Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

MEMORANDUM This is a petition seeking to confirm an arbitration award, pursuant to CPLR 7510, and enter judgment, pursuant to CPLR 7514; and cross motion by respondent seeking to vacate and/or modify said arbitration award, pursuant to CPLR 7511. The arbitration award was granted in a dispute over investments, by a panel organized under the auspices of Beth Din of America, pursuant to an agreement entered into, in writing, between the parties in December 2018. A hearing was conducted on June 26 2019, which petitioner attended, but respondent did not. In August 2019, an award was made in favor of petitioner in the amount of $356,277.75. Petitioner, herein, commenced this court proceeding by the filing of a petition to confirm the arbitration award, and served respondent on or about July 17, 2020. On or about October 13, 2020, respondent answered the petition, opposed the relief requested, and cross moved to either “vacate and/or modify” the award. CPLR 7510 states that in order to confirm an arbitration award, a special proceeding must be commenced “within one year” from the delivery of the award to the moving party, which action was complied with herein. Such an award shall be confirmed, unless the respondent proffers grounds for vacatur, under CPLR 7511, or modification, under CPLR 7509 (see Reisman, Perez & Reisman, LLP v. Prakash, 64 AD3d 602 [2d Dept 2009]; Allstate Ins. Co. v. Dental Health Care, P.C., 24 AD3d 437 [2d Dept 2005]). In such an instance, the court is bound by the arbitrators’ factual findings, interpretation of the contract, and judgment concerning remedies, and the resulting award is not subject to judicial review for errors of law or fact (see Matter of New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Ass’n. v. State of New York, 94 NY2d 321 [1999]; Dedvukaj v. Shkreli, 180 AD3d 890 [2d Dept 2020]; Matter of Matra Bldg. Corp. v. Kucker, 2 AD3d 732 [2d Dept 2003]). Pursuant to CPLR 7511 (b) (1), an arbitration award may be vacated on the application of a party who participated in the arbitration, only if the party was prejudiced by either (1) corruption, fraud, or misconduct in procuring the award, (2) partiality of a supposedly neutral arbitrator appointed, (3) an arbitrator who exceeded his powers, or (4) the failure to follow procedures provided by Art. 75 (see Matter of J-K Apparel Sales Co., Inc. v. Esposito, 189 AD3d 1045 [2d Dept 2020]; Matter of Soliman v. Suffolk County Dept. of Public Works, 155 AD3d 1049 [2d Dept 2017]; Matter of Matra Bldg. Corp. v. Kucker, 2 AD3d 732). “Judicial review of arbitration awards is extremely limited” (Kotlyar v. Khlebopros, 176 AD3d 793, 795 [2d Dept 2019], quoting Wien & Malkin, LLP v. Helmsley-Spear, Inc., 6 NY3d 471, 474 [2006]). The party seeking to overturn an arbitration award bears a heavy burden, and “must establish a ground for vacatur by clear and convincing evidence” (Matter of Subway Surface Supervisors Assn. v. New York City Tr. Auth., 153 AD3d 1264, 1265 [2d Dept 2017], quoting Matter of Kirchhoff-Consigli Constr. Mgt., LLC v. Mechtronics Corp., 144 AD3d 682, 683 [2d Dept 2016]; see Matter of City of Middleton v. Weissinger, 188 AD3d 670 [2d Dept 2020]). Initially, respondent contends that the award should be vacated because he “did not fully comprehend and understand the nature of the Beth Din proceeding or the ramifications of his agreement to participate in the arbitration;” that he was “coerced” into entering the arbitration agreement in the first instance; and that he desired to “mediate” the disagreement, not “arbitrate” it. However, the evidence submitted demonstrates that respondent willingly complied, on multiple occasions, with requests to further the scheduling of this arbitration, including his successfully negotiating convenient hearing dates; that when offered several opportunities to engage in mediation, as he requested, he refused such offers; and that respondent had, himself, successfully participated in an arbitration proceeding prior to this one. Further, in one of his many emails exchanged with Beth Din of America during the six-plus month proceedings leading up to the arbitration hearing, respondent asserted that petitioner’s alleged complaint to the Better Business Bureau, made four days after the parties signed the agreement to arbitrate, was “clearly in breach of section 5 of such arbitration agreement” — an observation that would not be expected from one who “did not…comprehend and understand…the ramifications of his agreement to participate in the arbitration.” Additionally, although he claimed he was “coerced” into signing the agreement, such claim was belied by the fact that he thanked Beth Din of America for agreeing to assist the parties in resolving the disagreement, and that he stated, in June 2019, weeks before the hearing was held, and in response to petitioner’s complaint to the BBB, that “[i]f I had known that Jeffrey would not be seeking to resolve this matter through Beth Din of America, then I would not have signed that paper,” indicating that he was, at that late date, still in favor of an arbitration, but for petitioner’s recent complaint. As such, respondent has failed to convince the court that his signature was coerced, or that he did not know what he was getting into when he agreed to arbitration herein. Respondent’s claim that “public policy,” permitting protection to the rights of the mentally infirm, provides him with a proverbial “sword” in this instance, rather than providing a “shield” to petitioner, and that it was “misconduct” by petitioner to not tell the arbitrators of respondent’s “mental illness,” is without merit. The cited case of Vinokur v. Balzaretti, 62 AD2d 990 (2d Dept 1998), properly, and logically, featured the movant as the “wronged” party seeking vacatur of the award, and not the protagonist, as here. All of the progeny of Vinokur have the same “wronged party” asking for the relief, not the party who deprived the others of their money. Further, respondent’s assertion that such “policy is reflected in…numerous statutes, civil, administrative, and criminal,” cites to only a single criminal source, and no civil statute. Thus, contrary to respondent’s allegation that his signature on the arbitration agreement should not authorize his consent to such arbitration process, respondent never, through counsel or personally, rescinded such signature, and such claim is without merit herein. As such, there existed herein a valid agreement to arbitrate, pursuant to CPLR 7511 (b) (1) (ii), although even the “absence of agreement to arbitrate is not a basis upon which…a person who has been served with a notice of intention to arbitrate…may seek vacatur of award” (Lurie v. Sobus, 289 AD2d 518 [2d Dept 2001]). Any allegation that the arbitration award exceeded the arbitrator’s powers fails, as an award is “irrational only if there is no proof whatever to justify the award” (Susan B. Settenbrino, P.C. v. Barroga-Hayes, 89 AD3d 1094, 1094 [2d Dept 2011]). Such is not the case herein. While respondent correctly states that the court may examine whether the procedures followed in the arbitration complied with due process, he fails to raise any credible violation of due process herein. Finally, an arbitration award will not vacated on claims of bias unless the movant demonstrates, by clear and convincing evidence, that “the rights of that party were prejudiced by…partiality of an arbitrator appointed as a neutral” (CPLR 7511 (b) (1) (ii); see Matter of 645 First Ave. Manhattan v. Kalisch-Jarcho, Inc., 220 AD2d 517, 517 [2d Dept 1995]). The mere inference/suggestion of partiality is insufficient to warrant interference with the arbitrators’ award. Absent a showing of substantial apparent conflict of interest, respondent must demonstrate actual prejudice or partriality to be entitled to overturn an award (see Matter of Public Empls. Fedn. (State of New York), 191 AD2d 569 [2d Dept 1993]). In the case at bar, the allegations of partiality/bias are merely conclusory in nature, and not factually supported by the record, and respondent has failed to demonstrate, by clear and convincing evidence, the existence of any of the enumerated grounds for vacating the award of the Beth Din, pursuant to CPLR 7511 (b) (1). Also, respondent has failed to address any basis for a modification of the arbitration award, warranting the denial of his cross motion. As respondent has failed to rebut petitioner’s entitlement to confirm the subject arbitration award, such relief is granted to petitioner (CPLR 7511 [e]). Respondent’s remaining contentions and arguments are either without merit, or need not be addressed, in light of the foregoing determinations. Accordingly, the petition is granted and the cross motion is denied. Submit Order/Judgment. Dated: May 4, 2021

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.

More From ALM

Premium Subscription

With this subscription you will receive unlimited access to high quality, online, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry. This is perfect for attorneys licensed in multiple jurisdictions or for attorneys that have fulfilled their CLE requirement but need to access resourceful information for their practice areas.
View Now

Team Accounts

Our Team Account subscription service is for legal teams of four or more attorneys. Each attorney is granted unlimited access to high quality, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry along with administrative access to easily manage CLE for the entire team.
View Now

Bundle Subscriptions

Gain access to some of the most knowledgeable and experienced attorneys with our 2 bundle options! Our Compliance bundles are curated by CLE Counselors and include current legal topics and challenges within the industry. Our second option allows you to build your bundle and strategically select the content that pertains to your needs. Both options are priced the same.
View Now

Legalweek(year) 2021

February 02, 2021 - July 14, 2021

Legalweek(year) will bring together thousands of legal professionals for a series of 5 innovative virtual legal events.


New York Legal Awards 2021

October 21, 2021
New York, NY

The New York Law Journal honors attorneys and judges who have made a remarkable difference in the legal profession in New York.


Dispute Resolution Forum 2021

June 16, 2021

Legal professionals from In-House, Private Practice and the Bar work together to overcome challenges facing dispute resolution.


Financial Services Associate

Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Squire Patton Boggs is currently seeking an experienced, detail-oriented and highly motivated Associate in the Debt Finance segment of our F...

Apply Now ›

Attorney - LItigation - INHOUSE

Washington D.C., District of Columbia, United States

PERMANENT/FULL-TIME:    Come join a thriving company in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC!     The company's l...

Apply Now ›


Dallas, Texas, United States

Our client, a large privately held health care system, is seeking a Deputy General Counsel to support its large physician group. Candidate m...

Apply Now ›




View Announcement ›



GILL & CHAMAS Congratulations to our partner and friend,DAVID H. LANDE, ESQ on his appointment to Judge in the Division of Workers Compensation.

View Announcement ›



Please to announce that....

View Announcement ›