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Bi-State Insulation, Inc. v. Geiler CO., Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division

June 17, 2019

BI-STATE INSULATION, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
GEILER CO., Inc., et al., Defendants.

          Dlott, J.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Karen L. Litkovitz, United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff Bi-State Insulation, Inc. ("Bi-State") brings this action alleging claims of breach of contract and account against defendant Geiler Company, Inc. ("Geiler") in relation to its performance of three subcontracting jobs at the Veteran's Administration Medical Center ("VA") in Cincinnati, Ohio.[1] This matter is before the Court on defendant's motion to stay litigation and to compel arbitration (Doc. 12), plaintiffs response in opposition (Doc. 13), and defendant's reply memorandum (Doc. 14).

         I. Factual Background

         Bi-State executed three subcontract agreements with Geiler to perform three separate projects at the Cincinnati VA: the Steam Heat project, the Inpatient Bed Tower project, and the Animal Research Facility project. (Complaint, Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 8, 11, 21, 29). Plaintiff attaches these three subcontracts to the complaint. (Doc. 1-3 ("Steam Heat project"); Doc. 1-9 ("Inpatient Bed Tower project"); Doc. 1-11 ("Animal Research project")). The Steam Heat project was awarded to Geiler on May 7, 2014, and Geiler subcontracted with Bi-State to provide HVAC insulation on August 5, 2014. (Complaint, Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 11-12; Doc. 1-3). The Inpatient Bed Tower project was awarded to Geiler on July 17, 2014, and Geiler subcontracted with Bi-State to provide HVAC insulation on November 23, 2015. (Complaint, Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 21-23; Doc. 1-9). The Animal Research Facility project was awarded to Geiler in October 2012, and Geiler subcontracted with Bi-State to provide insulation for "Domestic Cold, Hot and Hot Water return and Horizontal Roof drains" on September 22, 2015.[2] (Complaint, Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 29-30; Doc. 1-11).

         The parties' relationship was governed by the terms of a standard form of agreement between contractor and subcontractor ("the master agreement"). (Complaint, Doc. 1 at ¶ 9; Doc. 1-1). The Animal Research project subcontract, signed by a manager on behalf of Bi-State, provides that "[f]he terms and conditions of this Project Subcontract Agreement shall include all terms established in the Master Agreement. ..." (Doc. 1-11). The Steam Heat project and Inpatient Bed Tower project subcontracts, also signed by a manager on behalf of Bi-State, provide that "[t]he terms and conditions of this Project Subcontract Agreement shall include all terms established in the Master Standard Form of Agreement.. .." (Doc. 1-3; Doc. 1-9). The master agreement, attached as exhibit A to plaintiffs complaint, provides, in relevant part:

ARTICLE 6 MEDIATION AND ARBITRATION
6.1 MEDIATION
6.1.1 Any claim arising out of or related to this Subcontract, except claims as otherwise provided in Subparagraph 4.1.5 and except those waived in this subcontract, shall be subject to mediation as a condition precedent to arbitration or the institution of legal or equitable proceedings by either party.
6.2 ARBITRATION
6.2.1 Any claim arising out of or related to this Subcontract, except claims as otherwise provided in Subparagraph 4.1.5 and except those waived in this Subcontract, shall be subject to arbitration. The parties shall endeavor to resolve disputes by mediation in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph 6.1.

(Doc. 1-1 at 9-10).

         Plaintiff alleges that it has performed all of its obligations under its subcontracts with Geiler and that Geiler breached these agreements by failing to pay plaintiff in full for the work it performed under the agreements. (Complaint, Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 37-38). Plaintiff initially filed suit in state court on two of the subcontracts. (Doc. 13 at 2). That case was subsequently dismissed, and this federal court action was filed.

         II. The ...


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