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BriovaRX, LLC v. Transcript Pharmacy, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

May 5, 2015

BRIOVARX, LLC, IMPROPERLY NAMED AS MEDFUSION RX ASCEND PHARMACY, AND CATAMARAN CORPORATION F/K/A CATALYST RX, APPELLANTS
v.
TRANSCRIPT PHARMACY, INC., APPELLEE

Page 312

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 07/08/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. WINSTON L. KIDD. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION DENIED.

FOR APPELLANTS: ALAN M. PURDIE, DION JEFFERY SHANLEY, ROBERT RICHARDSON BAUGH, MICHAEL W. ULMER, HUGH RUSTON COMLEY, JAIME C. ERDBERG.

FOR APPELLEE: CECIL MAISON HEIDELBERG, CHARLES STEPHEN STACK JR.

BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES AND MAXWELL, JJ. LEE, C.J., GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR. IRVING, P.J., DISSENTS WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.

OPINION

Page 313

MAXWELL, J.

¶1. The circuit court denied BriovaRX's motion to compel arbitration because BriovaRX was not a party to the arbitration agreement it sought to enforce. But in Mississippi, a non-signatory can enforce an arbitration agreement when the non-signatory maintained a close legal relationship with the signatory to the agreement and the plaintiff has alleged " substantially interdependent and concerted misconduct" between the non-signatory and signatory.[1] Here, both conditions were met. BriovaRX is a subsidiary of Catamaran Corporation, which had entered into an agreement with Transcript Pharmacy, Inc. This agreement included a broad arbitration clause. When you couple this with the fact Transcript had alleged BriovaRX's " joint conduct" with Catamaran was the source of its injury, the exception allowing non-signatories to compel arbitration applied.

¶2. Because we find BriovaRX, though a non-signatory, had a right under these circumstances to enforce the arbitration agreement between Transcript and Catamaran, and because we also find neither BriovaRX nor Catamaran waived the right to arbitrate the new claims raised in Transcript's 2012 amended complaint, it was error for the circuit court to deny BriovaRX's and Catamaran's motions to compel arbitration. We reverse and remand for the circuit court to grant the motions to compel arbitration.

Background Facts and Procedural History

I. Initial Lawsuit

¶3. Interestingly, BriovaRX and Transcript started off on the same side. In 2009, Transcript sued Catalyst RX, the pharmacy-benefits manager for the Mississippi State and School Employees' Life and Health Plan (State Plan), for dropping Transcript from the State Plan.[2] Transcript claimed tat Mississippi's " any willing provider" statute for pharmacies, Mississippi Code Annotated section 83-9-6 (Rev. 2011), entitled it to participate in the State Plan. Transcript prayed for emergency and permanent injunctive relief. See Miss. Code Ann. § 83-9-6(6) (creating a civil action for injunctive relief for violation of this section). It also sought a declaratory judgment that section 83-9-6 applied to the State Plan. Additionally, it requested money damages under several tort theories.

¶4. BriovaRX--a specialty pharmacy then named Medfusion RX--intervened as a similarly situated plaintiff.

¶5. Medfusion RX had entered a similar agreement with Catalyst RX as Transcript had. Both of these agreements contained broad arbitration clauses. Relying on these clauses, Catalyst RX moved to compel arbitration. But later Catalyst RX agreed that the declaratory action--which sought to resolve the legal question whether section 83-9-6 applied to the State Plan--should be decided by the circuit court. So Catalyst RX agreed to withdraw its motion to compel arbitration. In exchange, Transcript and Medfusion RX agreed to dismiss their claims for money damages. The dismissal of these claims was without ...


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