Dinn, Hochman & Potter, LLC

What if I need to enforce an arbitration award?

So many business contracts today include mandatory arbitration provisions, and often for good reason: compared to litigation, arbitration is often faster, less expensive and more responsive to the needs of the parties, But sometimes arbitration alone may not be enough to finally resolve a contract dispute. This can happen, for example, if after the arbitration one of the parties to the proceeding chooses not to comply with the decision of the arbitrator or arbitrators. In such an event, how exactly is an arbitration enforceable?

The answer lies in Ohio laws governing arbitration awards. These laws set out the procedures for what to do to obtain a court order directing a party to an arbitration to comply with the award.

If you need to secure such a court order, you will need to act in a timely manner. You will have one year from the entry of the arbitral award to apply to a court of common pleas in this state, and you must also comply with service of process requirements to notify the party against whom enforcement is being sought that you are seeking such an order. Provided that you have met these legal requirements, the court will then be able to enter an order and judgment giving the award the same legal effect as if you had obtained it through the court in the first place.

Note that enforcing the arbitral award is only part of what a court can do when it comes to disputed arbitration. Courts can also modify, correct or even vacate arbitral awards in certain circumstances. Your business attorney can help you to understand your options if you are involved in a dispute about arbitration generally, or if you need help in enforcing, changing or challenging an arbitral award.

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