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McHugh Inc. v. Soldo Construction Co.

Decided: January 29, 1990.

MCHUGH INCORPORATED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SOLDO CONSTRUCTION CO., INC., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT, AND WARREN COUNTY BOARD OF CHOSEN FREEHOLDERS, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT, AND INSURANCE COMPANY OF NORTH AMERICA-AETNA INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Warren County.

J.h. Coleman,*fn1 Muir and Skillman. The opinion of the court was delivered by Skillman, J.A.D.

Skillman

Defendant Warren County Board of Chosen Freeholders (the County) awarded defendant Soldo Construction Co., Inc. (Soldo) one of a number of prime contracts for the construction of the Warren County Detention Center. Soldo's subcontractors on the project included Rose Construction Company (Rose). After the project was completed, Soldo presented various claims for arbitration including a claim which Rose had presented to Soldo.*fn1

The arbitrators conducted lengthy hearings regarding the Soldo's claims as well as the claims of other contractors on the project.*fn2 At the conclusion of the hearings, the arbitrators made an award which included a provision that:

THE WARREN COUNTY BOARD OF CHOSEN FREEHOLDERS shall pay to SOLDO CONSTRUCTION CO., INC., the sum of SEVEN HUNDRED SIXTY-SEVEN THOUSAND SIX DOLLARS AND SEVENTY-FIVE CENTS ($767,006.75), which sum includes the following amounts which SOLDO CONSTRUCTION

CO., INC., upon receipt of the foregoing sum, shall pay to its subcontractors as follows:

(B) ROSE CONSTRUCTION CO., ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-EIGHT THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED THIRTY-FIVE DOLLARS ($128,935.00)

The County paid the entire arbitration award except the part Soldo is obligated to transmit to Rose. The parties' dispute as to this part of the award was presented to the trial court by Soldo's motion to confirm and the County's cross motion to vacate the award.

The trial court found that no evidence was presented to the arbitrators to support an award with respect to the Rose subcontract and consequently entered judgment vacating this part of the award. We affirm.

I

The threshold issue on this appeal is whether an arbitration award is subject to attack on the ground that no evidence was presented to the arbitrators to support the award.

It is "generally recognized that the role of the courts in reviewing arbitration awards is extremely limited." Local 153, Office & Professional Employees Int'l Union v. Trust Co. of N.J., 105 N.J. 442, 448, 522 A.2d 992 (1987). Consequently, "every intendment is indulged in favor of the award and it is subject to impeachment only in a clear case." Barcon Associates v. Tri-County Asphalt Corp., 86 N.J. 179, 187, 430 A.2d 214 (1981), quoting Carpenter v. Bloomer, 54 N.J. Super. 157, 168, ...


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