Arbitrator Did Not Exceed Powers Or Commit Misconduct.
We see many cases in which a party seeks to vacate an award on the grounds the arbitrator exceeded his or her powers. This is usually an uphill battle, as it was in our next case.
The plaintiff received an arbitrator’s award in the amount of $524,069.86 for architectural services, and confirmed the award. Defendants contended the trial court erred in declining to vacate the award, and appealed. Dighe v. Dutt, B248363 (2/1 Oct. 29, 2014) (Chavez, Boren, Hoffstadt) (unpublished).
Appellants argued that the trial court erred in determining the arbitrator didn’t exceed his powers in granting the award based on a theory of implied-in-fact contract, when no such theory was asserted in the complaint, and furthermore, and also argued that the arbitrator’s act of considering the unpleaded theory constituted misconduct under CCP 1286.2(a)(3). The Court of Appeal rejected appellant’s arguments.
The arbitration clause was brought enough to include claims “arising out of or relating to” the agreement – language broad enough to include an implied-in-fact agreement. And the complaint sought money owed for professional services – a claim not necessarily limited to the written contracts. As for the “misconduct” argument, the Court of Appeal observed, “[a]ppellants cite no authority. . . “