Ira C. Wolpert practices law in Bethesda, Maryland, specializing in complex business, commercial and bankruptcy matters. He is a member of the bars of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, and has authored numerous articles on the topic of forum-selection clauses and other legal matters.
In a recent issue of this publication (Vol. 68 No. 2, 2013), this writer discussed two recent cases regarding the “heavy burden” imposed upon a party seeking to set aside an arbitration award. Those cases opined that the award is unenforceable only when the arbitrator strays from interpretation and application of the agreement, when the award reflects the arbitrators “notion of economic justice or his own concept of sound policy” rather than the essence of the contract, or manifests a disregard of the law.
Those concepts were recently applied by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in a twenty-five page unpublished opinion (unpublished opinions are not binding precedents in that court) which vacated an arbitration award because the arbitrator engaged in “linguistic gymnastics” when interpreting a Release between the parties. There was a dissent. Dewan, C.P.A, P.A. v. Walia, 2013 WL 5781207, October 28, 2013.
A Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court was filed and denied. See, Further Proceedings discussed below.