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How Much Time do I have to Serve and File a Motion to Confirm a U.S.-Made Arbitration Award under the Federal Arbitration Act?

March 24th, 2020 Applicability of Federal Arbitration Act, Arbitration Agreements, Arbitration and Mediation FAQs, Arbitration Law, Arbitration Practice and Procedure, Awards, Confirmation of Awards, FAA Chapter 1, FAA Chapter 2, Federal Arbitration Act 202, Federal Arbitration Act Enforcement Litigation Procedure, Federal Arbitration Act Section 1, Federal Arbitration Act Section 2, Federal Arbitration Act Section 207, Federal Arbitration Act Section 9, New York Convention 1 Comment » By Philip J. Loree Jr.
Statute of Limitations, Confirm

Chapter One of the Federal Arbitration Act authorizes courts to confirm arbitration awards falling within the scope of the Act, if the parties implicitly or expressly agree that a judgment may be entered on the award.

To confirm an award is to reduce it to a judgment of the court, which can be enforced like any other judgment. For some detailed information on confirming arbitration awards, see here.

But how much time do you or your business have to confirm an arbitration award that is made in the United States? The answer depends on whether your arbitration award falls under Chapter One of the Federal Arbitration Act or also under Chapter Two of the Federal Arbitration Act, which implements the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “Convention”). Because some arbitration awards made in the United States are completely domestic, while others are not, and different limitation periods apply to applications to confirm them.

If the award falls under Chapter One of the Federal Arbitration Act, but not Chapter Two, then your application to confirm must be made within one-year of the date on which the “award was made.” 9 U.S.C. § 9. But if your domestic award falls under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, then your application to confirm must be made “[w]ithin three years after. . . [the]. . . award. . . is made.” 9 U.S.C. § 207.

Time to Confirm under Chapter One of the Federal Arbitration Act: One Year from Date Award Made

How do you know whether your domestic award falls under Chapter One of the Federal Arbitration Act? If your arbitration award was made under an agreement that falls under Section Two of the Federal Arbitration Act, and the agreement is not excluded by Section One of the Act, then the award falls under Chapter One.

A written arbitration agreement that is contained in a maritime contract or a contract affecting commerce or concerns a dispute arising out of such a contract falls under Chapter One of the Federal Arbitration Act, unless it falls within Section 1 of the Act’s exemption for contracts of employment of transportation workers engaged in interstate commerce. See 9 U.S.C. §§ 1, 2. Whether or not an agreement falls under Chapter One of the Federal Arbitration Act is discussed in more detail here and here.

In some cases it may be fairly obvious that an award falls under Chapter One of the FAA, but in others significantly less so. To determine whether your arbitration award falls under Chapter One of the FAA, and what that means, you should consult with experienced arbitration counsel.

Chapter Two of the Federal Arbitration Act: Three Years from Date Award Made

Whether your United States arbitration award falls under Chapter Two of the Federal Arbitration Act depends principally on whether it is purely domestic or has a connection to one or more foreign jurisdictions, including jurisdictions that are not necessarily signatories to the Convention.

Section 202 of the Federal Arbitration Act defines a very broad universe of arbitration agreements and awards that potentially fall under the Convention: “[a]n arbitration agreement or arbitral award arising out of a legal relationship, whether contractual or not, which is considered commercial, including a transaction, contract, or agreement described in [Chapter One of the Federal Arbitration Act]. . ., falls under the Convention[, and thus under Chapter Two of the Federal Arbitration Act].” But Section 202 excludes from that broad definition agreements and awards that are purely domestic: “[a]n agreement or award arising out of such a relationship which is entirely between citizens of the United States shall be deemed not to fall under the Convention unless that relationship involves property located abroad, envisages performance or enforcement abroad, or has some other reasonable relation with one or more foreign states.” 9 U.S.C. § 202. Section 202 further provides that “a corporation is a citizen of the United States if it is incorporated or has its principal place of business in the United States.” 9 U.S.C. § 202.

Thus, a United States arbitration award may fall under the Convention, and therefore under Chapter Two, if, for example, one or more of the parties is a corporation incorporated and having its principal place of business in a country other than the United States, or if the award otherwise has “some . . . reasonable relation with one or more foreign states.” 9 U.S.C. § 202.

In certain cases it may be fairly obvious that an award falls under Chapter Two of the Federal Arbitration Act, but not so obvious in others. To determine whether your arbitration agreement falls under Chapter Two of the Federal Arbitration Act, and what that means, you should consult with experienced arbitration counsel.

If your United States award does fall under the Convention, then it can be confirmed even if the parties did not in their arbitration agreement implicitly or explicitly agree that a judgment can be entered on an award. That requirements applies to awards that fall only under Chapter One. Compare 9 U.S.C. § 9 with 9 U.S.C. § 207.

It is important to determine whether the Federal Arbitration Act—Chapter One, Chapter Two, or both—applies to your Award at all. If it does not, then state law will govern the award, and depending on which state’s law applies, deadlines for confirming an award may vary.

Finally, if your United-States-made award falls under Chapter Two of the Federal Arbitration Act, it might also fall under Chapter Three of the Federal Arbitration Act, which implements the Inter-American Convention on International Commercial Arbitration (a/k/a the “Panama Convention”). If it does the three-year limitation period of Section 207 applies to an application to confirm an award falling under that Convention. See 9 U.S.C. § 302. To determine whether the Panama Convention applies to a particular U.S-made award, and what that means, you should consult with experienced arbitration counsel.

Please note. . .

Like all of our posts, this post is not intended to be legal advice and it should not be relied upon as such.

If you want or require arbitration-related legal advice, or representation by an attorney in an arbitration or in litigation about arbitration, then you should consult with an experienced and skilled attorney or law firm with a solid background in arbitration law.

About the Author

Philip J. Loree Jr. is a partner and founding member of Loree & Loree. He has nearly 30 years of experience handling matters arising under the Federal Arbitration Act and in representing a wide variety of clients in arbitration, litigation, and arbitration-related litigation. He is a former partner of the litigation departments of the New York City firms of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP and Rosenman & Colin LLP (now known as Katten Munchin Rosenman LLP).

Loree & Loree focuses its practice on arbitration and arbitration-law disputes. It represents private and government-owned-or-controlled business organizations, and persons acting in their individual or representative capacities, and often serves as co-counsel, local counsel or legal adviser to other domestic and international law firms requiring assistance or support.

Loree & Loree was recently selected by Expertise.com out of a group of 1,763 persons or firms reviewed as one of Expertise.com’s top 18 “Arbitrators & Mediators” in New York City for 2019, and now for 2020. (See here and here.)

You can contact Phil Loree Jr. at (516) 941-6094 or at PJL1@LoreeLawFirm.com.

ATTORNEY ADVERTISING NOTICE: Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Photo Acknowledgment

The photo featured in this post was licensed from Yay Images and is subject to copyright protection under applicable law.



         

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