Jones v. Dancel
- Summarized by Ann Brogan , Davey | Brogan, PC
- 7 years 11 months ago
- 14-2160; 4th Cir. July 6, 2015
- In a unanimous decision, a three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit confirmed that judicial review of arbitration awards is “severely circumscribed” and “among the narrowest known at law” and affirmed the judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland that denied a motion to vacate portions of an arbitration award concerning disclosure violations of the Credit Repair Organizations Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1679 et seq. (CROA).
- Procedural context:
- Plaintiffs appealed an arbitration award that granted only partial relief. The arbitrator had found defendants liable for statutory violations of CROA by failing to make certain disclosures to consumers mandated by CROA and awarded plaintiffs $1,948,264 in punitive damages. The arbitrator declined to award attorneys’ fees. Plaintiffs filed a civil action in the district court seeking confirmation of the punitive damages award and vacation of arbitrator's decision to deny attorneys' fees. The district court granted the motion to confirm the award and denied the motion to vacate. Under the very limited standard of review, the court of appeals held that the record below did not support the plaintiffs’ contention that the arbitrator “manifestly ignored the law” or exceeded the scope of his contractually delegated authority, even if it were debatable whether the arbitrator performed the task well.
- Class of plaintiffs participated in debt management programs with one non-profit credit repair organization (CRO) which, in turn, contracted with other CROs for various services that were paid for with voluntary contributions from plaintiffs and participating creditors.
- Judge Keenan wrote the opinion in which Chief Judge Traxler and Judge Gregory joined.
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