FARMINGTON PUB SCHLS V FARMINGTON TRANSPORTATION ASSNAnnotate this Case
STATE OF MICHIGAN
COURT OF APPEALS
FARMINGTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS,
July 24, 1998
Oakland Circuit Court
LC No. 96-531289-CL
Before: Sawyer, P.J., and Bandstra and J. B. Sullivan*, JJ.
Plaintiff appeals as of right the trial court’s order confirming an arbitration award. We affirm.
On appeal, plaintiff first argues that the circuit court applied the wrong legal standard in
reviewing the arbitrator’s award. We disagree. A review of the record reveals that the circuit court
was keenly aware of, and applied, the proper legal standard.
Plaintiff next argues that the arbitrator’s award reinstating Jane Lavine violates a well-defined
and dominant public policy to provide safe and competent transportation to students riding school
buses. We disagree. As a general rule, judicial review of an arbitrator’s decision is narrowly
circumscribed. Gogebic Medical Care Facility v AFSCME Local 992, 209 Mich App 693, 696;
531 NW2d 728 (1995). As an exception to the general rule of judicial deference, courts may refuse to
enforce an arbitrator’s decision when it is contrary to public policy. Id. at 697. This exception is limited
to situations where the contract, as interpreted, would violate some explicit public policy that is well
defined and dominant. Such a public policy must be ascertained by reference to laws and legal
precedent, and not from general considerations of supposed public interest. Id. Here, Lavine
committed a civil infraction, MCL 257.1857(5); MSA 9.3557(5). Although we do not condone her
behavior, we do not find it to be so egregious that reinstatement to her position would violate a well
defined and dominant public policy. See City of Lincoln Park v Lincoln Park Police Officers Ass'n,
* Former Court of Appeals judge, sitting on the Court of Appeals by assignment.
176 Mich App 1, 7-8; 438 NW2d 875 (1989). Accordingly, judicial review of the arbitrator’s award
is not permitted.
/s/ David H. Sawyer
/s/ Richard A. Bandstra
/s/ Joseph B. Sullivan