Roussos v. RoussosAnnotate this Case
The Court of Appeal reversed a judgment confirming an arbitration award removing the managing director of two corporations, owned by Ted and his brother Harry Roussos as cotrustees of two trusts, and appointing the director proposed by Harry. The court concluded that the parties cannot contract away California's statutory protections for parties to an arbitration, including mandatory disqualification of a proposed arbitrator upon a timely demand. The court explained that the arbitrator was still a "proposed neutral arbitrator" for the present arbitration under Code of Civil Procedure sections 1281.9 and 1281.91, and under section 1281.91, subdivision (b)(1), the arbitrator was required to disqualify himself upon Ted's timely service of a notice of disqualification. In this case, as the proposed neutral arbitrator, Judge Shook was legally required to make the disclosures set forth in his disclosure report, and Ted had an absolute right to disqualify him without cause. Because the arbitrator refused to disqualify himself, the trial court was required to vacate the award under section 1286.2, subdivision (a)(6)(B). The court remanded with instructions for the trial court to vacate its order granting the petition to confirm the arbitration award, and to enter a new order vacating the award.