Judge: Martha K. Gooding, Case: 2021-01190146, Date: 2022-10-10 Tentative Ruling

1) Petition to Confirm Arbitration Award


2) ADR Review Hearing

The unopposed Petition by Plaintiffs James J. Jennings, Sladen W. Hall, Robert U. Bill and Mary K. Legate Corn (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) to confirm arbitration award is GRANTED as, and to the extent, set forth below.  In addition, Plaintiffs are awarded $1,708 in attorney’s fees and costs of $76.44 for this Petition.

“Any party to an arbitration in which an award has been made may petition the court to confirm, correct or vacate the award. The petition shall name as respondents all parties to the arbitration and may name as respondents any other persons bound by the arbitration award.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 1285.) “If a petition or response under this chapter is duly served and filed, the court shall confirm the award as made, whether rendered in this state or another state, unless… it corrects the award and confirms it as corrected, vacates the award or dismisses the proceeding.” (Id., § 1286 [emphasis added].) Unless a court corrects, vacates, or dismisses an award, it must confirm the award and enter judgment in conformity therewith. (Law Offices of David S. Karton v. Segreto (2009) 176 Cal.App.4th 1, 9.)

The Court finds it is appropriate to confirm the arbitration award here.  However, the Court has reviewed the proposed amended judgment submitted by Plaintiffs (ROA 123) and concludes it is not consistent with the arbitral award in several respects.

First, Plaintiff’s proposed form of judgment seeks judgment against both defendants, i.e., Joseph Morabito and Patricia Morabito.  Although Defendant Patricia Morabito signed the stipulation to arbitrate [ROA 53], she is only mentioned in the award as Defendant Joseph Morabito’s wife and co-trustee of the Trust. The award does not otherwise mention Defendant Patricia Morabito as participating in the proceedings; it does not render an award against her. Thus, this Court cannot “confirm” an award against Patricia Morabito because it does not appear that an award against her was made by the arbitrator.

Second, the petition seeks an award of 10% interest beginning on May 2, 2022. However, the arbitral award states that 10% interest was to begin 30 days after the date of the award.  The award was made on May 2, 2022.

The Court can only confirm the arbitration award “as made.”  (See Code Civ. Proc., § 1285.)

As for the request for attorney’s fees to bring this motion:  section 12.5 of the partnership agreement provides for reasonable fees and costs for “any dispute between the partners relating to this agreement, whether or not resulting in litigation.” [Petition, ROA 82, Attachment 4(b)]. However, the amounts requested are not reasonable.  

The hourly rates requested are not objected to, and the Court in any event finds them reasonable.  Moreover, the time spent to prepare the motion is reasonable. However, because there was no opposition, the anticipated 4.0 hours for the opposition and reply cannot be awarded.  Moreover, the amount of fees proposed to attend a hearing on an unopposed motion is unreasonable.  The Court finds that the reasonable attorney’s fees for this motion are $1,708.50, and the reasonable costs are $76.44.

Plaintiffs are ordered to submit a revised proposed judgment within ten days that is consistent with this order.

In light of the foregoing, the ADR Review Hearing is moot and is taken off calendar.

Plaintiffs are ordered to give notice.