The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined that the master arbitrator’s award in this no-fault insurance, fraudulent incorporation case should not have been vacated:
“[A]n arbitrator’s rulings, unlike a trial court’s, are largely unreviewable” … . A court reviewing the award of a master arbitrator is limited to the grounds set forth in CPLR article 75, which include, in this compulsory arbitration, the question of whether the determination had evidentiary support, was rational, or had a plausible basis … . Notably, the master arbitrator’s review power is broader than that of the courts’ because it includes the power to review for errors of law … . In contrast, the courts “generally will not vacate an arbitrator’s award where the error claimed is the incorrect application of a rule of substantive law, unless it is so irrational as to require vacatur” … .
Here, since Country-Wide submitted evidence tending to support its fraudulent incorporation defense, it cannot be said that the determination of the master arbitrator affirming the original arbitrator’s award lacked evidentiary support. Nor can it be said that the determination to affirm the original arbitrator, who supported her determination with reasons based on the evidence, lacked a rational basis. Thus, even if it was an error of law to conclude that Country-Wide proved its defense as a matter of law … . Matter of Acuhealth Acupuncture, P.C. v Country-Wide Ins. Co., 2019 NY Slip Op 07246, Second Dept 10-9-19