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Wilczewski v. Charter West National Bank

Supreme Court of Nebraska

April 17, 2015

MICHAEL J. WILCZEWSKI AND MICHELLE A. WILCZEWSKI, APPELLEES,
v.
CHARTER WEST NATIONAL BANK, A NATIONAL BANKING ASSOCIATION, APPELLANT

Page 701

Appeal from the District Court for Douglas County: W. RUSSELL BOWIE III, Judge.

Jeffrey A. Silver for appellant.

John D. Stalnaker, Robert J. Becker, and Ashley A. Dreyer, of Stalnaker, Becker & Buresh, P.C., for appellees.

HEAVICAN, C.J., WRIGHT, CONNOLLY, STEPHAN, McCORMACK, MILLER-LERMAN, AND CASSEL, JJ.

OPINION

Page 702

Stephan, J.

Michael J. Wilczewski and Michelle A. Wilczewski filed a civil action for damages in the district court for Douglas County, alleging that Charter West National Bank (Charter West) misrepresented certain facts pertaining to a real estate transaction. Charter West filed a motion to compel arbitration, which the district court denied without prejudice. Charter West appeals from that order. Because we conclude that no final, appealable order has been entered by the district court, we dismiss the appeal.

BACKGROUND

In their complaint, the Wilczewskis allege that they are residents of Douglas County, Nebraska, and that Charter West is a national banking association doing business in Douglas County. The parties' dispute involves real property, located [290 Neb. 722] in Douglas County, which the Wilczewskis purchased from Charter West in 2010. The Wilczewskis allege that Charter West represented that the property would be conveyed free and clear of all liens, but knew that another financial institution had a lien on the property. The Wilczewskis allege Charter West then " manipulated" the language of the deed to reflect that the conveyance was subject to liens of record. They sought damages based upon alternative theories of fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, common-law fraud, and quantum meruit or unjust enrichment.

Charter West filed a motion to compel arbitration pursuant to the real estate purchase agreement, which provided: " Any controversy or claim between the parties to this Nebraska Purchase Agreement, its interpretation, enforcement or breach, including but not limited to claims arising from tort, shall be settled by binding arbitration . . . ." The Wilczewskis filed an objection asserting that the arbitration clause was void because (1) it failed to comply with Nebraska's enactment of the Uniform Arbitration Act (UAA)[1] and (2) the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA)[2] was inapplicable because the transaction in question did not involve interstate commerce.

The district court denied the motion to compel arbitration without prejudice. The court noted that Charter West contended the dispute was arbitrable under the FAA, which pre empted the UAA. Apparently, from the face of the complaint, it further noted that Charter West was a national banking association doing business in Nebraska and that the transaction in question occurred in Nebraska. On the issue of whether the transaction affected interstate commerce so as to trigger the provisions of the FAA, the district court recognized precedent from this and other courts holding

Page 703

that a broad range of commercial transactions fall within the scope of the FAA. ...


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