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Posted: July 7, 2016

Arbitral Award Must be Confirmed if Not Irrational

On June 29, 2016, the Second Department issued a decision in Structure Tek Construction, Inc. v. Waterville Holdings, LLC, 2016 NY Slip Op. 05140, discussing the standard for confirmation of an arbitral award:

Judicial review of arbitration awards is extremely limited. A party seeking to overturn an arbitration award on one or more grounds set forth in CPLR 7511(b)(1) bears a heavy burden to demonstrate that vacatur is appropriate by clear and convincing evidence. An arbitrator may do justice as he or she sees it, applying his or her own sense of law and equity to the facts as he or she finds them to be and making an award reflecting the spirit rather than the letter of the agreement. An arbitrator’s award should not be vacated for errors of law and fact committed by the arbitrator and the courts should not assume the role of overseers to mold the award to conform to their sense of justice.

Here, the plaintiff and the defendants agreed to submit their dispute to an arbitrator, and the record does not reflect that the arbitrator made an award that was irrational, or that the award violated a strong public policy or clearly exceeded a specifically enumerated limitation on the arbitrator’s power.

(Internal quotations and citations omitted) (emphasis added).

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