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SAN FRANCISCO — A split Second District panel has wiped out a law firm’s $800,000 award in a fee dispute, while the dissenting justice complained that the ruling “makes a mockery of the arbitration process.”

In reversing the award, the majority — led by Justice Frances Rothschild — concluded that the issue of whether the arbitration award was binding was subject to judicial review. “The arbitrators determined that the parties agreed to binding arbitration,” Rothschild wrote. “But it is not clear whether a court has ever determined that the parties agreed to binding arbitration.”

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