Four recent opinions confirmed arbitration awards, in part rejecting claims that the award was in manifest disregard of law. In three of the cases, there was no discussion of the impact of the Supreme Court’s Hall Street Associates opinion on the manifest disregard of law doctrine.
- A district court has confirmed an arbitration award which adjudicated claims relating to underwriting fees allegedly owed in connection with a municipal bond transaction, holding that the arbitrators: (1) properly found an oral agreement subject to arbitration; (2) reasonably concluded that the arbitration was commenced timely; (3) afforded the parties a fundamentally fair hearing by considering all evidence offered; and (4) did not manifestly disregard the law. The court did not discuss Hall Street Associates. Finally, the court found that an award that was not a reasoned award was not arbitrary and capricious. Grigsby & Associates, Inc. v. M Securities Investment, Inc., Case No. 06-23-35 (USDC S.D. Fla. July 30, 2008).
- In an action concerning the collection on a promissory note, a court has confirmed an award over claims that it was in manifest disregard of law, except to vacate it to the extent that the award provided for pre-judgment interest, which was clearly contrary to “controlling Tennessee law.” There is no discussion of Hall Street Associates. Hicks v. The Cadle Co., Case No. 04-2616 (USDC D. Col. July 23, 2008).
- In Remote Solution Co. v. FGH Liquidating Corp., Case No. 06-4 (USDC D. Del. July 31, 2008), the court confirmed an award, finding no manifest disregard of law (without discussing Hall Street Associates), and that the arbitrator did not exceed his authority by awarding attorneys’ fees pursuant to a contractual provision. The agreement called for a reasoned award, and the arbitrator provided a very brief one paragraph “tentative ruling,” with an offer to provide a more detailed award if requested. The court found this to be sufficient, in part because no one requested a more detailed award.
- In Supreme Oil Co. v. Abondolo, Case No. 07-6479 (USDC S.D.N.Y. July 31, 2008), an arbitration of ERISA and Labor-Management Relations Act (“LMRA”) claims, the court held that the manifest disregard of law doctrine was not a basis to vacate an award under the FAA after Hall Street Associates, but that it was unclear whether the doctrine survived with respect to claims under the LMRA. The court declined to reach that issue, however, based upon its finding that the facts before it did not demonstrate manifest disregard of law.