MMAWC, LLC. D/B/A WORLD SERIES j OF FIGHTING, A NEVADA LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY; BRUCE DEIFIK, AN INDIVIDUAL; AND NANCY AND BRUCE DEIFIK FAMILY PARTNERSHIP, LLLP, A COLORADO LIMITED LIABILITY PARTNERSHIP, Appellants,
ZION WOOD OBI WAN TRUST; SHAWN WRIGHT, AS TRUSTEE OF ZION WOOD OBI WAN TRUST; AND WSOF GLOBAL, LLC, A WYOMING LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, Respondents.
from a district court order denying a motion to dismiss and
to compel arbitration. Eighth Judicial District Court, Clark
County; Nancy L. Allf, Judge.
Kennedy & Couvillier, PLLC, and Maximiliano D. Couvillier
III, Las Vegas, for Appellants.
Offices of Byron Thomas and Byron E. Thomas, Las Vegas, for
HARDESTY, STIGLICH and SILVER, JJ.
Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) protects arbitration agreements
and preempts state laws that single out arid disfavor
arbitration. In this appeal, we determine whether the FAA
preempts NRS 597.995, which requires agreements that include
an arbitration provision to also include a specific
authorization for the arbitration provision showing that the
parties affirmatively agreed to that provision.
parties to this appeal entered into a settlement agreement.
That settlement agreement referenced a licensing agreement
that included an arbitration provision. After the plaintiffs
below sued to enforce the settlement agreement, the
defendants moved to compel arbitration and dismiss the
complaint on the basis that the settlement agreement
incorporated the licensing agreement's arbitration
clause. The district court denied the motion, concluding the
arbitration provision was unenforceable because it did not
include the specific authorization required by NRS 597.995.
that the FAA preempts NRS 597.995, and accordingly, we
conclude that statute does not void the arbitration clause at
issue here. We further conclude that the claims in the
underlying complaint are subject to arbitration, and
therefore the complaint must be dismissed.
is a Nevada corporation that, at the time relevant here, was
doing business as World Series of Fighting. In 2012, MMAWC
and Vincent Hesser entered into a licensing agreement
providing Hesser the right to use MMAWC's licensed marks
outside of North America. Hesser thereafter assigned all of
his rights and interest in the license to World Series of
Fighting Global, Ltd. (WSOF Global). WSOF Global's
president was Shawn Wright, who also served as trustee of the
Zion Wood Obi Wan Trust, a member of MMAWC.
and others, including Bruce Deifik and the Nancy & Bruce
Deifik Family Partnership (of which Bruce Deifik is the
general partner), became embroiled in litigation with various
parties and entities, including WSOF Global, Wright, and Zion
Wood Obi Wan Trust. Eventually these and other parties
entered into a comprehensive settlement agreement. As part of
that settlement, the parties also amended the licensing
agreement and MMAWC's operating agreement.
9 of the settlement agreement provided that the settlement
agreement was the entire agreement between the parties
"[slave and except the separate agreements provided in
Section ... 2" of the settlement agreement. Pertinent
here, clause 2.1 of the settlement agreement stated as
The 10/15/12 Hesser License shall be reaffirmed and remain in
full force and effect as of the date of this Agreement, as
amended by the execution of the Amendment to Consulting and
Master Licensing Agreement in the form attached hereto and
incorporated herein as Exhibit B. The license is a material
part of settlement on behalf of Hesser and Wright ....
the amended licensing agreement referenced in clause 2.1 also
included a newly added ...