Recently, Schorr Law obtained an arbitration award in favor of its clients in connection with a residential real estate dispute. Today’s blog post is about what a prevailing party should do following issuance of an arbitration award so that the arbitration award can be enforced like a judgment.
Unlike a judgment obtained during court proceedings, an arbitrator’s award is not directly enforceable. Until confirmed or vacated by court proceedings, an arbitration award has no more force or effect than a contract in writing between the parties to the arbitration. (Code Civ. Proc. § 1287.6; Loeb v. Record (2008) 162 Cal.App.4th 431, 449.) When the parties voluntarily comply with an award, there usually is no need for further judicial proceedings. However, if the losing party refuses to comply with the award, in order to invoke ordinary judgment enforcement procedures, the prevailing party must bring a petition to confirm the award and enter judgment based thereon. In addition, to assure parties cannot later bring claims that have already been litigated in the arbitration, it is prudent to confirm the award even if the parties voluntarily comply
The procedure by which the prevailing party obtains an enforceable judgment is a petition to confirm the award. (Code Civ. Proc. § 1286.) If a court action filed in connection with the arbitration is not already pending, a party can initiate new proceedings to confirm the arbitration award by filing a petition to confirm the award. The petition to confirm must be filed in the superior court of the county where the arbitration was held, subject to certain exceptions. (Code Civ. Proc. § 1292, 1292.2.)
Under California law, a petition to confirm an award must be served and filed at least 10 days, and no later than 4 years, after service of the award on the petitioner. (Code Civ. Proc. §§ 1288, 1288.4.) In other words, if you want to convert your arbitration award into a judgment, you must file your petition to confirm within 4 years after the date the award was served. Accordingly, upon receipt of your arbitration award, it is important to determine and calendar the last day to file a petition to confirm the same to make sure you do not miss your deadline to do so.
Schorr Law has experience with arbitrations and the judicial proceedings involved post-arbitration. We know each step of the process from initiating an arbitration complaint to obtaining an arbitration award. By knowing each step we are able to efficiently guide our clients towards an enforceable award. For more information on a free consultation, regarding arbitration or confirming and enforcing an arbitration award, please contact us at (310) 954-1877 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Stephanie Goldstein, esq.