Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Arbitration Appeals Fail for Lack of Jurisdiction

Judge v. Nijjar Realty, No. B248533 (D2d7 Dec. 17, 2014)

When an arbitration has not yet proceeded to an award on the merits, a superior court’s order vacating an interim ruling construing the scope of the arbitration clause is not an order vacating a final arbitration award appealable under Code of Civil Procedure 1294(c). This appeal was thus premature and merited dismissal. That’s the case even though the interim award might have been appealable under the FAA, because the procedural rules under the federal act don’t preempt state procedures that govern arbitration and because state procedure applies absent an express agreement otherwise. Nor did the fact that the interim award was made under the AAA’s rules make the order appealable. The right to appeal is governed by statute, not the rules of an arbitral body or the parties’ agreement.

Appeal dismissed.

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. The Best Service Co., Inc., No B253861 (D2d5 Dec. 17, 2014)

The defendant unsuccessfully moved to stay this case in connection with an arbitration that it demanded. But—for some tactical reason not apparent from the opinion—it did affirmatively not move to compel the arbitration, which throws a wrench in the appeal. That’s because Code of Civil Procedure § 1294(a) affords appellate jurisdiction over the denial of a petition to compel arbitration, but not from an order denying a stay in favor of an uncommenced arbitration.  No jurisdiction, no appeal.

Appeal dismissed.

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