WA Legal Roundup - Div I: Budget's Over-Budget Bids Bounced By Becker (Kudos to Judge Becker for Making this Alliteration Work)
Getting an art award overturned is tough, there has to be an error of law on the face of the award. Basically Budget tank was giving estimates of 20-40 grand and invoicing for 360-640 grand. A little bit of a difference. The arbitrations were consolidated, and the people who were
screwed allegedly given vastly differing estimates by Budget got really good awards.
Budget moved to vacate based on the consolidation, but appealed the final order, including the alleged error. The court agreed that this fell under a final judgment appeal.
(1) An appeal may be taken from:
(a) An order denying a motion to compel arbitration;
(b) An order granting a motion to stay arbitration;
(c) An order confirming or denying confirmation of an award;
(d) An order modifying or correcting an award;
(e) An order vacating an award without directing a rehearing; or
(f) A final judgment entered under this chapter.
RCW 7.04A.280. However, a decision on consolidation is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. The parties were able to explain how their cases met the consolidation criteria in RCW 7.04.100(1), and the court was satisfied that the arbitrator considered those and thus consolidation was proper.
As to errors on the face of the award, the court gave a little bench slap, then gave a BUNCH of reasoning as to why. I won't put it here, you can go look it up:
Budget contends that the trial court improperly limited its review to the last two pages of the award and failed to consider whether the first 40 pages demonstrated recognizable error. It appears, however, that the court simply concluded that the issues raised by Budget were not reviewable. Having considered all 42 pages, we reach the same conclusion.
Side note: Don't think I'll be doing business with Budget (you know, if I ever needed tanks removed). I mean, off by a couple grand I can dig. Off by 2900%? That's a little bit of a problem.