99 Commercial Street, Inc. v. Goldberg – Case Brief Summary (Federal Court)

In 99 Commercial Street, Inc. v. Goldberg (S.D. N.Y. 1993) 811 F. Supp. 900, a representative of the plaintiff-investor deposited about $ 1 million in a commercial account with the defendant's clearing house, Bear Stearns & Co. Apparently no agreement was signed, or at least none was produced, in connection with that account. However, a week later, other representatives of the plaintiff signed a standard Bear Stearns Customer Agreement for another account, called the "Escrow Account." That agreement contained a provision that "the terms and conditions hereof, including the arbitration provision, shall be applicable to all matters between or among any of you, your broker, or Bear Stearns." ( Id. at p. 903.)

After significant account losses, the plaintiff investor sued in federal court to be met, of course, with a demand for arbitration regarding both accounts. The court so ordered, stating: ". . . Plaintiffs must also submit their Commercial Account claims to arbitration because the Escrow Account Customer Agreement explicitly requires arbitration of disputes involving all of a customer's accounts 'whether entered prior to, on or subject to the date hereof.' The escrow agents acted for Plaintiffs and the plain meaning of the agreement they signed for Plaintiffs binds the Plaintiffs to arbitration of all of their account transactions with Bear Stearns and their brokers, regardless of when an account was opened." ( Id. at p. 907.)