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Ninth Circuit Holds that Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Govern How to Calculate the FAA’s Three-Month Filing Deadline to Seek Vacatur of an Arbitration Award

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the denial of a petition to vacate an arbitration award because the petition was filed one day late. The court determined that whether a petition to vacate is filed within the applicable three-month deadline under the FAA is based upon the method of calculating provided by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(a). That Rule provides a three-step process: (1) exclude the day the arbitrator delivered the final award (in this case, September 14, 2016); (2) calculate three months from the following day (in this case September 15); and (3) include the last day of the period, unless it is on the weekend or a legal holiday, in which case the period concludes at the end of the next weekday that is not a legal holiday. Here, the court focused on Step 2. The court stated that each month began on the 15th day of the month and ended on the 14th day of the following month, just as “the month beginning January 1 concludes on January 31, not February 1.” Because the plaintiffs filed their petition for vacatur on December 15, when the last day for filing within the available three-month window under the FAA was December 14, the Ninth Circuit found that the petition was properly denied as untimely. The Ninth Circuit also addressed the standard for whether a post-judgment motion tolls the time to file an appeal pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(4). Stevens v. Jiffy Lube International, Inc., No. 17-15965 (9th Cir. Dec. 27, 2018).

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About this Author

 Benjamin E. Stearns, Regulatory attorney, Carlton Fields

Benjamin Stearns’s practice focuses on regulated industries, primarily medical marijuana and property and casualty insurance. Benjamin works with state regulators to resolve compliance matters and negotiate enforcement actions. He also lobbies the Florida Legislature, and has testified before legislative committees.

In addition, Benjamin litigates insurance coverage matters and contests of government contract awards. He represented the state of Florida in an original action against Georgia in the United States Supreme Court over the apportionment of the waters in the Chattahoochee-...