Henderson v. Summerville Ford-MercuryAnnotate this Case
In a matter of first impression, the Supreme Court was asked to determine if an unsuccessful party in an arbitration proceeding could prevent the confirmation of an award by paying the award prior to the confirmation proceeding. Diane Henderson filed an action against Summerville Ford-Mercury, Inc. alleging the dealer made misrepresentations to her when she purchased a used vehicle. The circuit court granted the dealer's motion to compel arbitration, and an arbitrator found for Henderson on her claims for violation of the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act and the South Carolina Regulation of Manufacturers, Distributors, and Dealers Act. Henderson moved to confirm the arbitration award, which was granted by the circuit court. The dealer appealed, arguing the circuit court erred: (1) in rejecting its assertion that payment of the award mooted the request for confirmation, leaving no "justiciable controversy"; and alternatively (2) in applying the provision for confirming awards contained in the South Carolina Uniform Arbitration Act ("UAA"), rather than the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA"). Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded the unsuccessful party could not prevent confirmation of the award by paying it before confirmation.