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Sprinzen v. Nomberg

Court of Appeals of New York
389 N.E.2d 456 (1979)


Facts

When Murray Nomberg (defendant) was hired to work as an agent for Local 1115 Joint Board (Local 1115) (plaintiff), he signed an employment agreement containing a covenant that restricted him from working as a labor organizer for five years after termination of his employment. The agreement further provided that any disputes arising thereunder or otherwise would be arbitrated. The arbitrator of any such disputes was specifically named in the agreement. Nomberg left his employment with Local 1115 in February 1976 and began working for another labor union, Local 144. Local 1115 demanded arbitration to force Nomberg to comply with the restrictive covenant. Nomberg objected to the arbitrator on the ground of bias; when his objection was to no avail, he refused to participate in the arbitration hearing. After Local 1115 presented its case, the arbitrator ruled in its favor, enjoining Nomberg from working for Local 144 until the covenant’s five-year restriction had elapsed. Local 1115 moved a New York court to confirm the arbitration award. Nomberg cross-moved to have the award vacated on the grounds that the arbitrator was biased and the award unjust. The court affirmed the award. A divided Appellate Division reversed, holding that the award violated public policy under the circumstances. Local 1115 appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Jasen, J.)

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