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In re Scottsdale Insurance Company

Supreme Court of New York, Second Department

June 26, 2013

In the Matter of Scottsdale Insurance Company, respondent,
v.
Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation, appellant. (Index No. 290/12)

Cruz & Gangi (Marshall & Marshall, PLLC, Jericho, N.Y. [Craig B. Marshall, Jeffrey Kadushin, and Barbara Carabell], of counsel), for appellant.

Cascone & Kluepfel, LLP, Garden City, N.Y. (Michael T. Reagan of counsel), for respondent.

WILLIAM F. MASTRO, J.P., L. PRISCILLA HALL, PLUMMER E. LOTT, SANDRA L. SGROI, JJ.

DECISION & ORDER

In a proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 75 to vacate an arbitration award dated September 28, 2011, the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation appeals from an order of the Supreme Court, Nassau County (Iannacci, J.), entered August 24, 2012, which granted the petition and denied its cross motion to confirm the award.

ORDERED that the order is reversed, on the law, with costs, the cross motion is granted, the award is confirmed, the petition is denied, and the proceeding is dismissed.

Contrary to the appellant's contention, the proceeding was timely commenced. CPLR 7511(a) states that "an application to vacate or modify an award may be made by a party within ninety days after its delivery to him." Here, the arbitration award was rendered on September 28, 2011, and the only competent proof in the record demonstrates that it was delivered to the petitioner on October 31, 2011. Accordingly, the proceeding to vacate the arbitration award, which was commenced by the filing of a petition on January 9, 2012, was timely. However, the award was improperly vacated.

In order "to be upheld, an award in a compulsory arbitration proceeding must have evidentiary support and cannot be arbitrary and capricious" (Matter of Motor Veh. Acc. Indem. Corp. v Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., 89 N.Y.2d 214, 223; see Matter of DiNapoli v Peak Automotive, Inc., 34 A.D.3d 674). Additionally, the grounds specified in CPLR 7511 for vacating or modifying arbitration awards are limited in number and narrowly applied (see Matter of Mercury Cas. Co. v Healthmakers Med. Group, P.C., 67 A.D.3d 1017; Matter of Green v Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 22 A.D.3d 755, 755-756; Matter of Domotor v State Farm Mut. Ins. Co., 9 A.D.3d 367).

Here, the petitioner failed to demonstrate any of the statutory grounds for vacating the arbitrator's award. Moreover, contrary to the petitioner's contention, the arbitrator's award had evidentiary support in the record, was supported by a "reasonable hypothesis, " and was not contrary to settled law (Matter of Motor Veh. Acc., Indem. Corp. v Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., 89 N.Y.2d at 224; see Matter of State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v Lumberman's Mut. Cas. Co., 18 A.D.3d 762, 763; Matter of Hanover Ins. Co. v State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 226 A.D.2d 533). Accordingly, it cannot be concluded as a matter of law that the arbitrator's award was arbitrary and capricious. Thus, the Supreme Court erred in granting the petition to vacate the award, and the cross motion to confirm the award should have been granted.

The petitioner's remaining contentions are without merit.

MASTRO, J.P., HALL, LOTT and SGROI, JJ., concur.


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