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MORRIS LAPIDUS ASSOCIATES v. AIRPORTELS (04/22/76)

decided: April 22, 1976.

MORRIS LAPIDUS ASSOCIATES, APPELLANT,
v.
AIRPORTELS, INC. ET AL.



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Sept. T., 1974, No. 3100, in case of Morris Lapidus Associates v. Airportels, Inc. and Philadium Hotel, Inc. Appeal of: Morris Lapidus Associates.

COUNSEL

David S. Rasner, with him Jerome E. Bogutz, and Bogutz & Mazer, for appellant.

John R. Padova, with him Gerald A. Inglesby, and Solo & Padova, for appellees.

Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Price, J. Cercone, J., concurs in the result. Concurring Opinion by Spaeth, J. Hoffman, J., joins in this opinion.

Author: Price

[ 240 Pa. Super. Page 81]

This case is an appeal from the lower court order striking a judgment obtained by appellant Morris Lapidus Associates against appellees Airportels, Inc. and Philadium Hotel, Inc. The order was improperly granted, and, therefore, it must be reversed.

Appellant, an architectural firm with principal office located in New York, N.Y., contracted to render services in Philadelphia to appellees. The parties became embroiled in a dispute over payment, and, pursuant to provisions of the contract, the dispute was submitted to arbitration in New York, culminating in an award in favor of appellant. That award was confirmed by the Supreme Court of New York, Special Division, and entered as a judgment in that state on September 5,

[ 240 Pa. Super. Page 821974]

. Appellee appealed the judgment to the Appellate Division, specifically arguing that one of the arbitrators had been biased. That court affirmed the judgment in favor of appellant, dismissing appellees' argument as "sour grapes."*fn1

On September 18, 1974, appellant entered the judgment obtained in New York in Philadelphia, pursuant to provisions of the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act.*fn2 Appellees filed a motion to open the judgment, or, in the alternative, to strike the judgment, again raising the issue of alleged bias on the part of the arbitrators. After considering the depositions submitted by both sides, the lower court issued an order striking the judgment, basing its decision on its belief that the failure of the arbitrators to reveal their relationship to the parties denied the appellees due process of law. On appeal, appellant argues that the lower court's action violates the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution of the United States.

There can be no doubt, of course, that Pennsylvania courts must accord full faith and credit to judgments obtained in New York. U.S. Const. Art. IV, § 1; Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457 (1940), reh. denied, 312 U.S. 712 (1941); Higbee Estate, 372 Pa. 233, 93 A.2d 467 (1953). Generally, this means that they must be given the same

[ 240 Pa. Super. Page 83]

    recognition and res judicata effect as they would receive in that state's courts. Barnes v. Buck, ...


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