Owner and contractor modified the A201 General Conditions to state that a decision by the Initial Decision Maker (presumably the architect) is a condition precedent to arbitration. When the contractor pursued arbitration against the owner for $919,856, the owner filed suit to stay the arbitration.
The court made short shrift of the situation. “It is undisputed that the claims [the contractor] seeks to make were not first referred to the Initial Decision Maker for initial interpretation. Thus, under the plain terms of Section 15.2.1 [of the A201] a condition precedent to arbitration has not been met and [the contractor] is therefore not entitled to proceed with Arbitration against [the owner].” The court issued an order to stay the arbitration.
The condition precedent that the parties put in their contract was to be enforced. This case is a good reminder to pay attention to conditions such as this, to avoid wasting time and energy. The case is LoCascio v Hobbs, Inc., 2020 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 3200, 2020 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 3200 (July 8, 2020).
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