Third Time is not a charm
Whale Securities Co., L.P. v. Godfrey, No. 565 (App. Div., 1Dept., 4/4/00): When SAC summarized the decision below, 10 SAC 9(16), we set out the facts in detail and posed the question: How would you decide? The question at hand, whether the Arbitrators engaged in misconduct by refusing Mr. Godfrey a postponement, seemed a tight call. The motion court answered in the affirmative, in good part because the reason for the postponement request was a conflict with a jury trial date. The appellate Opinion is short, but it unanimously reverses the trial courts vacatur. For one thing, arbitrators must have the discretion to govern their proceedings. Additionally, this was respondents third request for an adjournment and, while he might have accepted, Mr. Godfrey rejected the representation of an associate from his counsels firm who was a competent lawyer. Finally, the Court pounces upon the motion court for applying a broader than usual scope of judicial review reserved for compulsory rather than voluntary arbitration. An arbitration is not compulsory such as to confer a broader scope of judicial review unless the obligation arises out of a statutory mandate . Here, the parties were obligated by their written agreement to arbitrate the matter.
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