Pennsylvania Court Finds Respondent’s “Different Reading” of Arbitration Award Need Not Be Raised in a Timely Motion to Vacate, Modify, or Correct

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Middletown Water Joint Venture LLC sought confirmation of an arbitration award finding it had a contractual right to charge the borough of Middletown for certain types of work and enjoining the borough from taking any action to interfere with Middletown Water’s efforts to recover those charges. For its part, the borough did not dispute the award – nor could it, as it did not move to vacate, modify, or correct it within the 30-day limitations period under Pennsylvania law. Rather, it argued that Middletown Water was incorrectly interpreting the award, which, according to the borough, did not require that it forego contract terms allowing the borough to review and approve all imposed charges before Middletown Water can recover them. The court agreed with the borough, finding the award did not address the process by which Middletown Water may recover any charges it imposed under the contract. The court also rejected the argument that the borough’s defense (i.e., its different reading of the award) was the sort that had to be raised in a timely motion to vacate, modify, or correct. As such, the court denied Middletown Water’s petition to enforce the award’s injunction measures, finding any ultimate recovery depended on the borough’s right of approval, which the court found was expressly preserved in the award.

Middletown Water Joint Venture LLC v. Borough of Middletown, No. 1:19-cv-01402 (M.D. Pa. Apr. 13,

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