November 24, 2020 Articles

Arbitrator’s Joke Not Grounds for Vacating Arbitration Award

The Southern District of New York refused to vacate an arbitration award for arbitrator partiality, holding that the arbitrator’s remark about the defendant was a joke, not evidence of bias.

By Shira Forman

Did you hear the one about the arbitration award that almost got overturned because the arbitrator made a joke?

In Meyer v. Kalanick and Uber Technologies, No. 15 Civ. 9796 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 3, 2020), the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York tackled the question of whether an arbitrator had manifested “evident partiality” toward the prevailing party such that the arbitration award should be vacated. The court determined that a comment by the arbitrator that the plaintiff alleged was biased was nothing more than an attempt at humor.

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