The Third Department determined Supreme Court properly denied petitioner’s request to disqualify New York City’s choice for an arbitrator in this Taylor Law action brought after the petitioner (Patrolmen’s Benevolent Ass’n) and NYC were unable to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement. Petitioner argued the chosen arbitrator (Linn) should be disqualified as biased:
When CPLR 7511 (b) (1) (ii) was … enacted, the phrase “evident partiality” was removed and partiality was made a ground for vacatur only as to neutral arbitrators. * * * Accordingly, the “evident partiality” of a party-appointed arbitrator, without more, is not a ground for vacatur or disqualification.
… If a party-arbitrator’s statements of support for a party’s position were sufficient, without more, as a ground for his or her disqualification, the principle that party-arbitrators need not be neutral would have no meaning. Linn’s statements, although strongly voiced, do not reveal misconduct of any kind or indicate that he will disregard the evidence or has prejudged the issues … . Matter of Patrolmen’s Benevolent Assn. of the City of N.Y., Inc. v New York State Pub. Empl. Relations Bd., 2019 NY Slip Op 06676, Third Dept 9-19-19