Argued: September 13, 2017
Melinda J. Caterine, Esq., and David Strock, Esq. (orally),
Littler Mendelson, P.C., Portland, for appellant Cate Street
G. Pitney, Esq. (orally), Drummond Woodsum, Portland, for
appellee Matthew Eastwick
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and
Cate Street Capital, Inc., appeals from a judgment in which
the Superior Court (Cumberland County, Horton, J.)
granted Matthew Eastwick's application to confirm an
arbitration award and denied Cate Street's competing
motion to vacate that award after concluding that the parties
had agreed to arbitrate disputes arising from a settlement
agreement. We affirm the judgment.
The following facts are taken from the trial court's
findings and are supported by substantial evidence in the
record. See Champagne v. Victory Homes, Inc., 2006
ME 58, ¶ 8, 897 A.2d 803.
Eastwick was employed by Cate Street from August 2010 until
February 2016 pursuant to an employment contract. That
contract included a dispute resolution process that required
mediation and, if mediation was unsuccessful, arbitration,
with no opportunity for resolution through a court system.
The dispute resolution clause in the employment contract
In the event any dispute arises between the parties to this
Agreement, the matter shall be submitted promptly to
mediation. In the event that mediation is unsuccessful, the
dispute shall be submitted for arbitration in accordance with
the rule[s] of the American Arbitration Association.
After Eastwick left Cate Street's employ, a dispute arose
under the employment contract. In accordance with the dispute
resolution clause, the parties selected a mediator to address
At a mediation session held on July 27, 2016, the parties
reached a settlement of the dispute. To memorialize the
settlement, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding
(MOU), which provided, in part, for (1) the termination of
the employment contract; (2) an exchange of releases in
"standard terms" covering all claims between the
parties and requiring confidentiality; (3) payment by Cate
Street to Eastwick of $100, 000 within thirty days after the
effective date of the release and $15, 000 per quarter for
ten quarters beginning on January 15, 2017; (4) a provision
authorizing Eastwick-if Cate Street failed to make a timely
quarterly payment and failed to make such payment within
thirty days after demand-to "file a stipulated judgment
for the outstanding amount due to him"; and (5) a
provision in paragraph seven that read: "Any disputes
that may arise during the drafting and execution of the
settlement shall be submitted to [the same individual who
conducted the mediation] for review and resolution."
Drafting the MOU was a collaborative effort by all
participants in the mediation.
After the mediation, and after signing the MOU, the parties
negotiated the terms of the releases and other aspects of the
settlement contemplated in the MOU. Because Eastwick and Cate
Street did not agree on the final terms, the parties agreed
to return to the mediator on October 11, 2016. The day before
the meeting, Eastwick sent "proposed exhibits" and
a "proposed order" to the mediator and to Cate
Street. Eastwick's proposed order contained a provision
stating that it was enforceable as an arbitration award.
At the October 11 meeting, the parties discussed the disputes
that had arisen since the July 27 mediation. Ultimately, the
mediator signed Eastwick's proposed order, which
contained findings of fact and conclusions of law and
required Cate Street to comply with the "Confidential
Settlement Agreement and Mutual Release of Claims, "
which was referred to as the "final agreement."
Cate Street objected to the October 11 meeting "as being
anything other than a further ...