J. Don Gordon Construction, Inc. v. BrownAnnotate this Case
Defendants below, J. Don Gordon Construction, Inc. and Western Surety Company appealed the circuit court's judgment on an arbitration award entered against them. The defendants argued that the award should have been vacated for various reasons under section 10(a) of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. 1 et seq. ("the FAA"). After review of their arguments, the Alabama Supreme Court was unpersuaded by the argument: the
arbitrator's failure to recuse himself upon learning the information about a domestic-violence case did not indicate evident partiality. The large award of legal fees against Western Surety –– an award the arbitrator testified was "significantly less" than the amount claimed by the plaintiffs –– did not indicate evident partiality, either. "The alleged partiality at most suggests a 'mere appearance' of bias that is remote, uncertain, and speculative rather than 'direct, definite, and capable of demonstration.' [ . . .] A reasonable person would not have to conclude that the arbitrator was partial given these facts." The Court affirmed the circuit court's order.