October 31, 2019 Articles

Connecticut’s Evolving Jurisdiction Issues in Construction Arbitration

A review of the progressive erosion of the finality of arbitration decisions under the Connecticut Arbitration Statute applicable to disputes between contractors and the state of Connecticut because of perceived deficient notice of claim.

By Raymond A. Garcia

The recently decided case of Department of Transportation v. White Oak Corp., 332 Conn. 776 (Aug. 20, 2019), ended what may well be the longest running battle ever between the state of Connecticut and a contractor over claims arising from a construction project. The construction began in 1994. A second job started in 1997. There have been at least six decisions resolving various issues by courts as well as arbitration panels. The unfortunate element of the litigation was that the contractor won favorable decisions in arbitration or a trial court, but the decisions were reversed or vacated by the appellate courts. The consistent basis for the appellate decisions was the asserted lack of jurisdiction of the arbitration panel to decide certain issues. The jurisdiction issues arose because of a complex notice requirement inserted into the Connecticut statutes that govern arbitrations between contractors and the state.

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