United States District Court, D. Maryland
COAST MACHINERY MOVERS
GKD-USA, Inc., Plaintiff: William Wallace McAllister, Jr,
LEAD ATTORNEY, Miles and Stockbridge PC, Cambridge, MD;
Jessica A duHoffmann, Miles and Stockbridge PC, Baltimore,
Coast Machinery Movers, Defendant: Marisa Anne Trasatti, LEAD
ATTORNEY, Semmes Bowen and Semmes PC, Baltimore, MD.
M. Nickerson, Senior United States District Judge.
the Court is Defendant Coast Machinery Movers' "
Motion to Dismiss in Favor of Arbitration, or in the
Alternative to Dismiss for Improper Venue, for Lack of
Personal Jurisdiction, or to Transfer Based on Forum Non
Conveniens." ECF No. 13. Also pending is a Motion to
Remand filed by Plaintiff GKD-USA, Inc. ECF No. 16. Upon a
review of the papers filed and the relevant case law, the
Court determines that no hearing is necessary, Local Rule
105.6, and that Defendant's motion should be denied,
Plaintiff's motion should be granted, and that this case
will be remanded to the Circuit Court for Dorchester County,
relationship between Plaintiff and Defendant is potentially
governed by three different agreements and each of those
agreements contains a provision that differs as to the forum
in which disputes between the parties should be resolved. At
issue in the pending motions is which of
those provisions govern the instant dispute. The relevant
factual background follows.
dispute arises out of a construction project on a large wind
tunnel located in Hawthorne, California (the Project). The
tunnel is owned by Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation
(Northrop) and is equipped with 7 flow conditioning screens
which are approximately 37-feet in diameter and help to
reduce wind turbulence during the testing of aircraft. The
object of the Project was to remove and replace those
screens. Defendant is the California based company hired by
Northrop to lift, disassemble, and reassemble the tunnel. The
24-page Prime Contract between Northrop and Defendant dated
April 23, 2014, provides that: " Either party may
litigate any dispute arising under or relating to this order.
Such litigation shall be brought and jurisdiction and venue
shall be proper only in a state or federal district court in
Los Angeles County." ECF No. 13-5 ¶ 13. The Prime
Contract also provides that " [t]his Order and any
dispute arising hereunder shall be governed by the
substantive and procedural laws of the State of California,
except, however, that California's Choice of Law
provisions shall not apply." Id. ¶ 29.
in turn, hired Plaintiff, a Maryland based company, to
manufacture and install the flow conditioning screens. The
screens were actually manufactured in Germany by one of
Plaintiff's affiliates and shipped directly to California
but Plaintiff's personnel were in California for about
three weeks to install the screens. The specifications for
the screens and the scope of Plaintiff's installation
duties are set out in a 29-page Subcontract Agreement,
Subcontract No. 14-17240-050501-1, which is dated April 29,
2014. That Subcontract Agreement provides that:
If, at any time any controversy shall arise between
CONTRACTOR and SUBCONTRACTOR regarding anything pertaining to
this Agreement and which the parties hereto do not promptly
adjust and determine . . . then . . . [t]he controversy shall
be submitted to and determined by arbitration in the City
first above named under the Construction Industry Arbitration
Rules of the American Arbitration Association, then obtaining
an AWARD, the parties hereto agree to be bound by the Award
in such Arbitration.
In addition, SUBCONTRACTOR shall be bound to CONTRACTOR to
the same extent CONTRACTOR is bound to OWNER, by all terms
and provisions of the Prime Contract and be expressly bound
by any provision thereunder to arbitrate.
ECF No. 13-6, Art. 27. The " city first named
above" is South El Monte, California, which is where
Defendant's administrative offices are located.
to Plaintiff, notwithstanding its proper installation of the
screens, Defendant has refused to pay Plaintiff an
outstanding balance of $155,904.09. To recover that
outstanding balance, Plaintiff filed this suit in the Circuit
Court for Dorchester County, Maryland. Defendant timely
removed the action to this Court asserting this Court's
diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Defendant
then filed the instant motion to dismiss arguing that the
dispute must be submitted to arbitration under the
arbitration provision in the Subcontract. In the alternative,
Defendant argues that this action must be ...