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December 27, 2011

An arbitrator’s power to issue an arbitration award is limited to those powers set out in the collective bargaining agreement

An arbitrator’s power to issue an arbitration award is limited to those powers set out in the collective bargaining agreement
Matter of Matter of County of Putnam v Putnam County Sheriff's Employees Assn., Inc., 2011 NY Slip Op 09320, Appellate Division, Second Department

In this CPLR Article 75 action the County asked Supreme Court to vacate an arbitration award. The Sheriff’s Employees Association, on the other hand, cross-petition the court to confirm the award. 

Supreme Court granted the County’s Petition and the Association appealed.

The Appellate Division said that “A court may vacate an arbitration award on the ground that the arbitrator exceeded his power only where the arbitrator's award violates a strong public policy, is irrational, or clearly exceeds a specifically enumerated limitation on the arbitrator's power.”

Here, said the Appellate Division, Supreme Court properly found that the arbitrator, in effect, “revised, modified, and altered the parties' agreement, which was specifically prohibited by the arbitrator's powers defined in the parties' collective bargaining agreement.”

Thus, ruled the court, Supreme Court properly granted the County’s petition to vacate the award and denied the Association’s cross motion to confirm the award.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2011/2011_09320.htm

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