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ELKINS & CO. v. WILLIAM Z. SUPLEE (03/07/88)

filed: March 7, 1988.

ELKINS & CO.
v.
WILLIAM Z. SUPLEE, III, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment entered May 4, 1987, in the Court of Common Pleas, Chester County, Civil Division at No. 86-03322.

COUNSEL

John F. Stoviak, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Edward J. O'Malley, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Cirillo, President Judge, and Olszewski and Johnson, JJ.

Author: Johnson

[ 371 Pa. Super. Page 572]

This is an appeal from the confirmation of an arbitration award issued by a panel of arbitrators of the New York Stock Exchange. We affirm.

The arbitration award resolved a dispute between the stock brokerage Elkins & Co., a Pennsylvania Limited Partnership, and a former general partner, appellant William Z. Suplee, III, a citizen and resident of Pennsylvania.*fn1 The

[ 371 Pa. Super. Page 573]

Agreement of Limited Partnership provided that disputes between Elkins and appellant were to be arbitrated pursuant to the Constitution and Rules of the Board of Governors of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The partnership agreement, which had been executed in Pennsylvania, stated that it was to be governed by the laws of Pennsylvania.

This dispute arose after appellant terminated his partnership interest in Elkins on June 28, 1981. On March 22, 1982, the executive committee of Elkins voted to charge all partners and former partners, including appellant, for expenses incurred by Elkins attributable to litigation arising from the years 1979-1981. On June 10, 1985, pursuant to the 1981 limited partnership agreement, Elkins filed a demand for arbitration after appellant refused to pay his assessed portion of these losses.*fn2 On January 23, 1986, a hearing was held in the Stock Exchange Building, 11 Wall Street, in New York City. Both parties were present at the hearing and represented by counsel. The next day, the arbitrators unanimously issued an award directing appellant to pay $15,807.14 to Elkins.*fn3 When appellant failed to satisfy that award, on May 13, 1986 Elkins filed a Petition to Confirm Arbitration Award in the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County. The Honorable Charles B. Smith, by opinion and order dated April 2, 1987, determined that jurisdiction existed to confirm an award of the New York Stock Exchange. This appeal followed.

Appellant first contends that the court of common pleas lacked jurisdiction to confirm an award of arbitrators convening at the New York Stock Exchange and rendered in our sister state of New York. Appellant asserts that there is no enabling statute which grants jurisdiction to a Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas to enforce, confirm or enter judgment from a foreign arbitration award. Appellant,

[ 371 Pa. Super. Page 574]

    in essence, argues that Pennsylvania courts lack subject matter jurisdiction.

We will, initially, examine the partnership agreement since arbitrability is purely a matter of contract. Goodwin v. Elkins & Co., 730 F.2d 99 (3d ...


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