As discussed previously in this blog, arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution procedure, whereby the parties to a construction contract can agree to have their disputes heard by a private individual (or a panel of three individuals), whose decision is final and binding upon the parties. Arbitration is favored by the Connecticut courts, and, when done correctly, can provide the parties with a fast, efficient, and economical resolution of their dispute. The question, however, is to what extent may a party to a contract containing an arbitration clause avail himself of the courts before the right to arbitrate has been waived. A recent Connecticut Supreme Court decision clarifies that situation.
In MSO, LLC v. DeSimone, 313 Conn. 54, the parties leave agreement included an arbitration clause. The tenant, MSO, LLC, brought an action for damages against the landlord, DeSimone. Id. The landlord defended the action and brought a counterclaim against the tenant. Id. After two years of litigation, the landlord moved to stay the action pending arbitration. Id.
If a motion to stay a lawsuit pending arbitration is brought pursuant to a valid agreement to arbitration, the court is without discretion to deny the motion.