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Hankinson LLP Client Obtains Judgment Vacating Arbitration Award

Ruling in favor of Deborah Hankinson’s and Brett Kutnick’s client, Occidental Petroleum, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision to vacate an arbitration award. The court held that one of the arbitrators displayed evident partiality by failing to disclose that, at the time the parties approved him as a member of the arbitration panel, the firm at which he worked represented the ultimate parent company of one of the appellants in a mandamus proceeding to prevent the deposition of its CEO. The court held that an objective person could reasonably have concluded that the arbitrator’s nondisclosure of this fact was material, and that it created a reasonable impression of his partiality. The court also concluded Amoco failed to prove that if Oxy had performed a reasonable investigation of the arbitrator, it would have discovered his evident partiality. Amoco D.T. Co., v. Occidental Petroleum Corp., 343 S.W.3d 837 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2011, pet. denied).