Menche v Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone, LLP,

___ AD3d ___, 2015 NY Slip Op 04617 [2d Dept., 2015]

In this legal malpractice case, the letter of engagement contained a broad arbitration clause, broad enough to cover the legal malpractice claim itself, as well as a claim for breach of fiduciary duty. The letter of engagement being indisputably a document within the meaning of CPLR 3211 (a)(1), and the arbitration provision clear, Supreme Court granted the motion to dismiss and the Appellate Division affirmed.

All of which sounds reasonable and plausible, until we ask why dismissal was the appropriate remedy.

Arbitration and its relationship to actions in court are the subject of CPLR Article 75. CPLR 7503 deals, in part, with the situation presented here: A party to an arbitration agreement has attempted to bypass the agreement by commencing an action in court.

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Morgan Keegan & Co., Inc. v Rote,

115 A.D.3d 516, 982 N.Y.S.2d 448 [1st Dept., 2014]
Petitioner sought to set aside an arbitration award, and the threshold question was whether or not the petition could be heard in New York.
The arbitration agreement specified that the hearing was to be held in Memphis, Tennessee, in accordance with FINRA rules. Several days’ worth of the hearings were in fact held in New York, for the convenience of the arbitrators. The case had no other connection to New York.
These facts did not suffice as a basis for the assertion of personal jurisdiction in New York, and the petitioner’s petition to set aside the arbitration award was properly denied.