United States District Court, D. Arizona
Honorable Susan M. Brnovich United States District Judge.
before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Vacate
Arbitration Award (Doc. 1) and Defendants' Cross-Motion
to Confirm Arbitration Award (Doc. 15).
underlying dispute that resulted in the parties participating
in arbitration stems from Plaintiff Ronald Russ's
allegations against his former employer, Defendant United
Services Automobile Association (“USAA”), and his
former Supervisor, Gary Sherry. In 2016, Plaintiff filed a
complaint in this Court alleging a count of retaliation
against USAA and a count of FMLA interference against USAA
and Sherry. Russ v. United Servs. Auto. Ass'n,
No. CV-16-02787-PHX-PGR (D. Ariz. Aug. 18, 2016). On May 11,
2017, this Court granted Defendants' Motions to Dismiss
and Compel Arbitration, ordering Plaintiff to initiate
arbitration of his claims. Russ v. United Servs. Auto.
Ass'n, No. CV-16-02787-PHX-PGR, 2017 WL 1953458, at
*5 (D. Ariz. May 11, 2017). On August 29, 2018, Arbitrator
Richard D. Fincher issued a “Final Order on
Respondent's Motion to Dismiss, ” granting the
motion and noting that USAA was “entitled to total
dismissal with prejudice.” (Doc. 1 at 101-113). The
Arbitrator found that the action should be dismissed after
balancing factors including Plaintiff's failure to comply
with discovery obligations. (Doc. 1 at 113). Plaintiff then
initiated this action by filing the instant “Motion to
Overturn and Vacate A[r]bitrator Dismissal Decision of Aug.
29, 2018 and Reopen Arbitration Case, Order Removal of
Arbitrator Richard D. Fincher, Begin Case Anew with no New
Filing Required.” (Doc. 1). Defendants filed a
response, which also included a “Cross-Motion to
Confirm Dismissal.” (Doc. 15).
the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), 9 U.S.C.
§ 1 et seq., where a controversy has been
arbitrated pursuant to a valid arbitration provision and the
arbitrator has made an award, the parties may seek to
confirm, see 9 U.S.C. § 9, or to vacate,
see 9 U.S.C. § 10, that award in the
appropriate court. See Hall St. Assocs., L.L.C. v.
Mattel, Inc., 552 U.S. 576, 582 (2008) (“The Act
also supplies mechanisms for enforcing arbitration awards: a
judicial decree confirming an award, an order vacating it, or
an order modifying or correcting it. §§
9-11.”). The Court's “review of the
arbitration panel's decision is greatly limited” as
“arbitration is an encouraged method of dispute
resolution.” U.S. Life Ins. Co. v. Superior Nat.
Ins. Co., 591 F.3d 1167, 1172 (9th Cir. 2010). This
limited review authority preserves due process but does not
permit “unnecessary public intrusion into private
arbitration procedures.” Kyocera Corp. v.
Prudential-Bache Trade Servs., Inc., 341 F.3d 987, 998
(9th Cir. 2003).
Section 10, a district court, in the district where an
arbitration award was made, may issue an order vacating the
award under certain limited circumstances:
(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; see also U.S. Life Ins., 591
F.3d at 1173 (noting that in Hall Street Associates,
“the Supreme Court resolved a circuit conflict and
ruled that § 10 lists the exclusive grounds for vacating
an arbitration award”). “Notice of a motion to
vacate . . . an award must be served upon the adverse party
or his attorney within three months after the award is filed
or delivered.” 9 U.S.C. § 12. “The burden of
establishing grounds for vacating an arbitration award is on
the party seeking” to vacate the award. U.S. Life
Ins. Co., 591 F.3d at 1173.
the terms of Section 9, unless an arbitration award has been
vacated, modified or corrected pursuant to §§ 10
and 11, if a party files a motion to confirm, “a court
‘must' confirm [the] arbitration award[.]”
Hall St. Assocs., ...