June 06, 2018 Articles

Defining Finality: What Constitutes a Final Arbitration Award

By Christian J. Bromley

An arbitration award "must" be confirmed under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA)—unless a party to that arbitration demonstrates that one of the limited grounds for vacatur exists. Hall Street Associates, LLC v. Mattel, Inc., 552 U.S. 576, 582 (2008). On February 22, 2018, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in Norfolk Southern Railway Co. v. Sprint Communications Co., 883 F.3d 417 (4th Cir. 2018), vacating the confirmation of an arbitration award because that award was not "final" under section 10(a)(4) of the FAA. This decision adds precedent to a notably underdeveloped area of arbitration jurisprudence.

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