EB Safe commenced arbitration proceedings against Mark Hurley arising out of a business dispute. The arbitrators ruled in Hurley’s favor and awarded him expenses and attorneys’ fees totaling more than $2 million. A New York district court subsequently denied EB Safe’s petition to vacate the award and granted Hurley’s cross-petition to confirm. On appeal, EB Safe argued the award should have been vacated because it was in manifest disregard of the law and/or because Hurley procured the award by fraud through committing perjury at the arbitration.
The Second Circuit disagreed in both respects, noting first that the “manifest disregard of the law” standard is limited only to the “exceedingly rare instances where some egregious impropriety on the part of the arbitrators is apparent.” EB Safe claimed that in deciding Hurley’s fee request, the arbitrators failed to apply the “reasonableness” standard required by Delaware law. But the court found no basis for the argument in the record, and thus found it was properly rejected by the district court. In addition, despite inconsistencies in Hurley’s arbitration testimony, the court found EB Safe failed to meet the burden for vacating an award purportedly procured by fraud. Because the inconsistencies could have been equally attributable to confusion, mistake, or faulty memory, the court found EB Safe failed to show clear proof of “willful intent to provide false testimony.” As such, the Second Circuit affirmed the district court order in its entirety.
EB Safe, LLC v. Hurley, 19-cv-3859 (2d Cir. Oct. 20, 2020)