The Eighth Circuit affirmed a district court’s finding that LoRoad, LLC (“LoRoad”) failed to accept an agreement with Global Expedition Vehicles, L.L.C. (“Global”) that would allow LoRoad to enforce the arbitration contained within.
LoRoad negotiated with Global to build a custom expedition vehicle. The terms of the “Assembly Agreement” called for a nonrefundable $120,000 deposit. During the exchange of agreement drafts, LoRoad sent Global $120,000 along with a modified—allegedly signed—agreement shortly thereafter. As the relationship soured, Global stopped work on the expedition vehicle. LoRoad alleged that it did not have a final set of documents, as prior draft exchanges were simply contract negotiations. LoRoad sought to compel arbitration to handle the dispute per the agreement, asserting that the arbitration provision was enforceable because the parties exhibited the requisite intent to form a binding contract. In addition, LoRoad alleged that the arbitration provision was enforceable because that particular provision remained the same throughout multiple agreement draft iterations. The court focused on LoRoad’s intent. LoRoad’s only conduct to indicate an agreement was its payment of $120,000. However, it also argued that this sum was only a “good faith deposit” and not a payment per the agreement. Further, LoRoad sent emails to Global indicating that the agreement was “not yet executed.” Without an executed agreement or a free-standing agreement to arbitrate, arbitration could not be compelled. LoRoad, LLC v. Expedition Vehicles, LLC, Case No. 14-2636 (8th Cir. June 1, 2015)