Appeals court: Debtor waited too long to challenge arbitration award

Steve Korris Jul. 14, 2010, 7:00am

Montgomery County District Judge Frederick Edwards improperly cancelled a $25,549.30 credit card debt, Ninth District appeals judges ruled on July 8.

They ordered Edwards to confirm an arbitration award in favor of FIA Card Services.

They held that debtor Stuart Standley waited too long to challenge the award.

Standley "forfeited his right to seek judicial review of the arbitrator's award," Chief Justice Steve McKeithen wrote.

FIA prevailed at arbitration in February 2007, and sought confirmation from Edwards.

In June 2007, Standley filed an answer generally denying liability for the debt.

Edwards held a bench trial and ruled that FIA should recover nothing because, "the law and facts were with Defendant."

No court reporter transcribed the trial.

On appeal, FIA argued that state and federal arbitration laws required Standley to challenge the award within 90 days.

FIA assigned other errors to Edwards, but Ninth District judges didn't address them because FIA prevailed on the 90 day rule.

"The clerk's record does not indicate that Standley ever filed an application to vacate the award," McKeithen wrote.

"Assuming without deciding that the general denial in Standley's answer constituted a request to vacate the award, Standley did not file his answer until June 26, 2007," he wrote.

"Standley apparently does not contend, either in the trial court or on appeal, that he did not receive notice of the award," he wrote.

Justices Charles Kreger snd Hollis Horton joined the opinion.

Johnetta Lang represented FIA, formerly known as MBNA. Standley represented himself.

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