Caridi v. Caridi

In a recent construction partnership break-up case, Caridi v. Caridi, a New Jersey Chancery Judge addressed whether an arbitration award should be confirmed where one of the parties alleged that the arbitrator’s decision was erroneous because certain evidence was not considered. The party challenging the arbitrator’s decision alleged that his former partner falsely claimed that certain documents relevant to the arbitration were “lost,” only to have been later produced during an insurance investigation.

The Court was not convinced that the “lost” documents would have resulted in a different outcome and refused to disturb the arbitrator’s money judgment award. The Court did, however, delay the payment of the award, to allow 30 days for the challenging party to appeal.

This case demonstrates the Court’s reluctance to overturn an arbitrator’s decision. For the prevailing party, this can be comforting. For the party disappointed by the outcome of an arbitration, it can be sobering. Courts are generally inclined to uphold arbitration awards, giving significant deference to the arbitrator’s decision. This discourages appeals, consistent with the primary reason for choosing arbitration in the first place; a faster decision, binding upon both parties, thus avoiding the expense of litigation and protracted appeals.

It will be interesting to see whether the aggrieved party seeks to appeal this ruling or whether an appellate court will disturb the arbitrator’s award.

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