Hackettv.Milbank, Tweed, Hadley McCloy

Court of Appeals of the State of New YorkJul 7, 1992
80 N.Y.2d 870 (N.Y. 1992)
80 N.Y.2d 870600 N.E.2d 229587 N.Y.S.2d 598

Decided July 7, 1992


Appeal from the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the First Judicial Department, Joan B. Lobis, J.

Russell E. Brooks for appellant.

Gerald E. Ross for respondent.

MEMORANDUM.

The Appellate Division order insofar as appealed from should be reversed, with costs, and the petition to stay arbitration denied.

This controversy over petitioner's right to receive supplemental payments upon his withdrawal from respondent law firm should be decided in these circumstances by an arbitrator in the first instance. That is especially so given the broad arbitration clause in the parties' partnership agreement and the existence of factual disputes between the parties, including which amendment of the agreement applies and whether the supplemental payments were intended to constitute approximation of the withdrawing partner's share of undistributed earned income. Petitioner's claim that an arbitrator's award denying him benefits would be contrary to public policy is insufficient to preemptively stay arbitration and may be addressed subsequently on a motion to vacate or confirm the award, if such an award is in fact made (see, Matter of Port Wash. Union Free School Dist. v Port Wash. Teachers Assn., 45 N.Y.2d 411, 417-418; see also, Maross Constr. v Central N Y Regional Transp. Auth., 66 N.Y.2d 341, 346).

Chief Judge WACHTLER and Judges SIMONS, KAYE, TITONE and HANCOCK, JR., concur in memorandum; Judge BELLACOSA taking no part.

On review of submissions pursuant to section 500.4 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals (22 N.Y.CRR 500.4), order, insofar as appealed from, reversed, etc.