Monday, March 28, 2011

Vacating an arbitration award

Vacating an arbitration award
Westchester County v CSEA Local 869, 270 AD2d 348, leave to appeal denied, 95 NY2d 755

It is unusual for an arbitration award to be vacated by a court, given the limited reasons for vacating such an award set out in Article 75 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.

However, the Appellate Division, Second Department found justification for doing just that after an arbitrator reinstated a union member to his former position after he had been terminated by Westchester County. The arbitrator issued an award reinstating Local 869 unit member Donald Holtum to his position as Lead Technical Assistant at Westchester Community College.

The County challenged the decision and a State Supreme Court judge vacated the award. Local 869 appealed.

The Appellate Division affirmed the lower court’s ruling, finding that the award was irrational within the meaning of Article 75. According to the ruling, the arbitrator’s interpretation of the parties’ collective bargaining agreement was “unsupported by the plain language of that agreement...” thereby justifying its being vacated by the court.
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