Woman wants $13K arbitration award against Davidson Design affirmed

By Carrie Salls | Jun 5, 2018

PITTSBURGH — A client of Davison Design & Development Inc. is asking the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to uphold an arbitration award in her favor, according to a motion filed on April 27. 

The motion comes after Davison Design & Development filed a complaint asking the court to vacate the arbitration award based on allegations that the court did not legally grant the award and that the amount awarded was too high.

“The arbitration award should be vacated because the arbitrator acted in manifest disregard of established law and exceeded the scope of his powers by ignoring the contracts governing the relationship between the parties and finding Davison Design liable for representations it had expressly and repeatedly disclaimed in those contracts,” Davison Design & Development said in its complaint.

In addition, Davison Design & Development alleges that arbitrator Kenneth A. Eisner awarded the client, Betty Frison, double the amount of damages that she should have received “despite finding [that] Davison Design had not committed any intentional misrepresentation, the only basis upon which actual damages could be enhanced.”

Davison Design & Development filed its complaint against Frison on Jan. 19, 2017. The company said in its complaint that Frison had hired Davison to help her with an invention.

According to Davison Design & Development’s complaint, Frison used an online form to provide the details of her invention to the company on March 24, 2014. The online form allegedly included an agreement that Frison would comply with Davison Design & Development’s standard disclosures, including a disclosure stating that there was no guarantee that her invention would result in financial gain, as well as a disclosure of services and fees provided by the company.

After the initial online process, Davison Design & Development claims that it and Frison had entered into a “confidentiality agreement,” a “pre-development and representation agreement” and an “integrated product rendering presentation agreement.”

Under these agreement, Davison said it agreed to “design and develop a rendering of a product and package design based on Ms. Frison’s product idea and present the rendering to potential licensees.”

“In exchange for the services outlined in those agreements, Ms. Frison paid Davison Design a total of $6,645 and granted the company a 10 percent royalty on any future sales of Ms. Frison’s product idea,” the complaint said.

However, Frison argued that the online form and subsequent contracts that she allegedly entered into with Davison led her to believe that there was a “reasonably good chance of realizing financial gain” from her invention.

The arbitrator awarded Frison $13,290 “for Davison’s deceptive actions” and $10,000 in attorney’s fees, the complaint said.

In her motion for summary judgment, Frison argues that “there was no error in calculation” by the arbitrator, and that “the role of the court in a judicial review of an arbitration award is very narrow.”

“It is not this court’s role to sit as the arbitrator,” Frison’s motion said.


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