In a case involving an arbitration award in a labor dispute, a federal district court in the Eighth Circuit recently questioned whether the “manifest disregard of the law” ground for vacating an arbitration award continues to exist under the Labor-Management Relations Act. The case concerned an arbitration regarding the company’s procedures for evaluating whether an injured employee was physically able to return to work. The arbitrator found in favor of the employee, determining that the procedure employed by the company concerning this employee was inconsistent with its past practices with other employees. The company claimed that its actions were consistent with its collective bargaining agreement and with federal law, and moved to vacate the award as a “manifest disregard” under the LMRA and the Federal Arbitration Act. In upholding the arbitration award, the court recognized that in the Eighth Circuit, “manifest disregard” is no longer a valid basis for vacating an arbitration award under the FAA, and “even if this ground for vacatur survives in LMRA cases,” the arbitrator at worst incorrectly applied the applicable law, rather than refused to apply it. Breckenridge O’Fallon, Inc. v. Teamsters Union Local No. 682, Case No. 4:09CV2005 (USDC E.D. Mo. Jan. 24, 2011).
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Manifest disregard of the law under the Labor-Management Relations Act questioned in the Eighth Circuit
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