Arbitrators Are Not in Manifest Disregard of the Law Where Questions of Fact Exist

   

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First of Michigan Corp. v. Mansour, No. 228521 (Mich. App., 5/17/02).

Award Challenge * Confirmation of Award * Manifest Disregard * Exceeding Powers * Undue Means * Attorney Fees.

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Mansour, a customer of First of Michigan, filed an arbitration against First of Michigan and Patrick Jordan, his registered representative. The Arbitrators awarded compensatory damages of $123,940.50, plus interest, costs, and attorney fees of $54,000 (NASD ID #98-00761, Detroit, 3/23/00).

Petitioner seeks to set aside the Award under the theory of “manifest disregard” of the law on several issues. The Court adopted the definition of “manifest disregard” in the Merrill v. Bobker case (808 F.2d 930 (2nd Cir. 1986)), i.e., “the arbitrator appreciates the existence of a clearly governing legal principle but decides to ignore or pay no attention to it.” In each instance, the Court decides that there was insufficient evidence to find manifest disregard. Instead, a question of fact existed on the issues of reasonable reliance and customer ratification. “Because the arbitrators reasonably could have resolved these issues in Mansour’s favor, FOM has failed to show that the arbitrators acted with manifest disregard….” (SLC Ref. No. 2002-22-02)


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