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Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. v. Kelley

June 11, 2009

ALEXANDRIA REAL ESTATE EQUITIES, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
NANCY J. KELLEY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dean D. Pregerson United States District Judge

I. BACKGROUND

ORDER GRANTING THE MOTION TO CONFIRM ARBITRATION AWARD [Motion filed on February 25, 2009]

Respondent Nancy Kelley ("Kelley") is a former employee of Petitioner Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. ("Alexandria"). (Brenner Decl. ¶ 5.) Kelley ceased working with Alexandria on October 3, 2006, and claimed entitlement to severance benefits under her employment agreement. (Id. ¶ 5.) In response, Alexandria filed a demand for arbitration against Kelley, seeking a declaratory judgment, and Kelley counterclaimed. (Id. ¶ 6.)

On December 18, 2008, the Arbitrator rendered a final Statement of Decision and Final Award (the "Arbitration Decision") in favor of Alexandria. Alexandria now moves to confirm the Arbitration Decision.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

In deciding whether to confirm an arbitration award under the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA"), 9 U.S.C. § 1 et seq., the scope of the court's review is "extremely limited." G.C. & K.B. Invs., Inc. v. Wilson, 326 F.3d 1096, 1105 (9th Cir. 2003); Schoenduve Corp. v. Lucent Techs., Inc., 442 F.3d 727, 735 (9th Cir. 2006). The district court is required to confirm arbitration awards "even in the face of [the arbitrator's] erroneous misinterpretation of the law." Id. An arbitrator's decision must be upheld unless it is completely irrational, constitutes a manifest disregard of the law, or otherwise violates 9 U.S.C. § 10.*fn1 Id.

Alternatively, corrections or modifications to an arbitration award may be made where:

1) there was an evident material miscalculation of figures or an evident material mistake in the description of any person, thing, or property referred to in the award.

2) the arbitrators have awarded upon a matter not submitted to them, unless it is a matter not affecting the merits of the decision upon the matter submitted.

3) Where the award is imperfect in matter of form not affecting the merits of the controversy.

9 U.S.C. § 11. Additionally, the court may modify or correct an award, in order to "effect the intent [of the award] and promote justice between the parties." Id.

III. DISCUSSION

The Court has reviewed the parties' briefing, proposed judgments, and the final arbitration award they submitted. Neither party argues that the Arbitration Decision constitutes a manifest disregard of the law or is otherwise invalid, and accordingly this Court confirms the Decision.

However, in their proposed judgments, both parties ask this Court to go beyond merely confirming the arbitration award and to slightly alter the terms of the award. The parties' briefing ...


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