Gangel v. DeGroot

Decision Date15 February 1977
Citation362 N.E.2d 249,41 N.Y.2d 840,393 N.Y.S.2d 698
CourtNew York Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
Parties, 362 N.E.2d 249, 1977 A.M.C. 2166 Richard GANGEL, Respondent, v. N. DeGROOT, PVBA, et al., Defendants, and Henrijean & Cie et al., Appellants.

Brendan J. Connolly, New York City, for appellants.

Jerold W. Dorfman and David A. Beale, New York City, for respondent.

MEMORANDUM.

Order affirmed, with costs.

Special Term correctly held that a contractual choice of forum, whether as to place or the preclusion of the right to litigate in favor of arbitration, must be express (see Matter of Rosenbaum (American Sur. Co.),11 N.Y.2d 310, 314, 229 N.Y.S.2d 375, 377, 183 N.E.2d 667, 668; Matter of Riverdale Fabrics Corp. (Tillinghast-Stiles Co.), 306 N.Y. 288, 289--292, 118 N.E.2d 104, 106; cf. Matter of Marchant v. Mead-Morrison Mfg Co., 252 N.Y. 284, 298--301, 169 N.E. 386, 391, app. dsmd.282 U.S. 808, 51 S.Ct. 104, 75 L.Ed. 725; Matter of Doughboy Inds. (Pantasote Co.), 17 A.D.2d 216, 220, 233 N.Y.S.2d 488, 493). The clause in the marine insurance policy in suit, as opposed to the 'broad' arbitration clause accepted in this and other American jurisdictions as unlimited, was limited (e.g., Matter of Weinrott (Carp), 32 N.Y.2d 190, 196, 344 N.Y.S.2d 848, 853, 298 N.E.2d 42, 45; see Matter of Marchant v. Mead-Morrison Mfg. Co., supra, 252 N.Y. p. 299, 169 N.E. p. 391; compare 2 Am.Jur. Legal Forms 2d, Arbitration and Award, § 23:32, with § 23:42). The instant clause refers to disputes 'regarding the execution of the present policy'. Although the term 'execution' has both a broad and a narrow connotation, an arbitration clause must be read conservatively if it is subject to an equivocal reading (see Matter of Riverdale Fabrics Corp. (Tillinghast-Stiles Co.), supra, 306 N.Y. 291, 118 N.E.2d p. 105; Matter of Marchant v. Mead-Morrison Mfg. Co., supra, 252 N.Y. pp. 298--301, 169 N.E. p. 391; Matter of Doughboy Inds. (Panasote Co.), supra,17 A.D.2d p. 220, 233 N.Y.S.2d p. 493). A distinction must be drawn. The agreement to arbitrate must be express, direct, and unequivocal as to the issues or disputes to be submitted to arbitration. But, once there is agreement or submission to arbitration, the scope of the arbitrators is unlimited and, with very limited exceptions, unreviewable (Matter of Weinrott (Carp), supra,32 N.Y.2d p. 198, 344 N.Y.S.2d p. 855, 298 N.E.2d p. 46; Lentine v. Fundaro,29 N.Y.2d 382, 383, 386, 328 N.Y.S.2d 418, 419, 422, 278 N.E.2d 633, 634, 635).

Although, as appellants argue, the law of Belgium would appear prima facie to be applicable to the execution and interpretation of the agreement, appellants offered no proof or argument as to the applicable Belgian law. Left unresolved is whether under Belgian law the word 'execution', or the clause as a whole, would be given the broad connotation comparable to that of a broad arbitration clause in American jurisdictions. Compounding the difficulty is the ambiguous and unexplained final sentence of the arbitration provision: 'The parties concerned reserve themselves the right of appeal.' Again, appellants offer no proof or argument what that means under Belgian law. Instead, they blandly refer to the arbitration clause as governing 'all disputes', thus begging the question. It would be foolhardy to assume that...

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  • Revis v. Schwartz
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • December 30, 2020
    ...as to the issues or disputes to be submitted to arbitration’ " ( id. at 898, 21 N.Y.S.3d 335, quoting Gangel v. DeGroot, 41 N.Y.2d 840, 841, 393 N.Y.S.2d 698, 362 N.E.2d 249 ). Here, there is no "unambiguous" provision in the SRA that any disputes between the parties involving the M & E be ......
  • Severstal U.S. Holdings, LLC v. RG Steel, LLC
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of New York
    • May 25, 2012
    ...v. Cane Tennessee, Inc., 274 A.D.2d 262, 266, 713 N.Y.S.2d 29, 32 (1st Dep't 2000) (citation omitted); Gangel v. DeGroot, 41 N.Y.2d 840, 393 N.Y.S.2d 698, 362 N.E.2d 249, 250 (1977) (“The agreement to arbitrate must be express, direct and unequivocal as to the issues or disputes to be submi......
  • Bowmer v. Bowmer
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • May 1, 1980
    ...party cannot be compelled to forego the right to seek judicial relief and instead submit to arbitration (see Gangel v. De Groot, 41 N.Y.2d 840, 841, 393 N.Y.S.2d 698, 362 N.E.2d 249). Examining the clause in paragraph 17 with this precept in mind, we first observe the standard, broadly fram......
  • In re Massena Cent. Sch. Dist. (Massena Confederated Sch. Employees' Ass'n, NYSUT, AFL-CIO)
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • March 3, 2011
    ...and health insurance coverage must be read to indicate that they intended no such distinction ( see Gangel v. DeGroot, 41 N.Y.2d 840, 841, 393 N.Y.S.2d 698, 362 N.E.2d 249 [1977] ). The arbitrator's determination to the contrary exceeded his power and was properly set aside ( see Matter of ......
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1 books & journal articles
  • 12.24 - A. Statutory Provisions And Requirements
    • United States
    • New York State Bar Association Lefkowitz on Public Sector Labor & Employment Law (NY) Chapter Twelve Arbitration and Contract Enforcement
    • Invalid date
    ...certain other public safety types of disputes, it is mandated by law. Id.[5628] . Civ. Serv. Law §§ 200–214.[5629] . Gangel v. DeGroot, 41 N.Y.2d 840, 393 N.Y.S.2d 698 (1977); Riverdale Fabrics Corp. v. Tillinghast-Stiles Co., 306 N.Y. 288 (1954).[5630] . N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 4,......

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