The Seventh Circuit, in a case involving an appeal from an arbitration award in an NASD securities case, stated that “[i]t is tempting to think that courts are engaged in judicial review of arbitration awards under the Federal Arbitration Act, but they are not” due to the narrow grounds for vacating such an award. The Court affirmed the confirmation of an award entered by a panel based upon a motion for summary judgment by the Respondent after the Claimant had presented his case, rejecting the contention that there was no evidence to support the award. Noting that the non-statutory “manifest disregard of the law” basis for vacating an award is limited to matters in which the arbitrators “direct the parties to violate the law,” the Court deferred to whatever inferences the arbitrators might have drawn from what the evidence presented shows, and what it omits. Wise v. Wachovia Securities, Case No. 05-2640 (7th Cir. June 7, 2006). Since the Respondent had not presented any evidence prior to the decision on the merits by the panel, this case demonstrates very substantial deference by a court to an arbitration panel's determination of facts and the sufficiency of evidence.
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