CTA1 arbitration decision


This is an interesting arbitration appeal and victory for our Gavin McCarthy.  The issue goes to what an arbitrator can do to clarify his or her decision after it is issued:

http://www.ca1.uscourts.gov/ (go to 08-1679).

Briefly, the arbitrator (Chuck Harvey, and our thoughts are with you, Chuck) issued a decision.  Within 10 days, Gavin and Jo Pierce filed an application to clarify (allowed under the UAA and FAA) asking whether he had meant for our client to recover a $66,000 contract amount.  Chuck clarified, saying yes; Magistrate Judge Kravchuk said that this was a change, not a clarification, so couldn't be done; CJ Singal accepted the MJ's recommendation; and the First Circuit, calling this a "close question," reversed.  There's some good discussion in the decision about the existing case law on what the arbitrator can and can't do post-award.

Arbitration guru Jo Pierce tells me that useful practice is for the arbitrator circulate a draft decision before a final one is issued, so that any mathematical miscalculations or ambiguities can be cleared up before final issuance of the award.  This avoids the need to determine whether the clarification or correction falls within the category of those allowed post-award and, therefore, this type of litigation.

Congrats Gavin.