May 12, 2015 Articles

Arbitration Deadlines Are Real Deadlines

By Angela Foster

As arbitration increasingly becomes a popular avenue for resolving disputes, attorneys must be mindful of deadlines that may affect confirmation of an arbitration award. Missing deadlines could have serious consequences on having an award confirmed. In an arbitration case of first impression, a Texas appellate court held that courts may not confirm an arbitral award that was issued after a deadline imposed by a court or the parties' agreement. Sims v. Building Tomorrow's Talent, LLC, No. 07-12-00170-CV (Tex. App. Apr. 30, 2014), demonstrates the impact of filing an arbitration award late on the confirmation of the award.

Rules Impacting Arbitral Award
Section 9 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) permits the entry of judgment of an arbitration award if the parties have agreed that a judgment of the court shall be entered upon the award made pursuant to the arbitration. 9 U.S.C. ยง 9. Section 9 further provides that any time within one year after the award is made, any party to the arbitration may apply to the court for an order confirming the award. Some courts have interpreted the language of section 9 as a mandatory one-year deadline for seeking confirmation of an arbitration award. Under Texas Arbitration Act section 171.053(c), an arbitrator shall make an award either within the time established by an arbitration agreement or as ordered by the court upon a party's application. If an award is not timely made and a party objects before the award is delivered to the objecting party, the arbitrator loses the authority to make an award.

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