Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, April T., 1970, No. 4958, in case of Roselon Industries, Inc. v. Associated Knitting Mills.
Theodore J. Martineau, with him Matthew M. Strickler, and Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll, for appellant.
Samuel Rappaport, with him Joseph Rappaport, and Rappaport & Furman, for appellee.
Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Cercone, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J.
[ 221 Pa. Super. Page 10]
This is an appeal from the order of the lower court opening a judgment which was entered by the Prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas upon a praecipe which set forth an arbitration award.
In this appeal appellee asserts that the action of the lower court in opening the judgment was proper because (1) there had never been an agreement between the parties to arbitrate the instant dispute, and (2) the subject matter of the controversy was improperly heard by the arbitrators on ex parte basis.
These issues, however, need not be resolved in this appeal because, as appellee contends, the original judgment on the arbitrators' award was improperly entered by the prothonotary.
It is agreed by the parties that the arbitrators' award was predicated upon common law arbitration and not arbitration under the Act of April 25, 1927, P. L. 381, No. 248, § 3, 5 P.S. 161 et seq. Accordingly, "common law rules control the enforcement of [a common law arbitration] award." Smith v. Safeguard Mutual Insurance, 212 Pa. Superior Ct. 83, 239 A.2d 824 (1968). Under common law, parties may "effectively provide, in their agreement to arbitrate, authority for entering judgment on the award". Smith, supra, at 86.
Absent an agreement that judgment should be entered by the prothonotary or an agreement "contain[ing] a warrant of attorney to appear for defendant and confess judgment," the prothonotary is not authorized to enter judgment on the arbitration award. Smith, supra, at 86; Wall's Administrators v. Fife, 37 Pa. 394 (1861); and Shure v. Goodimate Co., Inc., 302 Pa. 457, 153 A. 757 (1931).
Appellant argues that the appellee agreed to the following arbitration clause: "[a]ny controversy arising under or in relation to this order or contract,
[ 221 Pa. Super. Page 11]
or any modification thereof, shall be settled by arbitration. In the absence of agreement otherwise among the parties hereto such arbitration shall be held in the City of Philadelphia, in accordance with the laws of the State of Pennsylvania, unless some other jurisdiction shall be mutually agreed upon in writing by the parties hereto, and the rules then obtaining of the American Arbitration Association, or the General Arbitration Council of the Textile Industry, or any successor of either, as the Seller may determine, and the parties consent to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of the State of Pennsylvania, and further consent to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of the State of Pennsylvania, and further consent that any process or notice of motion or other application to the Court or a Judge thereof, ...