Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Arbitration Clause In Mosque's By-Laws Covers Misappropriation Claims

In Matahen v. Sehwail, (NJ App., March 24, 2016), members of a local mosque sued claiming that defendants (also members of the mosque) misused the mosque's credit card for personal expenses and legal expenses of the mosque's Imam. Plaintiffs also claimed that one of the defendants was improperly maintained on the mosque's health insurance plan after he ceased working for the mosque and his children's school tuition was paid for by the mosque.  A New Jersey state appeals court held that an arbitration clause in the mosque's by-laws applies to these claims and ordered the claims be referred to arbitration. The clause provides:
The board shall create an Islamic Arbitration Committee of 3-5 members in case of disagreement among board members or general assembly members of matters related to the center, such committee shall consist of a Lawyer, an Imam, and Community Leaders. All disputes arising hereunder shall be resolved by arbitration by the aforementioned committee....
The court pointed out that the "general assembly" is the general membership of the mosque, and all the plaintiffs and individual defendants were members. New Jersey Law Journal reports on the decision. [Thanks to Steven H. Sholk for the lead.]