An arbitral decision rendered under the Labor
Management Relations Act (“LMRA”) may be vacated if the
arbitrator has exhibited a “manifest disregard of law.”
Westerbeke Corp. v. Daihatsu Motor Co., 304 F.3d 200, 208
(2d Cir. 2002) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Judicial inquiry under the “manifest disregard” standard is
“extremely limited.” Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner &
Smith, Inc. v. Bobker, 808 F.2d 930, 934 (2d Cir. 1986);
see also Burns Int’l. Sec. Servs., Inc. v. Int’l Union,
United Plant Guard Workers of Am., 47 F.3d 14, 17 (2d Cir.
1995). To establish manifest disregard, Chelsea Grand must
show the arbitrator made “something beyond and different
from a mere error in the law or failure on the part of the
arbitrators to understand or apply the law.” Saxis S.S.
Co. v. Multifacs Int’l Traders, Inc., 375 F.2d 577, 582 (2d
Cir. 1967) (internal quotation marks omitted).
An arbitrator commits manifest disregard of the law
when the “governing law alleged to have been ignored by the
arbitrators [was] well defined, explicit, and clearly
applicable,” and the arbitrator “appreciate[d] the
existence of a clearly governing legal principle but
decide[d] to ignore or pay no attention to it.” Westerbeke
Corp., 304 F.3d at 209 (first alteration in original)
(quoting Merrill Lynch, 808 F.2d at 934); see also N.Y.
Tel. Co. v. Commc’ns Workers of Am. Local 1100, 256 F.3d
89, 91 (2d Cir. 2001) (per curiam). The rule ignored by
the arbitrator must be “obvious and capable of being
readily and instantly perceived by the average person
qualified to serve as an arbitrator.” Merrill Lynch, 808
F.2d at 933.
Monday, April 23, 2018
Chelsea v. N.Y. Hotel and Motel Trades Council, ____F.3d____(2d Cir. April 3, 2018), is brought to readers attention because it is a recent Second Circuit decision which, once again, demonstrates how difficult it is to vacate a labor arbitrator's decision. The court notes that there is a strong presumption that an arbitrator has not acted in manifest disregard of the law and it will uphold the decision under review so long as there is at least a slightly colorable basis. The court goes on the describe the manifest disregard standard as follows:
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