News & Noteworthy

Authored - NJ Contract Law Update - Who Are "Agents" For Arbitration Purposes, And When Can Agent Claims Be Forced Into Arbitration?
MARCH 13, 2014 | Windels Marx - Commercial Litigation

In Najmee v. The Brownstones at Essex Fells, ___ N.J.Super. ___, 2014 WL 349486 (N.J.App.Div. 2014), the Court dealt primarily with the issue of when parties might be agents of each other for purposes of compelling arbitration against (or arguably by) such parties.

The Court reaffirmed the principle that while "intertwining" among parties is not enough to compel arbitration, actual agency among parties who agreed to arbitrate and those affiliated with them would be enough to include the latter in an arbitration.

The Court also reviewed the law (still hardly clear) about when statutory claims must be arbitrated, if not expressly so articulated in an arbitration clause. Najmee utilized, in effect, a strong presumption in favor of arbitration. The Court also rejected a number of further arguments that an arbitration clause containing simple language--for example, "any disputes arising in connection with this Agreement"--was not clear enough to overcome arguments about what claims 'arise' from an agreement, etc.

Najmee is instructive, and should be consulted both in drafting and litigating arbitration claims.

Contact & Legal Disclaimer

Clark Alpert is the author of Guide to New Jersey Contract Law, published by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education and now in its third edition. His updates on New Jersey contract law are based on recent issues and practical methods for addressing similar situations in your practice or business. They are not intended to serve as legal advice. Clark welcomes your questions and comments.

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