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Moses H. Cone Mem'l Hosp. v. Mercury Constr. Corp.

Supreme Court of the United States

November 2, 1982, Argued ; February 23, 1983, Decided

No. 81-1203

Opinion

 [*4]   [***772]   [**930]  JUSTICE BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.

 This case, commenced as a petition for an order to compel arbitration under § 4 of the United [****8]  States Arbitration Act of 1925 (Arbitration Act or Act), 9 U. S. C. § 4, presents the question whether, in light of the policies of the Act and of our decisions  [**931]  in Colorado River Water Conservation District v. United States, 424 U.S. 800 (1976), and Will v. Calvert Fire Insurance Co., 437 U.S. 655 (1978), the District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina properly stayed this diversity action pending resolution of a concurrent state-court suit. The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed the stay. 656 F.2d 933, rehearing denied, 664 F.2d 936 (1981). We granted certiorari. 455 U.S. 937 (1982). We affirm.

Petitioner Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital (Hospital) is located in Greensboro, N. C. Respondent Mercury  [***773]  Construction Corp. (Mercury), a construction contractor, has its principal place of business in Alabama. In July 1975, Mercury and the Hospital entered into a contract for the construction of additions to the Hospital building. The contract, drafted by representatives of the Hospital, included provisions for resolving disputes [****9]  arising out of the contract or its breach. All disputes involving interpretation of the contract or performance of the construction work were to be referred in the first instance to J. N. Pease Associates (Architect), an independent architectural firm hired by the Hospital to design and oversee the construction project. With certain  [*5]  stated exceptions, 1 any dispute decided by the Architect (or not decided by it within a stated time) could be submitted by either party to binding arbitration under a broad arbitration clause in the contract:

"All claims, disputes and other matters in question arising out of, or relating to, this Contract or the breach thereof, . . . shall be decided by arbitration in accordance with the Construction Industry Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association then obtaining unless the parties mutually agree otherwise. This agreement to arbitrate shall be specifically enforceable under the prevailing arbitration law. The award rendered by the arbitrators shall be final, and judgment may be entered upon it in accordance with applicable law in any court having jurisdiction thereof." App. 29-30.

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460 U.S. 1 *; 103 S. Ct. 927 **; 74 L. Ed. 2d 765 ***; 1983 U.S. LEXIS 17 ****; 51 U.S.L.W. 4156

MOSES H. CONE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL v. MERCURY CONSTRUCTION CORP.

Prior History:  [****1]  CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT.

Disposition:  656 F.2d 933, affirmed.

CORE TERMS

arbitration, district court, court of appeals, state court, River, parties, federal suit, proceedings, state-court, factors, federal court, circumstances, abstention, merits, district judge, cases, stay order, interlocutory, disputes, appellate jurisdiction, arbitration agreement, adjudicate, concurrent, piecemeal, water rights, declaration, deference, purposes, appeals, courts

Civil Procedure, Appeals, Appellate Jurisdiction, Final Judgment Rule, Interlocutory Orders, Business & Corporate Compliance, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Arbitration, Arbitrability, Preliminary Considerations, Federal & State Interrelationships, Abstention, Jurisdiction, Jurisdictional Sources, General Overview, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Jurisdiction Over Actions, Concurrent Jurisdiction, Federal Arbitration Act, Contracts Law, Contract Conditions & Provisions, Arbitration Clauses, Stay Pending Arbitration, Criminal Law & Procedure, Standards of Review, Plain Error, Definition of Plain Error, International Trade Law, Dispute Resolution, International Commercial Arbitration, Arbitration, Labor & Employment Law, Collective Bargaining & Labor Relations, Federal Preemption, Primacy of Labor Policy, Entry of Judgments, Stays of Judgments, Admiralty & Maritime Law, Maritime Contracts, Contracts Law, Affirmative Defenses, Fraud & Misrepresentation, Contract Formation, Execution & Delivery, Enforcement of Arbitration, Federal Arbitration Act, Judicial Review, Arbitration Agreements, Insurance Law, Property Insurance, Coverage, Flood Insurance, Responses, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Waiver & Preservation of Defenses, Federal Questions