Challenges to the Arbitral Award - Chapter 7 - AAA Yearbook on Arbitration and the Law - 28th Edition
Originally from the AAA Yearbook on Arbitration and the Law - 28th Edition
7.01 Statutory Deadlines for Submission of Application to Vacate or Modify Award
United Food & Commercial Workers Int’l Union, Local No. 7 v. King Soopers, Inc., 743 F.3d 1310 (10th Cir. 2014)
The employer’s failure to bring an action to vacate the arbitration award within 90 days barred the employer from raising defenses that could have been raised as grounds to vacate the award in a subsequent confirmation proceeding.
An employee filed a grievance against King Soopers based on a hostile work environment. The arbitrator case concluded that the dispute was arbitrable and found in favor of the employee. King Soopers neither complied with the award nor sought to vacate it. After expiration of the time to seek to vacate the award, the union filed for enforcement of the award. King Soopers answered, arguing that the award was unenforceable.
The court ruled that King Soopers’ affirmative defenses were time-barred because they were not raised as the basis for an action to vacate the award within the 90-day limitations period under Colorado statute. [The court nevertheless declined to enforce the award for other reasons.]
The court of appeals cited to relevant precedent and decisions of other circuits in finding that King Soopers affirmative defenses were time barred. There is nothing irregular about ruling that a potential meritorious argument is barred by delay in raising it.
Citations and References:
a. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union No. 969 v. Babcock & Wilcox, 826 F.2d 962, 964–65 (10th Cir. 1987) (refusing to consider the merits of B&W’s defenses because B&W did not move to vacate the arbitral award within the limitations period as set forth in the state statute).
b. Sheet Metal Workers International Ass’n, Local Union No. 36 v. Systemaire, Inc., 241 F.3d 972, 975 (8th Cir. 2001) (refraining from addressing the merits of defenses to an award based solely on the untimeliness of the challenge).
c. Sullivan v. Lemoncello, 36 F.3d 676, 681 (7th Cir. 1994) (holding that Lemoncello was barred from attacking the awards because he had not challenged them within the required time period).
d. United States v. Kubrick, 444 U.S. 111, 125 (1979) (“[it] goes without saying that statutes of limitations often make it impossible to enforce what were otherwise perfectly valid claims. But that is their very purpose . . . .”).
e. James Valley Grain v. David, 802 N.W.2d 158 (N.D. 2011) (motion to confirm arbitration award does not extend the 90-day period governing a motion to vacate an arbitration award).