In a very noteworthy decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court recently reiterated its long-standing support for arbitration and the great deference it ordinarily gives to the factual and legal determinations of the arbitrators. In Kellogg v. Middlesex Mutual Assurance Company (326 Conn. 638), released on August 22, 2017, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court which had essentially conducted a trial de novo in order to vacate an arbitration award. The court said “under an unrestricted submission the arbitrators’ decision is considered final and binding; thus, the courts will not review the evidence considered by the arbitrators nor will they review the award for errors of law or fact.” (emphasis added). The court specified the limited situations in which an unrestricted arbitration award may be vacated: “(1) the award rules on the constitutionality of a statute; (2) the award violates clear public policy; or (3) the award contravenes one or more of the statutory proscriptions of Section 52-418 of the Connecticut General Statutes.”
In holding that the trial court exceeded its authority, the court held that § 52-418 does not “empower a court simply to disagree with the arbiter’s ultimate conclusions on the questions submitted to arbitration.” This decision clearly reiterates that one should not expect to re-try an arbitration case under the guise of a Motion to Vacate.