First State Ins. Co. v. Nat’l Cas. Co., No. 14-1644 (1st Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
First State Insurance Company and New England Reinsurance Corporation (collectively, First State) entered into several reinsurance and retrocession agreements with a reinsurer, National Casualty Company (National). First State demanded arbitration under eight of these agreements to resolve disputes about billing disputes and the interpretation of certain contract provisions relating to payment of claims. The arbitrators handed down a contract interpretation award that established a payment protocol under the agreements. First State filed a petition pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act to confirm the contract interpretation award, and National filed a cross-petition to vacate the award. A federal district court summarily confirmed both the contract interpretation award and the final arbitration award. After noting that “a federal court’s authority to defenestrate an arbitration award is extremely limited,” the First Circuit affirmed, holding that the arbitrators “even arguably” construed the underlying agreements and, thus, acted within the scope of their contractually delineated powers in confirming the contract interpretation award.