Court Denies Motion to Strike Cross-Petition Seeking the Same Relief as a Petition to Confirm an Arbitration Award

Century Indemnity Company v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, et al. (S.D.N.Y. May 22, 2011)

Petitioner commenced an action to confirm an arbitration award against respondents. Respondents cross-petitioned, but did not argue that the award should not be confirmed. Instead, respondents set forth their account of the arbitration and urged that the award should be confirmed. Petitioners requested that the court strike the cross-petition, arguing that respondents were merely trying to use the action as a public relations device to present their side of the confidential arbitration proceedings.

The court denied the motion to strike the cross-petition. While the court agreed that a court proceeding should not be used as a device to air allegations that may have been otherwise precluded by the confidentiality agreement in the arbitration proceeding, courts nevertheless do not lightly strike materials from the public record. The court noted that when parties seek court assistance, they are seeking the assistance of a public institution and the public has a right to understand the bases for actions by the court.

The court granted the petition to confirm the arbitration award, and denied the cross-petition as moot.

For a copy of the decision click here

Toni Frain and Jefffrey Kingsley