2 No. 152
In the Matter of Jaidan Industries, Inc.,
Appellant,
v.
M.A. Angeliades, Inc.,
Respondent.


2001 NY Int. 124

November 19, 2001

This memorandum is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the New York Reports.

Craig M. Nisnewitz, for appellant.
Kostas T. Golfinopoulos, for respondent.



MEMORANDUM:

The order of the Appellate Division, insofar as appealed from, should be reversed, with costs, and the judgment of Supreme Court reinstated.

Jaidan Industries, Inc. agreed to manufacture windows for M.A. Angeliades, Inc. Though Jaidan partially performed, Angeliades refused to pay and did not allow Jaidan to continue work. Jaidan demanded arbitration, seeking $250,000 in damages; Angeliades counterclaimed for $100,000.

An arbitrator awarded Jaidan $166,673.09, including $78,000 for "design and engineering new aluminum windows." Jaidan commenced this article 75 proceeding to confirm its award. Angeliades cross-moved to vacate the award, alleging that because Jaidan had not employed a licensed engineer or architect, the $78,000 awarded for the windows violated New York's Education Law, which prohibits the unlicensed practice of engineering or architecture (see, New York Education Law §§ 7201-7202, 7301- 7302). Supreme Court confirmed the award and denied Angeliades' motion. The Appellate Division, however, modified by vacating $78,000 of the award, concluding that because it was undisputed Jaidan was not licensed to perform architectural and engineering services, "on its face, the arbitrator's award * * * violated public policy" (277 2 237, 238). We now reverse.

An arbitration award may be vacated on public policy grounds only where it is clear on its face that public policy precludes its enforcement (see, Matter of Sprinzen [Nomberg], , 46 NY2d 623, 631). That is not the case here. The award for "design and engineering new aluminum windows" does not necessarily violate public policy (see, e.g., Charlebois v Weller Assocs., , 72 NY2d 587, 593-595 [contract with unlicensed corporation that included the rendition of professional services did not "violate the pertinent Education Law licensing protections or the public policy which underlies them"]). We further note that, even if the Appellate Division was correct in its conclusion that the arbitration award on its face raised public policy concerns (which it did not), the court nonetheless erred in failing to look beyond the face of the award in order to see whether it could properly be upheld. Here, for example, the contract explicitly required that an architect for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection approve Jaidan's shop drawings, and the architect approved the drawings for the new windows.

Order, insofar as appealed from, reversed, with costs, and judgment of Supreme Court, Queens County, reinstated, in a memorandum. Chief Judge Kaye and Judges Smith, Levine, Ciparick, Wesley, Rosenblatt and Graffeo concur.

Decided November 19, 2001