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Pinnacle Condominiums Unit Owners' Association v. 701 Lakeside

October 27, 2011

PINNACLE CONDOMINIUMS UNIT OWNERS' ASSOCIATION PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT
v.
701 LAKESIDE, LLC, ET AL. DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CV-703063

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kathleen Ann Keough, J.:

Cite as Pinnacle Condominiums Unit Owners' Assn. v. 701 Lakeside, L.L.C.,

JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

JUDGMENT:

AFFIRMED

BEFORE: Keough, J., S. Gallagher, P.J., and E. Gallagher, J.

{¶1} Plaintiff-appellant, Pinnacle Condominiums Unit Owners' Association ("the Association"), appeals the trial court's judgment staying proceedings and compelling arbitration. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

I

{¶2} The Association is a nonprofit corporation organized to provide a corporate entity for the owners of 80 condominium units located in a building known as the Pinnacle Property at 701 Lakeside Avenue in Cleveland. Pinnacle 701, LLC (the "Developer"), owned the real property upon which the condominiums were built and was the developer for the project. 701 Lakeside, LLC (the "Garage Owner"), owns and operates two levels of a parking garage located directly beneath the condominiums.

{¶3} The Developer built the Pinnacle Property on top of an existing parking garage and added three additional levels to the parking garage to provide parking for Pinnacle Property condominium owners. The condominium owners enter the parking garage through an automated gate and travel up the lower two levels of the parking garage to reach their parking spaces, which are located on the third, fourth, and fifth levels of the parking garage. Residents of the Cloak Factory Condominium, located at 635 Lakeside Avenue, use the second level of the parking garage for their parking spaces.

{¶4} In 2004, the Garage Owner and the Developer executed a reciprocal easement and operating agreement ("REA") that granted various easements to the Garage Owner and future Pinnacle Property owners to use the gates, ramps, stairwells, elevators, and other components of the Pinnacle Property, and defined the corresponding obligations to contribute to certain expenses associated with the easements.

{¶5} It was unclear under the REA whether arbitration to resolve disputes related to the REA was dependent upon the agreement of the parties or mandatory. Section 13.1 of the REA provided that "[w]henever a dispute shall arise among the Owners of the Parcels in connection with the terms, covenants, rights, obligations, easements and/or agreements contained in this REA * * * the matters in dispute may be arbitrated, upon the agreement of all parties involved, in accordance with the procedures set forth in Article 14 hereof. Where required in a specific section of this REA, however, arbitration shall be mandatory." (Emphasis added.)

{¶6} Section 14.1 of the REA stated that "[a]ll disputes arising out of or in any way connected with this REA shall be subject to binding arbitration. The Owner (or any other person or entity entitled to do so) demanding arbitration shall specify in writing the reason for the arbitration, stating with specificity the section of this REA under which arbitration is demanded and the dispute between the Owners, and forward such demand to the Owner against whom arbitration is sought. Upon receipt of the demand for arbitration, the dispute shall be at issue, provided a copy of such demand shall have been filed with the American Arbitration Association." (Emphasis added.)

{ΒΆ7} In 2005, the Garage Owner and Developer executed an agreement that amended various sections of the REA ("Amended REA"). As pertinent to this case, the Amended REA replaced Section 13.1 of the REA in its entirety with the following language to make clear that binding arbitration of disputes was mandatory: "Whenever a dispute shall arise among the Owners of the Parcels in connection with the terms, covenants, rights, obligations, easements, and/or agreements contained in this REA, * * * the matters in dispute shall be arbitrated in ...


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