Party Waives Appellate Review of Arbitration Award

In a recent case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dismissed an appeal based on the parties’ waiver of any right to an appeal.

A doctor that at one point was associated with Beckley Oncology Associates (“BOA”) filed an arbitration against BOA claiming that he was owed money. The arbitration was to proceed in accordance with the parties’ agreement, which included the provision that the arbitrator’s decision would be final and enforceable in court “without any right of judicial review or appeal.”

The doctor was awarded $167,030. BOA filed a lawsuit seeking to vacate that award. The lower court refused, dismissing the complaint and confirming the award, finding that the Federal Arbitration Act precluded a party’s ability to waive judicial review of an arbitration award.

The Fourth Circuit, following the Tenth Circuit, saw no reason why a waiver of a right to appeal would not be enforceable. Finding a waiver of appeal to be a “compromise” between drawn out litigation and a “one-shot” opportunity to have the issue heard by a court, ensuring that the party objecting to the arbitration award was afforded some measure of due process, was not inconsistent with the Federal Arbitration Act. With that, the court dismissed the appeal.

Beckley Oncology Associates, Inc. v. Abumasmah

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