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J-Hanna v. Tucson Dodge Inc.

United States District Court, D. Arizona

February 7, 2014

ARIANN J-HANNA, Plaintiff,
v.
TUCSON DODGE INC., et al., Defendants.

ORDER

CINDY K. JORGENSON, District Judge.

Pending before the Court are the Motion to Vacate the AAA Award (Doc. 189) filed by Ariann J-Hanna ("J-Hanna").

Background and Arbitration Award

On December 9, 2011, this Court granted the Motion to Stay Case and Compel Arbitration filed by Tucson Dodge Incorporated ("Tucson Dodge") and stayed this matter.

On June 7, 2013, J-Hanna filed a Notice of American Arbitration Association's Tribunal Award Favoring Tucson Dodge (Doc. 184). Tucson Dodge filed a response to J-Hanna's Notice (Doc. 187) and a Notice of Filing Arbitration Award and Proposed Judgment (Doc. 188). The May 30, 2013, Award of Arbitration ("the Award") states that a preliminary hearing had been held, pre-hearing memoranda were submitted by the parties, documentary evidence and oral testimony was proffered at an April 23, 2013, arbitration hearing, and post-hearing memoranda were submitted by the parties. The Award also states that Tucson Dodge and J-Hanna both made additional submissions following the submission of the post-hearing memoranda. The Award states:

Based on all of the evidence, the Arbitrator finds that Claimant has not sufficiently established her claim to damages; therefore, the Arbitrator AWARDS no damages to Claimant.

Doc. 184-1, Ex. A.

On July 9, 2013, J-Hanna filed a Motion to Vacate the AAA Award (Doc. 189). A response (Doc. 192) and a reply (Doc. 202) have been filed. J-Hanna has also filed a Response to Tucson Dodge's Closing Brief (Doc. 208).

Additionally, J-Hanna has submitted recordings of phone conversations between herself, counsel for Tucson Dodge, and the arbitrator. The Court has reviewed the recordings which consist of two telephonic pre-arbitration hearings. J-Hanna, defense counsel, the arbitrator, and an AAA representative were on the line for each proceeding. During the March 20, 2013, hearing, the participants discussed inter alia procedural matters (e.g., form of order, use of court reporter), scheduling, and issues to be resolved by the arbitrator. During the April 12, 2013, hearing, the participants discussed inter alia dismissal and expert testimony issues.

J-Hanna has also filed a Notice to Submit Technical Corrections of the 1st Affidavit of Sergio Lujan's and Submit an Addendum Regarding the Disabled (sic) Airbag (Doc. 247). J-Hanna asserts the submitted affidavit clarifies Lujan's testimony at the arbitration hearing.

Response to Tucson Dodge's Closing Brief (Doc. 208)

J-Hanna has filed a Motion to Vacate the AAA Award (Doc. 189), Tucson Dodge has filed a response (Doc. 192) and J-Hanna has filed a reply (Doc. 202). Tucson Dodge's response included its Closing Brief from the arbitration proceedings as an attachment. J-Hanna does not state any reason why she could not have fully responded to Tucson Dodge's response (including the Closing Brief) in her reply. See LRCiv. 7.2 (providing for a motion, a response, and a reply). The Court will strike the Response to Tucson Dodge's Closing Brief.

Standard to Vacate an Arbitration Award

A court must confirm an arbitration award unless it is vacated, modified, or corrected as prescribed by the FAA. Schoenduve Corp. v. Lucent Technologies. Inc., 442 F.3d 727, 731 (9th Cir. 2006); see also Kyocera Corp. V. Prudential-Bache Trade Services, Inc., 341 F.3d 987 (9th Cir. 2003), citation omitted ("Under the statute, confirmation is required even in the face of erroneous findings of fact or misinterpretations of the law.'").

The Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA") reflects a strong federal policy favoring arbitration. A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc. v. McCollough, 967 F.2d 1401, 1404 n. 2 (9th Cir.1992). Courts will generally defer to an arbitrator's decisions when the parties have agreed to resolve their dispute through arbitration. See Todd Shipyards Corp. v. Cunard Lines, 943 F.2d 1056, 1060 (9th Cir.1991) ("It is generally held that an arbitration award will not be set aside unless it evidences a manifest disregard for the law.'"); Catz Am. Co. v. Pearl Grange Fruit Exch., Inc., 292 F.Supp. 549, 551 (S.D.N.Y.1968) ("Since one of the fundamental purposes of resorting to arbitration is to reduce the cost and delay of litigation, the role of the court must be limited in reviewing an arbitration award."). The FAA allows courts to vacate an arbitration award upon a finding of: (1) corruption, fraud or undue means; 2) evident partiality or corruption of the arbitrators; (3) misconduct which prejudices one ...


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