Relying on its authority pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) and the language of the operative contract, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York selected an umpire for an arbitration from a list of ten candidates provided by the parties.

9 U.S.C. § 5 directs a district court to “designate and appoint an arbitrator… or umpire, as the case may require” upon “the application of either party to the controversy” following “a lapse in the naming of an arbitrator… or umpire”. The parties’ agreement further provided that “if the two arbitrators fail to agree on a third arbitrator within 30 days of their appointment, either party may make application” to any “court of competent jurisdiction in the City, County, and State of New York.

Petitioner timely selected its arbitrator and, months later, respondent selected theirs. Following the exchange of lists of potential umpires, respondent “largely failed to engage in the process of selecting the umpire”, prompting the filing of the action. In selecting the umpire, the Court was guided by the requirements of the umpire candidates per the parties’ arbitration agreement. Finding a number to be disqualified and others to be technically qualified but far less experienced, the Court made its umpire selection and directed the case be closed.

National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA v. Source One Staffing, LLC, 1:16-cv-06461 (USDC S.D.N.Y. October 13, 2016)