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April 11, 2011

The party objecting to an arbitration award has a heavy burden to meet to prevail

The party objecting to an arbitration award has a heavy burden to meet to prevail
Matter of Cherry v New York State Ins. Fund, 2011 NY Slip Op 02797, Appellate Division, First Department

Supreme Court denied Stephanie Cherry’s Article 75 petition seeking to vacate the arbitration award upholding State Insurance Fund’s determination to terminate her employment based on violations of its zero-tolerance workplace violence policy.

Cherry appealed but the Appellate Division ruled that Cherry failed to meet her heavy burden of establishing that the arbitration award was irrational, or in violation of any of the grounds enumerated in CPLR 7511(b).*

Further, said the court, “There exists no basis to disturb an arbitrator's finding because ‘unless there is no proof whatever to justify the award so as to render it entirely irrational . . .the arbitrator's finding is not subject to judicial oversight.’”

Addressing another argument raised by Cherry, -- the award should be vacated due to [the State Insurance Fund’s] non-compliance with the procedures of CPLR Article 75 – the Appellate Division said that she had waived such a basis for challenging the award because she had continued participating in the arbitration proceeding “without objection."

* In addition to the grounds for vacating an arbitration award set out in CPLR Article 75, awards have been vacated by the courts based on a finding that the award violated a strong public policy.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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