United States District Court, D. Arizona
P. Leonard Bruno, Plaintiff,
Gary Paul Abeyta, Defendant.
G. Campbell Senior United States District Judge
P. Leonard Bruno filed a motion to vacate an arbitration
award pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C.
§ 1 et seq., (“FAA”) (Doc. 1), and
a motion to enforce an existing temporary restraining order
(“TRO”) against Defendant Gary Paul Abeyta (Doc.
2). On May 30, 2018, the Court advised Plaintiff to serve the
Defendant before the service expiration date on July 11,
2018, and denied other pending motions without prejudice.
Doc. 12. Plaintiff then filed a motion asking the Court to
reconsider its May 30 order. Doc. 14.
motion has caused the Court to look more closely at this
matter and the issues it raises. The Court will provide some
general observations, and then ask Plaintiff to respond to
several specific questions.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction over Domestic Relations.
Court has an obligation to determine that it has subject
matter jurisdiction before acting. Plaintiff's arguments
in this matter appear to concern domestic relations - his
relationship with his former husband and related
partnerships. The subject of domestic relations
“belongs to the laws of the States and not to the laws
of the United States.” Hisquierdo v.
Hisquierdo, 439 U.S. 572, 581 (1979) (citing In re
Burrus, 136 U.S. 586, 593-94 (1890)). “Federal
courts repeatedly have declined to assert jurisdiction over
divorces that presented no federal question.”
Id. “While rare instances arise in which it is
necessary to answer a substantial federal question that
transcends or exists apart from the family law issue, in
general it is appropriate for the federal courts to leave
delicate issues of domestic relations to the state
courts.” Elk Grove United School Dist. v.
Newdow, 542 U.S. 1, 13 (2004). In the absence of a
substantial federal question, federal courts lack subject
matter jurisdiction over claims arising out of state family
law. Id.; De-Amor v. Cabalar, No. 14-00272
LEK-BMK, 2014 WL 2812881, at *3 (D. Haw. June 23, 2014).
Application to Vacate Arbitration.
other requests, Plaintiff asks the Court to vacate an
arbitration award. Doc. 1 at 1; Doc. 14 at 1.
The Federal Arbitration Act.
provides that a district court, in the district where an
arbitration award was made, may issue an order vacating the
(1) where the award was procured by corruption, fraud, or
(2) where there was evident partiality or corruption in the
arbitrators, or either of them;
(3) where the arbitrators were guilty of misconduct in
refusing to postpone the hearing, upon sufficient cause
shown, or in refusing to hear evidence pertinent and material
to the controversy; or of any other misbehavior by which the
rights of any party have been prejudiced; or
(4) where the arbitrators exceeded their powers, or so
imperfectly executed them that a mutual, final, and definite
award upon the subject matter submitted was not made.
9 U.S.C. § 10. A court may also direct a rehearing by
the arbitrators if “an award is vacated and the time
within which the agreement required the award to ...