Zuckerman Spaeder LLP v. Auffenberg, Jr.
This case stemmed from appellee's legal representation of appellant in a criminal tax fraud case. Appellee subsequently filed a lawsuit against appellant for recovery of unpaid attorneys' fees and appellant counterclaimed for malpractice and later petitioned for arbitration before the District of Columbia Attorney/Client Arbitration Board (ACAB), an arm of the District of Columbia Bar. Appellant also moved the district court for a stay pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 3, the denial of which he appealed. At issue was whether appellant was "in default" of his right to arbitrate. The court affirmed the district court's denial of the stay where appellant failed to make a timely assertion of his right to arbitrate and his litigation activity, after he filed his initial answer and counterclaim, imposed substantial costs upon appellee and the district court.