued, because although a settlement of the central claims in the maintenance dispute already was being arbitrated by joint agreement, the discovery issues were not a direct result of that arbitration.
“The parties specifically agreed to refer to arbitration only the claims set forth in the current pleadings in this action,” the appellate court said in a Monday opinion. “The discovery disputes in this case did not arise out of the arbitration. Thus, they were not required to be adjudicated in that forum.”
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