On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Ocean County, Docket No. L-812-10.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Fisher and Nugent.
This action consisted of numerous claims between and among the parties regarding, among other things, the ownership of certain business entities. The parties consented to submitting the issues to binding arbitration, and the arbitrator received evidence over the course of eight days, ultimately rendering a twenty-six page decision.
Defendants Daniel Carlo, Anthony Carlo, Karen Carlo, and Lauren Carlo moved in the trial court for the entry of judgment pursuant to the arbitration award; plaintiffs Revolution Marine & Sports Center, LLC, Cartar Bulkheading, LLC, Nicholas Tarsia and Robert Crystal cross-moved for a vacation of the arbitration award. The trial judge heard argument and determined there were no statutory grounds for unsettling the arbitration award and entered both a judgment in favor of defendants and an order denying plaintiffs' cross-motion.
Plaintiffs appeal those orders, arguing that "many claims asserted by [plaintiffs] were not addressed" by the arbitrator and, a fortiori, the arbitrator ignored evidence submitted to him.
As a general matter, an arbitration award may be vacated upon proof of a number of things, including: (1) "the award was procured by corruption, fraud, or other undue means"; (2) the arbitrator was partial or corrupt, or engaged in misconduct "prejudicing the rights of a party to the arbitration proceeding"; (3) the arbitrator "refused to consider," among other things, "evidence material to the controversy . . . so as to substantially prejudice the rights of a party to the arbitration proceeding"; and (4) the arbitrator exceeded his or her powers. N.J.S.A. 2A:23B-23(a). See Tretina Printing, Inc. v. Fitzpatrick & Assocs., Inc., 135 N.J. 349, 358 (1994); Rock Work, Inc. v. Pulaski Const. Co., Inc., 396 N.J. Super. 344, 353-54 (App. Div. 2007), certif. denied, 194 N.J. 272 (2008). Plaintiffs did not assert in the trial court, and do not assert here, that the award was procured by corruption or fraud, or that the arbitrator was partial, corrupt, engaged in misconduct, or exceeded his powers. Plaintiffs argued in the trial court and argue here only that the arbitrator failed to consider material evidence or dispose of claims asserted in the action.
We reject these arguments and affirm substantially for the reasons set forth by Judge Rochelle Gizinski in her oral opinion of April 29, 2011.
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