The Appellate Group

Ahhmigo v. Synergy

Ahhmigo v. Synergy, 2022 UT 4 (Pearce, J.)

Preservation; Arbitration

Plaintiff contracted with Defendant to purchase ingredients it planned to use to craft an energy drink. Plaintiff eventually repudiated the contract and sought a refund of payments it had made to Defendant for products it never received. The parties arbitrated the claims and the arbitrator ruled in favor of Defendant. Plaintiff moved the district court to vacate Arbitrator’s ruling, but the district court denied the motion. On appeal, the Utah Supreme Court affirmed the district court, holding:

  • Appellate courts “view issues narrowly” for purposes of preservation, and “[a] party may not preserve an issue by ‘merely mentioning’ it.” In this case, Plaintiff’s legal theory in district court focused on whether the arbitrator manifestly disregarded the law by not applying controlling case law. But on appeal, Plaintiff argued that the arbitrator manifestly disregarded the law when he failed to credit a stipulation between the parties. Plaintiff’s “two incidental references to an alleged agreement between the parties” before the district court were not enough to preserve the issue for appeal.
  • NOTE: The court of appeals did not reach the merits of Plaintiff’s argument that the arbitrator had manifestly disregarded the law, but the opinion noted that there are “ambiguities in [the] case law” that need to be addressed and invited “further discussion about the manifest disregard standard in a case where the issue has been properly preserved.”

Read the full court opinion