Arbitration. Hart Superior Court. Before Judge Malcom.
DBGS, LLC, pro se.
John Terry Brown, Dylan E. Wilbanks, for appellees.
MILLER, Judge. Andrews, P. J., concurs. Branch, J., concurs in judgment only.
Chris and Mary Kormanik sued DBGS, LLC d/b/a DirectBuy of Greenville (" DirectBuy" ) for negligent misrepresentation because they were unhappy with the work performed by a contractor recommended to them by DirectBuy. DirectBuy filed a motion to compel arbitration, which the trial court denied on the ground that the Kormaniks' claim did not fall within the scope of the arbitration clause in their membership agreement with DirectBuy. DirectBuy appeals, contending that the trial court erred in denying its motion to compel arbitration. For the reasons that follow, we reverse.
" The question of arbitrability, i.e., whether an agreement creates a duty for the parties to arbitrate the particular grievance, is undeniably an issue for judicial determination." (Footnote omitted.) Order Homes, LLC v. Iverson, 300 Ga.App. 332, 332-333 (685 S.E.2d 304) [333 Ga.App. 34] (2009). In reviewing the denial of a motion to compel arbitration, we determine whether the trial court was correct as a matter of law. See id.
The undisputed facts show that DirectBuy is a South Carolina company that sells home furnishings and fixtures to its members. The Kormaniks are Georgia residents. On March 17, 2012, the Kormaniks entered into a membership agreement or contract with DirectBuy. The membership agreement provided:
Our Club staff and our Club Owners stand ready to help you resolve any problem you
may encounter with your Membership or with any order you place through DirectBuy, but if we are not able to achieve a satisfactory resolution for you, you and we agree to avoid the needless delays, expenses, and uncertainties of court proceedings by submitting all such unresolved disputes exclusively to private, expedited, and confidential arbitration[.]
The Kormaniks purchased products and materials for their home renovation from DirectBuy. DirectBuy also provided the Kormaniks with a list of contractors that offered discounts to DirectBuy members. From this list, the Kormaniks selected a contractor for their home renovation. Dissatisfied with ...