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question related to arbitration decision

New JerseyRight to Lien

We received an arbitrators decision. Our claim was facilitated through Zlien. The decision of the arbitrator was to deny the lien because no signed contract was submitted. This was incorrect. A copy of the contract was submitted. Is there a way to bring this oversight to the attention of the AAA for correction prior to a formal appeal? This is in regards to 5th Street Residence project.

1 reply

Sep 11, 2018
It is definitely frustrating when a decision is made, through arbitration or otherwise, that seems to contradict the available evidence. If a valid written and signed contract setting forth the scope of the labor or materials to be furnished to a project was provided to the arbitrator, and the arbitrator merely overlooked or disregarded such document, it would be maddening.

Since the arbitrator's decision has a significant impact on the claimant's ability to get paid, by deciding whether or not a lien may be filed and in what amount, it's understandable that lien claimants may not just want to take the arbitrator's decision as gospel. The answer is not, however, for the claimant to go ahead and attempt to file the lien anyway. While the arbitrator's particular findings are not to be used as evidence in any other proceeding, that limitation is itself limited to not apply to "the arbitrator’s determination itself" which is "considered final."

However, the arbitrator's decision is not necessarily the final word - if the claimant wants to continue down the lien path. The potential path forward is set out by § 2A: 44A-21(10), which states:

"If . . . the lien claimant . . . is aggrieved by the arbitrator’s determination, then the aggrieved party may institute a summary action in the Superior Court, Law Division, for the vacation, modification or correction of the arbitrator’s determination. The arbitrator’s determination shall be confirmed unless it is vacated, modified or corrected by the court. The court shall render its decision after giving due regard to the time limits and procedures set forth in this act and shall set time limits for lodging for record the lien claim if it finds, contrary to the arbitrator’s determination, that the lien claim is valid or the 10-day requirement for lodging for record required by paragraph (8) of this subsection has expired."
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