The three-month deadline for filing a motion to vacate an arbitration award may be tolled by delayed discovery of an arbitrator’s deliberate and material deception as to his credentials. Ordinarily, a motion to vacate an arbitration award must be filed within 3 months after the award is filed or delivered. 9 USC 12. However, this decision holds that the 3-month deadline may be equitably tolled, as it was in this case. Here, the chairman of the three-person arbitration panel filed a false arbitrator resume with the arbitration service, falsely claiming he was a licensed attorney. Plaintiff discovered the deception only 4 years after the award when it read a newspaper article about the arbitrator which disclosed his deception. The arbitrator’s deliberate and material deception which led to his being chosen as chairman of the arbitration panel was a sufficient ground for vacating the arbitration award. There was no way to determine the effect his participation in the arbitration affected the other arbitrators’ evaluation of the case.
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Nelson, D.W.); November 4, 2016; 2016 WL 6543522