Skip to main content

JLM Marketing, Inc. v. Stolthaven Perth Amboy, Inc.

2004 WL 1161851 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2004) (Unpublished)

ARBITRATION—It doesn’t matter that an arbitration panel reaches a decision in time, its award is void if, contrary to the private arbitration rules and contrary to an applicable New Jersey statute, it doesn’t deliver a written and acknowledged award within the allotted time period.

A company appealed from a final judgment wherein a lower court had vacated an American Arbitration Association (AAA) arbitration award. The lower court had held that if either party wanted to proceed with a resolution of their dispute they would have to resubmit the matter to arbitration. The company argued that the lower court improperly vacated the award when it mistakenly found that the arbitration hearings had been closed at the time that the AAA published the award.

The Appellate Division affirmed the lower court’s decision. It held that the award was null and void under both current law and under the AAA’s rules because the arbitrators failed to render their decision within the required thirty-day time period following closing of the arbitration record and submission of briefs. The Court acknowledged that there was a legitimate concern that parties to arbitration should not be penalized by a non-prejudicial failure on the part of the arbitrators to decide a matter in a timely manner, but, an agreement to arbitrate under given rules is a contract to arbitrate on that basis only.

N.J.S.A. 2A:24-7 provides that an arbitration award must be “in writing and acknowledged or proved in like manner as a deed for the conveyance of real estate and delivered to one of the parties or his attorney.” In this case, the arbitrators met and came to a decision within the thirty-day time frame, but they failed to sign the award until after the time frame had passed. Likewise, AAA Rule 44 provides that awards should be in writing and signed by a majority of the arbitrators, and should be executed in the manner required by law. In addition, the provision under which the lower court vacated the award, N.J.S.A. 2A:24-8(d), did not require prejudice for an award to be vacated.

66 Park Street • Montclair, New Jersey 07042
tel: 973-783-3000 • fax: 973-744-5757 •