Grill, Honig, and Schieber Prevail after Framed Issue Hearing

October 9, 2017 | Commercial Litigation | Construction

David M. Grill, Jeremy Honig and Evan Schieber successfully defeated defendant’s motion to compel arbitration of their client’s breach of contract action following a framed issue hearing in Supreme Court, Westchester County.

The action was commenced to recover the client’s deposit, which the defendant refused to return following the client’s attempt to cancel purchase orders relating to its purchase of steel structures from the defendant. Defendant moved to dismiss the action and compel arbitration, due to an alleged arbitration clause contained in the defendant’s purchase orders that were executed by the client.

At the framed issue hearing, defendant’s representative, who was not an officer of the defendant, testified that she countersigned the purchase orders and returned same to the client, although the client testified that he did not receive the countersigned purchase orders until after he had cancelled the order.

Following the framed issue hearing, the Court determined that the purchase orders were never binding upon the parties since the purchase orders expressly provided that they must be signed by an “authorized officer” of the defendant in order to be fully enforceable. Since the defendant’s representative was, by her own admission, not an officer of the defendant, the purchase orders and the arbitration clauses they contained were of no force and effect. As such, the Court issued an order denying the defendant’s motion to compel arbitration in its entirety.

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