Wachovia Securities, LLC v. Brand, II

Wachovia appealed from the district court's refusal to vacate an arbitration award entered against it after it sued several former employees on what the arbitrators determined were frivolous claims. Wachovia argued that the arbitrators violated section 10(a)(3) of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 10(a)(3), and "manifestly disregarded" the law when they awarded attorneys' fees and costs under the South Carolina Frivolous Civil Proceedings Act (FCPA), S.C. Code Ann. 15-36-10. The court held that arbitrators have broad discretion to set applicable procedure and the court would not overturn an award for violating section 10(a)(3)'s protection against "any other misbehavior by which the rights of any party have been prejudiced" where the arbitrators attempted to address the one party's unhappiness with the fairness of the hearing and that party refused to take advantage of the opportunity provided. The court could not hold that the arbitrators manifestly disregarded the law when they awarded the attorneys' fees and costs where, in this case, the court found whether the arbitrators erred by not applying the FCPA's procedural requirements was a question that was itself not clearly defined and was subject to debate. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed. View "Wachovia Securities, LLC v. Brand, II" on Justia Law