Failure to Move to Vacate, Modify or Correct Arbitration Award within 90 Days of Receipt Mandates Confirmation under FAA

From Desousa v. Jabiru USA Sport Aircraft, LLC, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101046 (E.D. Tenn. Sept. 6, 2011):

Before the Court is Plaintiffs Motion for "Relief from Final Order, Reconsider, Vacate Award/Judgement & Reopen Case" ("Motion to Vacate Award") [Court Doc. 19], filed November 17, 2010. ***

After Defendants applied to this Court for an order confirming the arbitration award by entering a final judgment, the Court had no choice but to enter that final judgment unless Plaintiff moved for the vacation, modification or correction of the award under 9 U.S.C. §§ 10-11. Further, "[n]otice of a motion to vacate, modify, or correct 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. See also, Nationwide Muf. Ins. Co. v. Home Ins. Co., 278 F.3d 621, 627 (6th Cir. 2002) ("a motion to vacate must be filed within three months from the date the decision is issued.")

Significantly, Plaintiff is clearly aware of this three-month deadline to file a motion to vacate but has chosen to regard this time limit as "arbitrary" because "the short timeframe doesn't seem to follow the reasoning often cited in establishing limits in common law," and because he believes that "the judicial branch cannot interpret any legislative law [the FAA] in a manner that sidesteps its own power to enforce the most basic concepts of law of 'fairness' and 'justice'." (PL's Add'l Arguments, 2-3.) Unfortunately for Plaintiff, the Court's power to review an arbitrator's award is significantly constrained under the FAA, as the Supreme Court and the Sixth Circuit have repeatedly noted, and although Plaintiff has chosen to ignore the constraints imposed by the FAA, this Court cannot. See, e.g., Hall Street Assoc, LLC, 552 U.S. at 587; Grain, 551 F.3d at 378.

Although Plaintiff notes that the arbitrator did not file his decision with the Court, the documents he attaches to his motion make clear that the arbitrator was merely sending the award to the Court for its information, not filing it formally through the Court's electronic case management system. Regardless, 9 U.S.C. § 12 makes clear that the motion to vacate must be filed within three months after the award is "filed or delivered." 9 U.S.C. § 12 (emphasis added). Plaintiff himself notes that he received "the award and cover letter back in July of 2009." (PL's Mot. to Vacate Award at 2.) Therefore, assuming generously that he received the award on July 31, 2009, Plaintiff needed to file his motion to vacate no later than October 31, 2009. Because Plaintiff did not file his Motion to Vacate until November 17, 2010, his motion is clearly untimely and must be denied. 1

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