BENJAMIN, WEILL & MAZER v. KORS
189 Cal.App.4th 126 (2010)
116 Cal. Rptr. 3d 677
BENJAMIN, WEILL & MAZER, Plaintiff and Respondent,
NANCY HURWITZ KORS, Defendant and Appellant.
Court of Appeals of California, First District, Division Two.
October 12, 2010.
The California Arbitration Act (CAA) requires that "all matters that could cause a person aware of the facts to reasonably entertain a doubt that the proposed neutral arbitrator would be able to be impartial" be timely disclosed to all parties (Code Civ. Proc., § 1281.9, subd. (a).)1 The issue in
this case is whether this requirement may include business relationships with persons or entities that are not parties or lawyers for parties in the subject arbitration and, if so, whether such relationships should have been disclosed by the arbitrator here.
Appellant Nancy Hurwitz Kors appeals from an order granting the petition filed by respondent law firm, Benjamin, Weill & Mazer, a professional corporation (BWM), to confirm an arbitration award, and denying her petition to vacate that award. The order must be reversed, she claims, because the chief arbitrator failed to disclose business relationships casting doubt on his ability to be impartial, as required by the CAA. (§ 1281.9, subd. (a).)
We agree that in the circumstances of this case the arbitrator's business relationships "could cause a person aware of the facts to reasonably entertain a doubt that the proposed neutral arbitrator would be able to be impartial" (§ 1281.9, subd. (a)), which is all that is necessary to create the duty to disclose them. Accordingly, we shall reverse the order appealed from.FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY