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Choice Hotels International, Inc. v. Patel

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

December 21, 2018

CHOICE HOTELS INTERNATIONAL, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
JITENDRA PATEL Defendant

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Paul W. Grimm United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Choice Hotels International,, Inc. ("Choice Hotels") filed an application to confirm arbitration award against Jitendra Patel on May 3, 2016. Complain,, ECF No.1. Choice Hotels seeks $106, 557.06 pursuant to the arbitration award and on August 14, 2018 Choice Hotels filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. Pl.'s Mot., ECF No. 32. Because I have already found that I have jurisdiction to confirm the arbitration award, see ECF No. 12, and Defendant has not demonstrated any basis for vacating the award, I will grant Choice Hotel's motion for summary judgment..

         I. BACKGROUND

         On August 13, 2015 an arbitration award was entered in favor of Plaintiff Choice Hotels against Defendant Jitendra Patel. See Arbitration Award, ECF No. 32-4. The award consisted of $99, 177.34 in liquidated damages plus $7, 379.72 in arbitration fees for a total of $106, 557.06. See Id. On May 3, 2016, Choice Hotels filed its application to confirm arbitration award against Defendant,, within one year of the arbitration award. See Complaint. Mr. Patel entered a special appearance and filed a motion to dismiss on June 6, 2016. ECF NO.6. This Court denied the Motion to Dismiss, and Mr. Patel subsequently filed an Answer to the Complaint on March 6, 2017. Answer, ECF No. 13. After settlement conferences failed to reach a resolution, Choice Hotels filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on August 14, 2018. ECF No. 32. Mr. Patel has failed to respond to or otherwise answer the Motion for Summary Judgment. A hearing is unnecessary to determine the amount of liability given the information provided in the arbitration award. ECF No. 32-4.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Summary judgment is proper when the moving party demonstrates, through "particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations . .., admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials," that "there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a), (c)(1)(A); see Baldwin v. City of Greensboro, No. 12-1722, 714 F.3d 828, 833 (4th Cir. 2013). If the party seeking summary judgment demonstrates that there is no evidence to support the nonmoving party's case, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to identify evidence that shows that a genuine dispute exists as to material facts. See Matsushtta Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 585-87 & n.10 (1986). When the nonmoving party does not oppose a summary judgment motion, "those facts established by the motion" are "uncontroverted." Custer v. Pan Am. Life Ins. Co., 12 F.3d 410, 466 (4th Cir. 1993). Nonetheless, the moving party still must demonstrate that, based on those facts, that party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, because "[t]he failure to respond to the motion does not automatically accomplish this." Id.

         III. DISCUSSION

         Choice Hotels moves for summary judgment with respect to its arbitration award. The Fourth Circuit stated that

[J]udicial review of an arbitration award is "severely circumscribed"" Patten v. Signator Ins. Agency, Inc., 441 F.3d 230, 234 (4th Cir. 2006). In fact, the scope of judicial review for an arbitrator's decision "is among the narrowest known at law because to allow full scrutiny of such awards would frustrate the purpose of having arbitration at all - the quick resolution of disputes and the avoidance of the expense and delay associated with litigation."

Three S. Del., Inc. v. DataQuick Info. Sys., Inc., 492 F.3d 520, 527 (4th Cir. 2007) (quoting Apex Plumbing Supply, Inc. v. U.S. Supply Co., Inc., 142 F.3d 188, 193 (4th Cir. 1998)). The Federal Arbitration Act provides that

[i]f the parties in their agreement have agreed that a judgment of the court shall be entered upon the award made pursuant to the arbitration, and shall specify the court, then at any time within one year after the award is made any party to the arbitration may apply to the court so specified for an order unless the award is vacated, modified, or corrected as prescribed in sections 10 and 11 of this title. If no court is specified in the agreement of the parties, then such application may be made to the United States court in and for the district within which such award was made.

9 U.S.C. S 9. "If there is a valid contract between the parties providing for arbitration, and if the dispute resolved in the arbitration was within the scope of the arbitration clause, then substantive review is limited to those grounds set out in [9 U.S.C. S 10]." Choice Hotels Int'l, Inc. v. Shriji 2000, No. DKC-15-1577, 2015 WL 5010130, at *1 (D. Md. Aug. 21, 2015) (citing Apex Plumbing, 142 F.3d 193). 9 U.S.C. S 10 provides that a court may vacate an arbitration award

1) where the award was procured by corruption, fraud, or undue means;
2) where there was evident partiality or corruption in the arbitrators, ...

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