Closing Out An Arbitration Award (How Not To)

Two contractors concluded arbitration proceedings and the panel issued its award in February 2011. Upon request of one party, the panel amended its award to address outstanding liens, in March 2011. The amended award required certain lien waivers to be submitted in exchange for payment of the $379,939 award amount. Over four years later, with multiple lower court and two Alabama Supreme Court decisions in the rear view mirror, the case is still not resolved. The most recent dispute concerned the starting point of the interest clock, and the Alabama high court has held that one party’s failure to submit all required lien waivers means that interest did not start to accrue until September 2014, instead of March 2011. Plus, the case has once again been remanded to the trial court. One cannot discern from the decision if only one party, or both, have been difficult – maybe “obstinate” is a better term. But there had to have been a better way for both sides to work out the final details. The decision notes objections by the party who was to furnish the lien waivers, that it did not want to do so until it had been paid. And the other side objected to the lien waiver proposed by one particular sub. These are the types of issues that parties and their counsel deal with all the time, and invariably manage to resolve. It is a shame that two contractors in Alabama and their counsel could not work out the final details, and instead have burned through four years and thousands of dollars of additional costs. The case is Southeast Constr., LLC v. WAR Construction, Inc., 2015 Ala. LEXIS 83 (June 26, 2015).

About Stan Martin

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Stan Martin holds a law degree and an undergraduate degree in architecture. He has been involved with the construction industry for more than 45 years, working in construction prior to law school and beginning his construction law practice. Over the course of his career, he has served on boards and committees for organizations including the Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts, the Boston Society of Architects, and the Massachusetts Building Congress.

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