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August 16, 2017

An agreement to submit a dispute to arbitration will be enforced by the court


An agreement to submit a dispute to arbitration will be enforced by the court
Adams v Metropolitan Transp. Auth., 2017 NY Slip Op 05946, Appellate Division, Second Department

As a general rule, arbitration is a matter of contract and a party cannot be required to submit to arbitration any dispute which he or she has not agreed so to submit. Further, a party may not be compelled to arbitrate a dispute unless there is evidence affirmatively establishing that the parties clearly, explicitly, and unequivocally agreed to arbitrate.

In a proceeding pursuant to CPLR Article 75 to compel arbitration Supreme Court granted the petition directed the parties to proceed to arbitration. The Appellate Division affirmed the lower court's ruling.

As to the genesis of this Article 75 action, since 1973, Nassau County provided bus service for the County through an operating agreement with a subsidiary of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority [MTA], the MTA-Long Island Bus [MTA-LIB]. The operating agreement set out various protections that were set forth in various agreements, known §13(c) agreements, which included arbitration provisions.

In 2011, MTA discontinued its bus service in the County and the County contracted with Veolia Transportation Services, Inc. [Veolia] to provide bus services. Veolia agreed that the §13(c) agreements that had been entered into by the County would continue. These agreements provided for arbitration of claims by the employees of the bus service.

Certain employees of the MTA-LIB were terminated and subsequently hired by Veolia. These employees, contending that as a result of moving their employment to Veolia they encountered "negative employment consequences" that were compensable under the §13(c) agreements, demanded that their complaints be submitted to arbitration.

The Appellate Division said that Supreme Court had correctly determined that MTA, MTA-LIB, the County and Veolia "had all clearly and expressly agreed to arbitrate the claims alleged by the former MTA-LIB employees pursuant to the §13(c) agreements and that any conditions precedent to seeking arbitration had been satisfied."

Accordingly, the Appellate Division found that the lower court had properly granted the former MTA-LIB employee's petition to compel arbitration.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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