Matter of NYS Dept. of Correctional Services v. NYS Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Assoc.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Justice John Egan
New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association (COPBA) appealed from a judgment granting the state Department of Correctional Services' (DOCS) application to vacate an arbitration award. The panel rejected DOCS' assertion that COPBA waived its opportunity to vacate the arbitration award by failing to challenge the arbitrator's assertion of continuing jurisdiction after a decision was rendered, and participating in the post-arbitration hearing. It noted while a participating party may not later seek to vacate the award by arguing it never agreed to arbitrate the dispute, here, COPBA expressly objected to the proposed hearing in writing, and did not attend the hearing. As such, the panel were satisfied that COPBA did not "actively participate" in the reopened arbitration. It found the arbitrator's retention of jurisdiction exceeded a specifically enumerated limitation on his power, thus, vacatur was properly granted as the arbitrator's authority ended once he rendered a decision. Hence, the judgment was affirmed.