In two separate appellate decisions, two circuit courts of appeal declined to overturn orders enforcing arbitration awards where the appellants had challenged the respective awards based on "evident partiality" under the FAA. In Republic of Argentina v. AWG Group Ltd., Argentina contended that there was evident partiality by one of the arbitrators who did not disclose that she at one time (more than a year before the arbitration panel found Argentina liable) sat on the board of directors for a company with investments in two of the parties. Argentina appealed, but the appellate court affirmed, reasoning that the company on whose board the arbitrator sat had only trivial interest in the parties, and therefore, the arbitrator's interests in the parties were insignificant.
Similarly, in Ploetz v. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, an arbitrator had submitted a disclosure report stating that he was currently serving as an arbitrator in two other cases that had Morgan Stanley as a party and that he had served as an arbitrator in eight closed cases in which an affiliate of Morgan Stanley had been a party. However, the arbitrator failed to disclose that he had once served as a mediator in another case, which was unsuccessful, in which an arbitration panel (on which he did not sit), ultimately found that Morgan Stanley owed the claimant $75,000 in damages. Despite this omission, the appellate court affirmed the order denying vacatur of the award. The appellate court reasoned that because the arbitrator timely disclosed the ten other cases he arbitrated where a member of the Morgan Stanley family was a party, his undisclosed mediation of the omitted case represented at most a trivial and inconsequential addition to that relationship. , Case No. 1:15-cv-01057 (D.C. Cir. July 3, 2018); , Case No. 17-2405 (8th Cir. July 2, 2018).
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