Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Chris Lazarini examined this case in which an arbitration award was confirmed under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). Chris provided the analysis for Securities Litigation Commentator (SLC). The full text of the analysis is below and used with permission from the publication. If you would like to receive additional content from the SLC, please visit the SLC website to sign up for the newsletter.
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. vs. Barker, No. 1:15-cv-328 (S.D. Ohio, 2/29/16)
*Under the Federal Arbitration Act, Award confirmation is a summary proceeding and the court must confirm the Award unless it is vacated, modified, or corrected.
**The time for seeking to vacate, modify, or correct an arbitration Award is three months after the Award is filed or delivered, while a party may seek to confirm the Award at any time within one year after the Award is made.
This is a textbook example of how an arbitration award gets confirmed under the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA"). When Defendant joined Merrill Lynch in 2007, he signed a Promissory Note ("Note") evidencing a forgivable loan received from the firm. The Note was modified and extended in 2009. Defendant voluntarily resigned from Merrill Lynch in 2012, owing $298,000 on the Note, which amount became due and immediately payable. When Defendant failed to meet Merrill Lynch's payment demand, the firm instituted a FINRA arbitration. The parties settled prior to the final hearing, and the settlement terms were adopted by the arbitration Panel in the Award (FINRA ID #12-04150 (Cincinnati, 5/20/14)).
Merrill Lynch filed this action seeking confirmation of the Award and entry of a final judgment. Defendant did not respond, and the Court, after issuing a show cause order, construes Merrill Lynch's motion as unopposed. The Court notes that the FAA presumes an arbitration Award will be confirmed unless the Award is vacated, modified, or corrected. The Court also notes that the three-month time period for seeking to vacate, modify, or correct the Award has passed. The Court thus finds that it must confirm the Award and enter a final judgment for Merrill Lynch.