Second District Reversed Order Denying Motion to Compel Arbitration

Pulte Home Corp. v. Bay at Cypress Creek Homeowners’ Assoc. Inc., 2D13-316 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013):

Pulte Home Corp. sought review of an order denying its renewed motion to compel arbitration of an action brought by Bay at Cypress Creek Homeowners’ Association (“HOA”) for alleged building code violations under Florida Statute §553.84. The Second District reversed the order under review on the authority of Pulte Home Corp. v. Vermillion Homeowners Ass’n, 109 So. 3d 233 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013).

The HOA made a tactical decision to plead its amended complaint as an action based on a statutory violation instead of as an action for breach of warranty. The HOA argued that it could not be compelled to arbitrate its statutory claim. The Second District had previously ruled that an agreement to arbitrate applies to statutory claims as well as to claims for breach of warranty. See Reeves v. Ace Cash Express, Inc., 937 So. 2d 1136, 1137 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006); Orkin Exterminating Co. v. Petsch, 872 So. 2d 259, 261-62 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004).

Additionally, the HOA’s argument that subsequent purchasers of the units at the development were not bound by the arbitration agreement was rejected. Because the subsequent purchasers were permitted to assume Pulte’s Limited Warranty in favor of the initial purchasers, the subsequent purchasers were third party beneficiaries to the Limited Warranty and can be compelled to arbitrate.