Officially released June 25, 2019.
In Short: (1) Preserve your claims for appeal, (2) do not expect to overturn an arbitration order on plain error or supervisory authority, and (3) If you want counsel fees, go to arbitration.
The Facts: The parties were divorced in 2009 and engaged in substantial post-judgment litigation. In 2012 they voluntarily entered into written agreements to arbitrate certain disputes, including requests for postjudgment attorney’s fees. The arbitrator granted a motion awarding $444,116 in counsel fees to Wife. The trial court granted Wife’s motion to confirm the arbitration award and denied Husband’s motion to vacate that award in part. Husband appealed.
Husband made multiple claims on appeal that the award of counsel fees should be vacated because they did not conform to the arbitration submission, a claim that the award violated public policy, and a claim that the arbitrator exceeded his powers by issuing an award that was contrary to the dissolution judgment that each party should bear their own fees and costs. The Appellate Court Held that Husband failed to preserve all of these claims for appeal because they were not made before the superior court.
The Appellate Court rejected Husband’s efforts to invoke the plain error doctrine and his request that the Appellate Court should invoke supervisory authority to provide guidance with respect to application of the arbitration statute § 46b-66(c).
The Judgment was affirmed.