A district court in Pennsylvania has denied a motion to vacate a prior arbitration award based on the arbitrator’s alleged manifest disregard of the law, and instead granted a motion to confirm the award in a case arising out of the termination of the claimant’s employment. The claimant, Mrs. Cartwright, contended that the arbitrators committed manifest disregard of the law when they dismissed her Title VII retaliation claim. The Court found that based on the evidence and testimony from the President and CEO the bank which had employed Mrs. Cartwright, Ms. Cartwright’s own efforts to hinder the company’s planned merger could well have been the reason for her firing. While the Court noted that evidence stood both for and against Ms. Cartwright’s claims, this fact did not mean “that particular claim was a ‘but for’ cause of her dismissal.”
Ms. Cartwright also contended that the arbitrators committed manifest disregard of the law when they awarded damages on her breach of contract claim but dismissed an additional fraud claim. The Court noted that fraud claims can be enmeshed with breach of contract claims. As both the fraud and breach of contract claims were based on the same set of facts, the arbitrators had a basis to bar the fraud claim. Cartwright v. Fidelity Bank, No. 2:12-cv-01502 (W.D.Pa. Sep. 24, 2014).