Bernhardt v. Polygraphic Company of America, Inc.

PETITIONER: Bernhardt
RESPONDENT: Polygraphic Company of America, Inc.
LOCATION:

DOCKET NO.: 49
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1955-1956)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

ARGUED: Dec 05, 1955
DECIDED: Jan 16, 1956

Facts of the case

The case brief of Bernhardt v. Polygraphic Co. of America, Inc. provides the information about the state court hearing in Vermont. In the center of this dispute there was the request of Bernhardt to take the administrative disciplinary actions against Polygraphic Company of America. The reason for such disagreement was the damages for the discharge of the petitioner under the employment contract. On the grounds of the diversity of citizenship, the complaint has been redirected to the Federal District Court.

Originally, the contract has been formed in New York. At that time, both sides of the agreement resided in New York. The agreement ensured that all the possible disputes would be addressed under the New York state law. However, Bernhardt has later moved to Vermont. He expressed the desire to keep doing the job from the new location. In response to his request, Polygraphic Co. filed the motion to the District Court to keep the proceedings in place because they wanted to resolve all the controversies under the New York law. However, the motion was denied.

The Vermont law was appointed as a legislative ground for the provision procedure. According to their laws, the details of the intervention agreement could be changed at any time before the procedure of giving the award would be finalized. Also, the arrangement outlined in § 3 of the United States Arbitration Act for keeping the trial to take the disciplinary action until arbitration was not going to be applied to all possible arbitration agreements. Its influence would only spread the contracts that fall under §§ 1 and 2 of the similar Act.

According to this case study, if the arbitration filing was not reviewed by the state court of Vermont, it would not be enforced by the Federal District Court either. After the complaint would be reviewed by the District Court, the issue of the application of the New York arbitration could possibly be reopened.

Question

Media for Bernhardt v. Polygraphic Company of America, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 05, 1955 (Part 1) in Bernhardt v. Polygraphic Company of America, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 05, 1955 (Part 2) in Bernhardt v. Polygraphic Company of America, Inc.

Manfred W. Ehrich, Jr.:

-- as a matter of the power -- the law of the specific States should govern and --

Stanley Reed:

Before you -- before you -- may I interrupt this to --

Manfred W. Ehrich, Jr.:

Yes, sir.

Stanley Reed:

-- ask you questions, please.

It -- does it show whether or not the petitioner withdrew from his agreement to arbitrate?

Manfred W. Ehrich, Jr.:

Well --

Stanley Reed:

The record show?

Manfred W. Ehrich, Jr.:

Does what show?

Stanley Reed:

Does the record show?

Manfred W. Ehrich, Jr.:

Well, the record shows all the facts and as far as the withdrawal is concerned, there was no formal withdrawal but the bringing of an action amounts to withdrawal from --

Stanley Reed:

Do you take that that's a withdraw?

Manfred W. Ehrich, Jr.:

Yes, Your Honor.

It's --

Stanley Reed:

Would it be necessary for them to withdraw to raise the question for this case?

Manfred W. Ehrich, Jr.:

Well, perhaps we should use the word revoke rather than withdrawal because the action was begun prior to the commencement of arbitration.

In other words, we sued in Vermont, and then the other side would move to the federal court and substantially at the same time, began arbitration in New York and then moved to stay, pending the conclusion of the arbitration.

Stanley Reed:

It began arbitration?

Manfred W. Ehrich, Jr.:

The --

Stanley Reed:

In your time that is here.

Manfred W. Ehrich, Jr.:

That's right, Your Honor.

So that --

Stanley Reed:

If arbitration took place -- it would take place in New York?

Manfred W. Ehrich, Jr.:

Well, it would take place before the American Arbitration Board, and they have an office in New York and -- and one in Boston, and they have provisions in their --

Stanley Reed:

But not in Vermont?

Manfred W. Ehrich, Jr.:

No, but they have provisions in their rules for sending arbitrators out to wherever it might be.

And I assume under that that we could have the arbitration in Vermont which would be more convenient for both parties.

Stanley Reed:

Well, do we have to decide in this case what state law controls?

Manfred W. Ehrich, Jr.:

What state law controls?

Oh, I think so, Your Honor.

Our position is that Vermont state law definitely does control and as a matter of fact, our authorities for that, principally New York cases.