United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
G. SCHOFIELD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Goldfarb Properties, Inc. (“Goldfarb
Properties”), Pelican Management, Inc.
(“Pelican”), Philip Goldfarb and Brett Obletz
move to confirm a December 10, 2016, arbitration award (the
“Award”) rendered in their favor. Plaintiff
Jonathan Hernandez does not oppose the motion. For the
reasons stated below, Defendants' motion to confirm the
arbitration award is granted.
December 5, 2013, Hernandez filed a complaint against
Defendants alleging employment discrimination based on race
and retaliation in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and the
New York City Human Rights Law. On March 4, 2014, Defendants
moved to dismiss the complaint, or in the alternative, to
compel arbitration of the claims pursuant to a mandatory
arbitration provision of the Collective Bargaining Agreement
(the “Agreement”) between Plaintiff's union,
Service Employees International Union, Local 32BJ (the
“Union”), and “the Property Owner.”
By order dated May 7, 2014, Defendants' motion to dismiss
was denied, and their motion to compel arbitration was
December 10, 2016, following a four-day evidentiary hearing,
the arbitrator dismissed Hernandez's claims in their
entirety. Specifically, the arbitrator found that
“[Hernandez] was not treated less well than others
because he is Hispanic or because he complained about Mr.
Obletz's conduct or style of management, ” but was
instead reprimanded and discharged for numerous performance
deficiencies. The arbitrator also found that Hernandez failed
to link any allegedly discriminatory acts to any type of
discriminatory animus. Accordingly, the arbitrator concluded
that Hernandez failed to meet his burden to prove any of his
December 22, 2016, Defendants moved to confirm the Award. On
January 4, 2017, Hernandez was ordered to file any opposition
to the motion by March 10, 2017, which he did not do.
Award is confirmed. The Federal Arbitration Act
(“FAA”) governs confirmation of an arbitration
award rendered in an employment discrimination dispute.
See, e.g., Jock v. Sterling Jewelers Inc.,
646 F.3d 113, 121 (2d Cir. 2011) (applying FAA and affirming
arbitration award in employment discrimination case);
McQueen-Starling v. UnitedHealth Grp., Inc., 654
F.Supp.2d 154, 160 (S.D.N.Y. 2009) (same). Ordinarily,
confirmation of an arbitration decision is “a summary
proceeding that merely makes what is already a final
arbitration award a judgment of the court.”
Citigroup, Inc. v. Abu Dhabi Inv. Auth., 776 F.3d
126, 132 (2d Cir. 2015). The Court “must grant [a
request to confirm a decision] unless the award is vacated,
modified, or corrected.” D.H. Blair & Co., v.
Gottdiener, 462 F.3d 95, 110 (2d Cir. 2006) (quoting 9
U.S.C. § 9) (internal quotation marks omitted).
“The arbitrator's rationale for an award need not
be explained, and the award should be confirmed if a ground
for the arbitrator's decision can be inferred from the
facts of the case.” Id. (internal quotation
marks omitted). A “barely colorable”
justification for the arbitrator's decision is sufficient
to meet this standard. Id.
the FAA, the losing party in an arbitration proceeding has
three months to move for vacatur or modification of the
arbitration award following the proceeding. See 9
U.S.C. § 12. “When the three month limitations
period has run without vacation of the arbitration award, the
successful party has a right to assume the award is valid and
untainted, and to obtain its confirmation in a summary
proceeding.” Florasynth, Inc. v. Pickholz, 750
F.2d 171, 177 (2d Cir. 1984). Generally, “a district
court should treat an unanswered . . . petition to confirm .
. . as an unopposed motion for summary judgment.”
D.H. Blair, 462 F.3d at 110.
the three-month limitations period for challenging the Award
expired on March 10, 2017. Hernandez did not move to vacate
or modify the Award before that date. However, “when
ruling on [an unopposed] motion to confirm an arbitration
award, the court cannot base the entry of summary judgment on
the mere fact that the motion was unopposed, but, rather,
must consider the merits of the motion.” Trustees
of the UNITE HERE Nat'l Health Fund v. JY Apparels,
Inc., 535 F.Supp.2d 426, 428-29 (S.D.N.Y. 2008).
motion to confirm has merit. The arbitrator's finding is
not disputed, and is supported by the record before the
arbitrator at the time she made her decision. Therefore, as
there are “no material issue[s] of fact remain[ing] for
trial” and the “arbitrator's decision can be
inferred from the facts of the case, ” Defendants are
entitled to summary confirmation of the Award. D.H.
Blair, 462 F.3d at 110; see also, e.g.,
Nat'l Health Fund, 535 F.Supp.2d at 429
(confirming arbitration award where “respondents have
offered no opposition and have not raised any questions of
fact, ” “arbitrator sufficiently justified his
conclusion” based on audit of respondent's payroll
records conducted by petitioner and there was no evidence of
improper action by arbitrator).
foregoing reasons, Defendants Goldfarb Properties, Inc.,
Pelican Management, Inc., Philip Goldfarb and Brett