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Van C. Argiris & Co. v. May

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 31, 1979.

VAN C. ARGIRIS & CO., PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

RICHARD MAY, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. RICHARD L. CURRY, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE PERLIN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Van C. Argiris & Co. (hereinafter referred to as Argiris) appeals from an order of the circuit court of Cook County which dismissed its complaint to vacate an arbitration award. The same order confirmed the arbitration award and entered judgment thereupon.

The sole issue presented for review is whether the arbitration committee of the Chicago Real Estate Board (hereinafter referred to as the Board) had "jurisdiction" *fn1 over the controversy between Argiris and Richard May.

For reasons hereinafter set forth, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court of Cook County.

Richard May was employed by Argiris as a real estate broker until March 31, 1977, when he terminated his employment with Argiris. May subsequently became a member of the Board on May 23, 1977. On October 11, 1977, May filed a complaint with the Arbitration Committee of the Board alleging that Argiris had refused to remit to May certain commissions earned from the sale of real estate. On October 31, 1977, Argiris filed a motion to dismiss May's complaint. The motion alleged that the arbitration committee did not have jurisdiction over the controversy because (1) "at the time of and during the pendency of employment of Richard May and Van C. Argiris & Company, said May was not a member of the Chicago Real Estate Board"; (2) "there is no showing in the complaint of May that he is now a member of the Board"; and (3) "May is entitled to arbitration * * * only if [Argiris] agrees to submit said matter to arbitration, which it does not." In a letter dated November 9, 1977, the chairman of the arbitration committee informed Argiris that "pretrial motions" would not be considered by the arbitration committee, but that such motions would be considered at the commencement of the hearing.

The hearing was commenced on February 21, 1978, and the arbitration committee rendered its decision on May 12, 1978. In its decision the arbitration committee found that Argiris' motion to dismiss was "without merit" because both May and Argiris were members of the Board at the time the complaint was filed. The arbitration committee found that May was entitled to some but not all of the commissions which he had alleged in his complaint were due and owing to him from Argiris, and thereupon awarded May the commissions to which he was entitled.

On August 9, 1978, pursuant to section 12 of the Illinois Uniform Arbitration Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 10, par. 112), Argiris filed a complaint in the circuit court of Cook County to vacate the award of the arbitration committee. In its complaint Argiris alleged "[t]hat at the time said arbitration award was entered, the [Board] and the Arbitration Committee were without jurisdiction over the parties in this matter." On August 23, 1978, May filed an answer denying that the arbitration committee was without jurisdiction. May also filed a counterclaim pursuant to sections 11 and 14 of the Illinois Uniform Arbitration Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 10, pars. 111 and 114) to confirm the arbitration award and obtain judgment thereupon. *fn2

On November 8, 1978, May filed a motion for summary judgment on his counterclaim. On January 9, 1979, the trial court entered an order which granted May's motion for summary judgment on his counterclaim and dismissed Argiris' complaint to vacate the arbitration award. It is from this order which Argiris now appeals.

Section 1 of the Illinois Uniform Arbitration Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 10, par. 101) provides:

"A written agreement to submit any existing controversy to arbitration or a provision in a written contract to submit to arbitration any controversy thereafter arising between the parties is valid, enforceable and irrevocable save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract * * *."

Section 3 of article VIIA of the Board bylaws provides in part:

"The procedure provided for by this Article VII is hereby expressly made subject to the Illinois Uniform Arbitration Act of 1961. This Article VII A does and shall at all times constitute a written agreement within the meaning of said Act by all Active Principal, Active Non-Principal, Associate Salesman and Associate members of the Board to submit to arbitration any controversy between them of a nature described in Section 2(a) of this Article. * * * Said agreement to submit to arbitration shall be binding on all Active Principal, Active Non-Principal, Associate Salesman and Associate members admitted on and after April 1, 1964 by virtue of their application for membership and the acceptance of such application by the Board. * * *"

Section 2(a) of article VIIA of the Board bylaws provides:

"The Arbitration Committee shall have jurisdiction over any controversy between members related to a commission claimed or charged by or paid to such members or to any other matters arising out of their business as brokers or agents. The Arbitration Committee or its members shall also have jurisdiction in the hearing of any controversy in accordance with Article 23 of the Code of Ethics of the ...


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