Lonky v. PatelAnnotate this Case
Where, as here, an arbitrator issues a series of rulings during an arbitration proceeding, a court determines which rulings constitutes an "award" by (1) asking whether the ruling (a) determines all issues necessary to resolve the entire controversy and (b) leaves unaddressed only those issues incapable of resolution at that time because those issues are potential, conditional or contingent, and (2) answering those questions by looking to the specific procedures adopted in the arbitration at issue.
In this case, the parties trifurcated the arbitration proceedings and the arbitrator's second of three rulings did not determine all issues necessary to the controversy and left unaddressed issues that could have been addressed at that time. Therefore, the Court of Appeal held that the arbitrator acted within her authority in modifying that second ruling prior to issuing her third and final ruling that constituted an "award" and the trial court erred in refusing to confirm that award on the ground that the arbitrator had exceeded her powers in incorporating a modification of the second ruling into the award. The court vacated with instructions to enter a new and different judgment, rejecting the parties' further attorney fees-based challenges and awarding attorney fees on appeal to the prevailing party on appeal.