Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Case of the Day: Castro v. Tri Marine Fish Co. LLC, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 10961 (9th Cir. Apr. 15, 2019)

Summary:

Plaintiff is a sailor from the Philippines who worked as a deck hand for a fishing boat owned by the defendant. While working, the plaintiff fell and severely injured his knee. The plaintiff and the defendant entered into a settlement agreement, which contained an arbitration agreement. Immediately after entering into the settlement, the plaintiff was taken to a building next door where an impromptu arbitration was held. Later, the plaintiff discovered he needed additional treatment for the knee and sued the defendant, who moved to confirm the arbitral award. The district court confirmed the order and dismissed the case.

The Ninth Circuit reversed. The court first found there was no dispute to arbitrate, as the plaintiff and the defendant initially settled the matter. The court also found the arbitration did not occur pursuant to the agreed-upon manner, including Philippine arbitral procedure, and accordingly there was no "consent award" to be enforced. 

Takeaway:

Amazing--a court in the United States actually declined to enforce an arbitral award based on the lack of proper procedure! I was always wondered what kind of kangaroo proceedings it would take for a US court to decide this way. This sham of an award was the winner, although it took an appeal to the Ninth Circuit to get this win.

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