1.10.2006

SCOTUS Denies Review in Case to Resolve Split Re Standard of Review over Arbitration Award

The High Court yesterday denied review in Metromedia Energy Inc. v. Enserch Energy Services Inc., where the question presented was as follows: Should court grant certiorari to resolve conflict of authority among courts of appeals over standard of review applicable to arbitration award when party claims that arbitration panel exceeded its authority by straying beyond scope of parties' arbitration agreement and their submission of issues for arbitration?

BNA summarizes the ruling below as follows: "Courts confronted with allegation that arbitrator exceeded his authority by resolving issue beyond scope of arbitration agreement, or by resolving issue that parties did not intend to submit to arbitration, will review arbitrator's assessment of scope of his authority under highly deferential standard, focusing on record as whole in determining whether arbitrator manifestly exceeded his authority in interpreting scope of parties' submissions; when such allegation is based on language of written opinion in support of arbitration panel's award, reviewing court should presume that arbitrator acted within scope of his authority, and such presumption may not be rebutted by ambiguity in written opinion, but court may conclude that arbitrator exceeded his authority when it is obvious from written opinion."

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