Refusal to Grant Adjournment

Third Time is not a charm

Whale Securities Co., L.P. v. Godfrey, No. 565 (App. Div., 1Dept., 4/4/00): When SAC summarized the decision below, 10 SAC 9(16), we set out the facts in detail and posed the question: “How would you decide?” The question at hand, whether the Arbitrators engaged in misconduct by refusing Mr. Godfrey a postponement, seemed a tight call. The motion court answered in the affirmative, in good part because the reason for the postponement request was a conflict with a jury trial date. The appellate Opinion is short, but it unanimously reverses the trial court’s vacatur. For one thing, arbitrators must have the discretion to govern their proceedings. Additionally, this was “respondent’s third request for an adjournment” and, while he might have accepted, Mr. Godfrey “rejected the representation of an associate from his counsel’s firm who was … a competent lawyer.” Finally, the Court pounces upon the motion court for applying a broader than usual scope of judicial review reserved for “compulsory” rather than “voluntary” arbitration. “An arbitration is not ‘compulsory’ such as to confer a broader scope of judicial review unless the obligation arises out of a statutory mandate…. Here, the parties were obligated by their written agreement to arbitrate the matter.”

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Securities Attorney at Sallah Astarita & Cox | 212-509-6544 | | Website | + posts

Mark Astarita is a nationally recognized securities attorney, who represents investors, financial professionals and firms in securities litigation, arbitration and regulatory matters, including SEC and FINRA investigations and enforcement proceedings.

He is a partner in the national securities law firm Sallah Astarita & Cox, LLC, and the founder of The Securities Law Home Page -, which was one of the first legal topic sites on the Internet. It went online in 1995 and is updated daily with news, commentary and securities law related links.