Wisconsin Court of Appeals
Civil Procedure – arbitration — claim preclusion
Whether to apply the doctrine of claim preclusion based on a previous arbitration is a decision for the arbitrator, and can be reversed only for manifest disregard of law.
“The arbitrator’s decision not to apply claim preclusion based on the Cirilli plaintiffs’ failure to establish privity with the Reis plaintiffs did not show a manifest disregard of the law. The arbitrator correctly stated the law on claim preclusion and applied it to the facts of the case. We cannot say that the arbitrator’s conclusion that the Cirilli plaintiffs’ barebones privity argument was insufficient crosses the threshold of manifest disregard. Our review of the arbitration briefs confirms that the Cirilli plaintiffs’ only summary judgment argument on privity was a common inclusion in the group of former Country agents now with Couri; there was no discussion of any commonality of interest between the Cirilli plaintiffs and the Reis plaintiffs. Moreover, the record does not contain the supplemental briefs. Given this record, we fail to see how we could find that the arbitrator’s final decision that the privity issue was inadequately developed evidences a manifest disregard of the law. There are no grounds to vacate the award based on claim preclusion.”
Recommended for publication in the official reports.
Dist. II, Waukesha County, Hassin, J., Neubauer, J.
Attorneys: For Appellant: Hammes, James W., Waukesha; For Respondent: Smith, Todd G., Madison; Wheeler, Patricia L., Madison