Condominium Sale • Arbitration

Toll Naval Assoc. v. Chun-Fang Hsu, PICS Case No.14-0214 (Pa. Super. Jan. 30, 2014) Bender, J. (15 pages).

Appellant Toll Naval Assoc. appealed from the judgment entered against it confirming an arbitration award arising out of a real estate dispute initiated by appellee Chun-Fang Hsu and a subsequent order concerning the trial court’s management of its docket. The appellate court vacated the subsequent order and affirmed the entry of judgment.

An agreement of sale was entered between Hsu and Toll to purchase a condominium. Following the sale completion, Hsu complained that his property was without a proper parking spot; the parties entered a settlement agreement deeding a parking spot to Hsu. Within the settlement agreement, Toll received a general release of all potential claims Hsu may have against it. In June 2009, Hsu filed an action and requested arbitration claiming the condominium unit was 300 square feet less that the sale agreement required. Toll objected to the action arguing the settlement agreement signed by Hsu waived any claims Hsu had against Toll. The arbitrator issued an order ruling the general release “had no application to the dispute at issue” and, following a hearing, awarded Hsu $94,795. Toll filed a motion to vacate arguing the arbitrator failed to give weight to the general release resulting in Hsu receiving an unjust arbitration award; the motion was denied. Hsu filed a petition to confirm the arbitration award. The arbitration award was granted and Toll appealed.

Toll argued the arbitration award must be vacated because it was denied a hearing on the issue of the effect of the general release. Toll further argued the trial court erred in entering judgment upon the arbitrator’s award as it was “arbitrary and capricious”. Hsu opposed stating Toll relinquished its right to a hearing when it requested that the issue be decided via brief.

The appellate court disagreed with the trial court and held that the failure of the arbitrators to consider material evidence constituted the denial of a full and fair hearing. However, because Toll relinquished his rights to a hearing, the appellate court found no error in the trial court’s conclusion that Toll was not denied its right to a hearing. The appellate court further upheld the entry of judgment stating that the arbitrator was not egregious when issuing the award, and mere dissatisfaction with the award was not grounds to overturn it. Entry of the judgment was affirmed.