In a recent unpublished opinion, the Appellate Division ruled that, although an arbitrator may modify an award to fix technical errors, he cannot include relief for claims not addressed in the original award, even if the failure to address those claims was due to an oversight by the arbitrator. In Merion Construction Management, LLC v. Kemron Environmental Services, Inc., subcontractor Kemron commenced arbitration alleging that although Kemron had substantially performed its obligations, contractor Merion had not paid its invoices. The arbitrator agreed with Kemron and awarded $873,758.56.
Author: Calvin K. May
New York Court of Appeals Reconsiders and Holds That an Insurer May Invoke Policy Exclusions Despite Wrongful Refusal to Defend
The New York Court of Appeals has vacated its recent decision in K2 Investment Group, LLC v. American Guarantee & Liability Insurance Co., reverting to the majority position that an insurer breaching its duty to defend an insured is not barred from relying on policy exclusions to defend a later claim for indemnification. The case originated from a related lawsuit where K2 Investment Group, LLC and ATAS Management Group, LLC (collectively, the “LLCs”) sued an attorney for legal malpractice.
New York Appellate Division Reminds New York Practitioners That They Ignore CPLR 3212(a)’s Filing Deadlines at Their Peril
In Kershaw v. Hospital for Special Surgery, the First Department of New York’s Appellate Division affirmed the denial of a summary judgment motion for being untimely filed, notwithstanding that the tardy motion clearly had merit, as emphasized by the dissent. In so doing, the Kershaw Court reinforced the notion that attorneys who disregard the filing deadlines set forth by the New York courts under the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules (“CPLR”) do so at their own peril.
The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that a party’s active participation in a lawsuit for 21 months, up to the eve of trial, constitutes an implicit waiver of its right to invoke an arbitration clause. The plaintiff in Cole v. Jersey City Medical Center was a certified registered nurse anesthetist providing anesthesiology services on behalf of third-party defendant Liberty Anesthesia Associates, LLC (“Liberty”) at the defendant medical center. The plaintiff’s employment with Liberty was governed by a contract containing an arbitration clause. Liberty terminated the plaintiff when the medical center detected that controlled substances had gone unaccounted for and plaintiff refused to submit to a drug test.
The New Jersey Supreme Court, in Hirsch v. Amper Financial Services, LLC ruled that “intertwined” parties and claims alone are insufficient to compel arbitration on grounds of equitable estoppel. The plaintiffs in Hirsch purchased two securitized Med Cap notes worth $550,000 through a financial advisor representing broker-dealer Securities America, Inc. (“SAI”). They ultimately lost their investment after an SEC investigation indicated that Med Cap was a Ponzi scheme. Pursuant to an arbitration clause in their purchase applications, plaintiffs initiated FINRA arbitration proceedings against SAI and the financial advisor. In tandem with their arbitration claims, plaintiffs filed a civil action against their accountant EisnerAmper, LLP—who had recommended the financial advisor—and Amper Financial Services, LLC (“AFS”) of which the financial advisor was managing partner and 50% shareholder. EisnerAmper and AFS impleaded SAI for indemnification and contribution. In response, SAI moved to compel arbitration, despite the fact that plaintiffs had not agreed to arbitrate claims with either EisnerAmper or AFS. EisnerAmper and AFS joined in SAI’s motion to compel arbitration, which the trial court granted.
Factual Allegations in Superceded Complaint Not Judicial Admissions, But May Be Used for Rebuttal Purposes
In West Run Student Housing Associates., LLC v. Huntington National Bank, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that, under the liberal policy of allowing amendment under Rule 15, factual allegations made in a superceded complaint are not binding judicial admissions for purposes of a motion to dismiss, but such allegations may be used in the litigation to rebut the plaintiff’s subsequent factual contentions.