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Mid-State Securities Corp. v. Edwards

March 03, 1998

MID-STATE SECURITIES CORP., PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
WILLIAM B. EDWARDS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Argued: January 28, 1998

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Monmouth County.

Before Judges Baime, Brochin and Braithwaite.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Braithwaite, J.A.D.

This is an appeal from a Chancery Division order enjoining arbitration of a claim by defendant against plaintiff that plaintiff's employee engaged in improper conduct with respect to defendant's securities brokerage account. The parties have agreed to arbitrate such claims pursuant to rules of the National Association of Stock Dealers (NASD). The rules of the NASD require arbitration claims to be submitted within six years from the date of the occurrence which gives rise to the claim. An issue arose as to whether a court or the arbitrator was to decide the issue of arbitrability because more than six years elapsed before defendant filed his claim. The trial Judge ruled that a court is to decide the issue and permanently enjoined defendant from arbitrating his claim.

Defendant now appeals and contends:

POINT I

New Jersey case law, decided after judgment was entered in this case, holds that timeliness of a demand for arbitration is an issue to be resolved by the arbitrators.

POINT II

If the Court analyzes the arbitrability issue from the standpoint of federal case law, it must make its own analysis as to which is the better reasoned body of law.

A. Federal law requires a liberal construction in favor of arbitration.

B. In construing the parties' contract, the court should try to divine the parties' intentions on the issue in dispute.

C. Issues of time limitations are presumptively for the arbitrator.

D. The NASD can and should construe its ...


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