In early January, www.insurereinsure.com reported on In the matter of the Petition of Ins. Co. of North America, et al. against Public Service Mut. Ins. Co., No. 08-cv-7003 (S.D.N.Y.), in which the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York held that an arbitration must start anew because a member of the arbitration panel resigned for health reasons prior to the rendering of an award. Click here to read this blog post.
On June 29, upon learning that the previously ill arbitrator’s health had improved such that the arbitrator was actively seeking employment, the court granted the plaintiff’s motion for relief pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(2) and (6), and vacated its prior ruling. The court noted that had it been aware of this fact at the time of its previous order, it could have reappointed the arbitrator under the Federal Arbitration Act (9 U.S.C. § 5), because the arbitration clauses in the reinsurance contracts at issue were silent with respect to the procedure to be followed to fill a vacancy created by the death or resignation of an arbitrator. Accordingly, pursuant to that statute, the court reappointed the “resigned” arbitrator to the panel and ordered the parties to continue the arbitration proceedings as they were before the arbitrator’s initial withdrawal. The court further ordered that the subject arbitrator inform the court and the parties in the event he is unwilling or unable to rejoin the existing panel, after which the plaintiff will have thirty days to choose a replacement (or forfeit that right to the court).