In a case involving a dispute over steel production to replace a portion of the Whitestone Bridge spanning New York City’s East River, a federal district court remanded an arbitration award back to the arbitrator. Under the parties’ arbitration agreement, the arbitrator was to issue a reasoned award. However, the arbitrator’s award was a two-page award with the “arbitrator merely list[ing] various categories of monetary damages without explanation as to how he calculated those figures or determined liability.” Under the Southern District of New York standard, a reasoned award is one where the arbitrator presents “something short of findings of fact and conclusions of law but more than a simple result. Where the award offered no more than the damages, the court found that this low standard was not met.
The court chose not to vacate the award, however. Noting that some courts have completely vacated the award where arbiters have ignored the arbitration agreement and exceeded their powers, the court found that the doctrine of functus officio (once the award is made, the duty is done) was inapplicable. Because the arbitrator never completed his duty, the court found that remand to do so was proper. Tully Const. Co. v. Canam Steel Corp., No. 1:13-cv-03037-PGG (USDC S.D.N.Y. Mar. 2, 2015).