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Combined Computer Resources, Inc v. Kelly Services

July 26, 2011

COMBINED COMPUTER RESOURCES, INC., PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
KELLY SERVICES, INC., SOURCE ONE TECHNICAL SOLUTIONS, LLC, JEFF CANTOR, CHRISTINE TEIXEIRA, AND JENNIE DARROW, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Morris County, Docket No. L-3694-09.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted July 5, 2011

Before Judges Axelrad and Lisa.

Plaintiff, Combined Computer Resources, Inc. (CCR) appeals from the portion of the September 16, 2010 Law Division order dismissing its complaint and compelling it to arbitrate its claim against defendant Source One Technical Solutions, LLC (Source One). CCR does not contest the validity of the order with respect to the other defendants in the case, Kelly Services, Inc. (Kelly) and the individual defendants, who are employees of Kelly.

A contract between CCR and Kelly contained an arbitration provision, and CCR's claim against Kelly alleges a breach of the contract. Accordingly, CCR conceded in the trial court and concedes before us that its claim against Kelly and Kelly's employees was properly dismissed and must be resolved through arbitration.

Events related to Kelly's alleged breach of its contract with CCR provide the basis for CCR's tortious interference claim against Source One. However, Source One was not a party to the contract between CCR and Kelly, and Source One had no separate contract with CCR. Accordingly, CCR contends that it is under no contractual obligation with Source One to arbitrate its claim against Source One. CCR further argues that its claim against Source One is beyond the scope of the arbitration provision in the contract between CCR and Kelly.

Judge Rosemary E. Ramsay disagreed with CCR and granted the motions of all defendants to dismiss the complaint and compel arbitration as to all defendants, including Source One. We agree with Judge Ramsay and affirm substantially for the reasons she expressed in her thorough and well-reasoned oral opinion of September 16, 2010.

These are the pertinent facts. CCR is a provider of information technology development services. For a number of years prior to 1998, CCR had been providing consultants to Johnson & Johnson. In 1998, Johnson & Johnson retained Kelly to serve as its vendor management organization, in which capacity it would act as an intermediary between Johnson & Johnson and providers of information technology services, such as CCR.

On December 5, 2005, CCR entered into a Service Provider Agreement (SPA) with Kelly which contained the following arbitration provision:

Any dispute, controversy or claim arising from or related in any way to this Agreement or the interpretation, application, breach, termination or validity thereof, including any claim of inducement of this Agreement by fraud or otherwise, will be submitted for resolution to arbitration pursuant to the rules then prevailing of the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution for Non-Administered Arbitration. . . .

Paragraph 15(b) of the SPA, entitled 'TRANSITION AND CONVERSION TERMS," provided as follows:

Supplier agrees to waive all placement and conversion fees and release its employees assigned to Customer from all non-competition agreements so that they may seek employment with Kelly, Customer, or another Supplier that ...


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