Spaw-Glass Const. Services, Inc. v. Vista De Santa Fe, Inc., SPAW-GLASS

Docket NºNo. 20398
Citation1992 NMSC 67, 844 P.2d 807, 114 N.M. 557
Case DateDecember 10, 1992
CourtSupreme Court of New Mexico

Page 807

844 P.2d 807
114 N.M. 557
VISTA De SANTA FE, INC., Defendant-Respondent.
No. 20398.
Supreme Court of New Mexico.
Dec. 10, 1992.
Rehearing Denied Jan. 11, 1993.

[114 N.M. 557] Sheehan, Sheehan & Stelzner, P.A., Timothy M. Sheehan, Kim A. Griffith, Albuquerque, Clark, Thomas, Winters & Newton, Mark T. Mitchell, John F. Williams, Austin, Tex., for plaintiff-petitioner.

Love & McClelland, Jack L. Love, Albuquerque, for defendant-respondent.



Spaw-Glass Construction Services, Inc. (Spaw), appeals from a partial summary judgment in favor of Vista De Santa Fe, Inc. (Vista), dismissing Spaw's petition to confirm an arbitration award pursuant to NMSA 1978, Section 44-7-11. Because

Page 808

[114 N.M. 558] this case involves an important issue and an immediate appeal would advance the ultimate termination of this case, we granted Spaw's application for interlocutory appeal. See SCRA 1986, 12-203 (Repl.Pamp.1992). We reverse the district court and remand for entry of the arbitration award.


The undisputed facts pertinent to our disposition of this appeal are as follows. On August 24, 1988, Spaw and Vista entered into two separate contracts for the construction of a retirement center. On November 9, 1989, the project was substantially completed. In April of the next year, Spaw filed a breach of contract action in Texas. Vista rejected this judicial forum, and instead demanded arbitration based on the following contract provision: "Any controversy or Claim arising out of or related to the Contract, or the breach thereof, shall be settled by arbitration in accordance with the Construction Industry Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association * * *."

A four-day arbitration hearing was held in front of an American Arbitration Association panel. At the conclusion of the process, the panel rejected Vista's claims and entered an award in favor of Spaw in the amount of approximately $164,000.

On June 19, 1991, Spaw filed an enforcement action to reduce the arbitration award to judgment in accordance with the provisions set forth in the Uniform Arbitration Act, NMSA 1978, Sections 44-7-1 to -22 (Arbitration Act). Spaw filed a Motion for Summary Judgment seeking confirmation and entry of judgment on the arbitration award. Sec. 44-7-11. Vista in turn filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, asserting that Spaw was barred from bringing suit because it was not a licensed contractor at certain times material as required by the Construction Industries Licensing Act, NMSA 1978, Sections 60-13-1 to -59 (Repl.Pamp.1989) (CILA). Vista relied on Section 60-13-30(A) of the CILA which prohibits a contractor from bringing "any action * * * for the collection of compensation * * * without alleging and proving that such contractor was a duly licensed contractor at the time the alleged cause of action arose."

The district court held a hearing on the summary judgment motions and issued a Memorandum Decision on December 2, 1991. After denying a Motion to Reconsider, the district court issued an Amended Memorandum Decision on January 21, 1992. The court concluded that Spaw was not duly licensed at the time its cause of action arose, thereby bringing it within the prohibition of Section 60-13-30. The district court further determined that the "arbitration itself is a nullity because one of the participants, Spaw-Glass, had no right to participate." On January 29, 1992, the court issued an Order denying Spaw's Motion for Summary Judgment and for Reconsideration and granting Vista's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, based on the determinations set forth in the Amended Memorandum Decision.


On appeal, Spaw argues that the district court erred when it set aside a final arbitration award based on Spaw's alleged violation of the CILA. We agree.

We recognize New Mexico's strong public policy encouraging dispute resolution through arbitration and favoring finality and strictly limited court review of arbitration awards. See, e.g., State ex rel. Hooten Constr. Co. v. Borsberry Constr. Co., 108 N.M. 192, 193, 769 P.2d 726, 727 (1989); Dairyland Ins. Co. v. Rose, 92 N.M. 527, 530, 591 P.2d 281, 284 (1979). We must exercise "great caution when asked to set aside an arbitration award, which is the product of the theoretically informal, speedy and inexpensive process of arbitration, freely chosen by the parties." Hooten, 108 N.M. at 193, 769 P.2d at 727. The function of a trial court is not to hear a case de novo. I...

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8 cases
  • JBI Elec. Sys., Inc. v. KW AQE, LLC
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of New Mexico
    • March 19, 2021
    ...stayed, or transferred for that arbitration.March 3. Tr. at 8:13-23 (Calvert)(citing Spaw-Glass Const. Servs., Inc. v. Vista De Santa Fe, Inc., 1992-NMSC-067, 114 N.M. 557, 844 P.2d 807). JBI Electrical spoke next, and told the Court that it did not wish to arbitrate this case. See March Tr......
  • Santa Fe Technologies v. Argus Networks
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • December 13, 2001
    ...court. {51} Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution highly favored in New Mexico. Spaw-Glass Constr. Servs., Inc. v. Vista De Santa Fe, Inc., 114 N.M. 557, 558, 844 P.2d 807, 808 (1992). It promotes both judicial efficiency and conservation of resources by all parties. See Casias v. Dai......
  • K.R. Swerdfeger Const. v. Board of Regents, 25,085.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • July 28, 2006
    ...Generally, the parties' agreement defines the scope of the arbitrator's powers. Spaw-Glass Constr. Servs., Inc. v. Vista De Santa Fe, Inc., 114 N.M. 557, 559, 844 P.2d 807, 809 (1992) ("The arbitrator's powers are determined by the arbitration clause in the contract."). "Arbitrators exceed ......
  • Smith v. Pinnamaneni
    • United States
    • Arizona Court of Appeals
    • April 28, 2011
    ...of the defense. City of Phx. v. Fields, 219 Ariz. 568, 574, ¶ 27, 201 P.3d 529, 535 (2009); see Spaw–Glass Constr. Servs., Inc. v. Vista De Santa Fe, Inc., 114 N.M. 557, 844 P.2d 807, 809 (1992) (licensing defense should have been raised in arbitration and failure to do so constituted waive......
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