Review of Court Decisions - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 33, No. 2
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
CONSTRUCTION—ARCHITECT DECISION—ENFORCEMENT OF AWARD—AIA DOCUMENT—ARCHITECT HELD TO ACT AS AN ARBITRATOR
Where a determination by an architect states that it was final but subject to appeal but the demand for arbitration was not made within the required 30-day time period, the court held that the architect's decision was enforceable as an arbitration award. Pursuant to Paragraph 2.2.6 et seq. of the AIA document, the parties submitted their dispute to the architect for decision. The architect, after a number of meetings with the parties, made an award in favor of the plaintiff. The architect's decision stated that it was final but subject to appeal. Under paragraph 2.2,11 if a decision of the architect states that it is final but subject to appeal, arbitration must be demanded within 30 days after delivery of the decision. Failure to demand arbitration within the .30 day period will result in the architect's decision becoming final and binding. In this case, no such demand was made. Plaintiff sought to enforce the award but defendant objected on the ground that it had never appeared in a meeting for the purpose of issuing an arbitration award. The trial court sustained defendant's motion for summary judgment and held that the architect was not aware that he was acting as an arbitrator. The Court of Appeals reversed concluding that "the defendant is hound by the contractual provision which unambiguously provides that the architect shall make the determination on the issue involved." The court disagreed with the lower court's determination that the architect was unaware that he was acting as an arbitrator. Additionally, the contract expressly provides that it a party was dissatisfied with the architect's award, it may request additional arbitration. The court noted that no such request was ever made. "By the express terms of the contract, the architect's decision became final upon defendant's failure to file the required notice within thirty days of the architect's decision."
Sue Klau Enterprises Inc. V. American Fidelity Fire Ins. Co., 551 F. 2d 882 list Cir. 1977).