Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge v. Baltimore CountyAnnotate this Case
A collective-bargaining agreement between Baltimore County and Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 4 (FOP) contained an arbitration clause and a retiree health-insurance provision. FOP believed the provision locked in place the health-insurance subsidy as it existed at the time of an officer's retirement. After the agreement expired and the County decreased the health-insurance subsidy, FOP initiated arbitration. The County protested, arguing (1) it had no duty to arbitrate because the collective-bargaining agreement had expired, and (2) the health-insurance subsidy was not locked in place but was subject to change from year to year. FOP was successful in arbitration and on appeal before the circuit court, but the court of special appeals vacated the arbitration award. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) an arbitration clause may survive the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement when it concerns rights that vested during the life of the agreement; and (2) when deciding the issue of arbitrability requires interpretation of the underlying agreement and consideration of the merits of the dispute, the issue of arbitrability should initially be determined by the arbitrator.