Jackson v. Rosenhaus et al.
MEMORANDUM ORDER granting 13 Respondents' Motion to Dismiss Amended Petition to Vacate Arbitration Award; and directing the Clerk to Close the Case. Signed by Judge Theodore D. Chuang on 9/12/2017. (tds, Deputy Clerk)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
Civil Action No. TDC-16-4049
JASON ROSENHAUS and
Petitioner Edith Lawson-Jackson has filed a Petition to Vacate Arbitration Award seeking
to vacate an arbitration award rendered in favor of Respondents
Rosenhaus, and Rosenhaus Sports. Pending before the Court is Respondents' Motion to Dismiss
Amended Petition to Vacate Arbitration Award, ECF No. 13, which argues that the Petition
should be dismissed as untimely under the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA"), 9 U.S.C.
(2012). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is GRANTED.
is a licensed and certified contract advisor for the National Football
League Players Association ("NFLP A").
Respondents Drew Rosenhaus and Jason Rosenhaus
are certified NFLPA Agents and principals of Respondent Rosenhaus Sports Representation.
On December 30, 2013, Shaquil Barrett, a linebacker for the Denver Broncos, executed a
contract by which he hired Lawson-Jackson and her business partner to represent him. On or
about November 14,2015, after Lawson-Jackson had already negotiated with the Broncos for a
three-year contract for Barrett, she learned that Respondents had initiated contact with Barrett
with the intent to have him switch agents and employ them, even though they knew that Barrett
was being represented by an NFLPA certified agent. Despite Barrett's initial lack of interest,
Respondents persisted, eventually offering Barrett $75,000 to change his representation.
November 20,2015, Barrett emailed Lawson-Jackson and her business partner to terminate their
representation of him.
In January 2016, Lawson-Jackson
filed for arbitration of the issues whether Drew
Rosenhaus violated the NFLP A Regulations Governing Contract Advisors and, if so, what the
appropriate remedy would be. On April 7, 2016, Lawson-Jackson filed a motion for recusal of
the arbitrator appointed to the case, Roger Kaplan, alleging that he had an undisclosed
"continuing financial stake" in Respondents' non-NFLPA "employment disputes," which created
a "reasonable impression of partiality."
Arbitration Op. at 3-4, Am. Pet. Ex. 1, ECF No. 7-1.
Four days later, Kaplan denied the motion, stating that he could and would handle the case
On September 20,2016, Kaplan issued an arbitration award in which he concluded
that Drew Rosenhaus did not violate NFLP A regulations and denied the grievance.
On December 20, 2016, Lawson-Jackson filed a Petition to Vacate Arbitration Award in
this Court, which she then amended on March 3, 2017. In her Petition, Lawson-Jackson argues
that the arbitration award should be vacated for three reasons:
(l) Kaplan displayed evident
partiality; (2) Kaplan exceeded his powers as an arbitrator; and (3) Lawson-Jackson
afforded due process. The Clerk issued a summons for each Respondent on December 21, 2016,
to date, has not filed proof of service with the Court. Respondents then
filed their unopposed Motion to Dismiss Amended Petition to Vacate Arbitration Award, in
which they assert that they were served on March 8, 2017.
In their Motion, Respondents argue that the Petition should be dismissed because they
were not timely served pursuant to the FAA. The FAA outlines the process for petitioners to
move to confirm, vacate, or amend arbitration awards and sets forth limitations periods for doing
so. Lawson-Jackson brought her Petition to Vacate under the
10 of the FAA, which provides
(a) In any of the following cases the United States court in and for the district
wherein the award was made may make an order vacating the. award upon the
application of any party to the arbitration(1) where the award was procured by corruption, fraud, or undue means;
(2) where there was evident partiality or corruption in the arbitrators, or
either of them;
(3) where the arbitrators were guilty of misconduct in refusing to postpone
the hearing, upon sufficient cause shown, or in refusing to hear evidence
pertinent and material to the controversy; or of any other misbehavior by
which the rights of any party have been prejudiced; or
(4) where the arbitrators exceeded their powers, or so imperfectly
executed them that a mutual, final, and definite award upon the subject
matter submitted was not made.
Significantly, the FAA specifies a three-month deadline for a party to the arbitration to
move to vacate an arbitration award and serve the opposing party with the motion:
Notice of a motion to vacate, modify, or correct an award must be served upon the
adverse party or his attorney within three months after the award is filed or
12. Under the plain language of this provision, a petition to vacate must be served, not
merely filed, within the specified three-month period.
See Webster v. A. T Kearney, Inc., 507
F.3d 568, 572 (7th Cir. 2007) (stating that "to the extent that our use of the term 'filing'" in prior
cases was misleading, "we clarify now and for purposes of future cases that service of a motion
to vacate is that act that stops the three-month
statute of limitations")
see also Argentine
Republic v. Nat'l Grid PLC, 637 F.3d 365, 368-69 (D.C. Cir. 2011) (holding that the three-month
deadline to serve a motion to vacate an arbitration award may not be extended pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(b)); Chase v. Nordstrom, No. CCB-IO-2114, 2010 WL
4789442, at *2 (D. Md. Nov. 17 2010) (holding that a motion to vacate an arbitration award,
filed on the last day of the three-month period and not served until one month later, was timebarred). See generally Hillman v. IRS, 263 F.3d 338, 342 (4th Cir. 2001) ("The general rule is
that unless there is some ambiguity in the language of a statute, a court's analysis must end with
the statute's plain language.").
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has held that failure to comply
with this deadline bars consideration of a motion to vacate an arbitration award. See Taylor v.
Nelson, 788 F.2d 220, 225 (4th Cir. 1986) (holding that a motion to vacate an arbitration award
filed outside of the three-month limitations period was barred as untimely). See generally Fed. R.
Civ. P. 81(6)(B) (stating that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure govern proceedings relating to
arbitration only to the extent that Title 9 ofthe United States Code is silent). In Taylor, the court
held that the district court had erred in excusing the failure to meet the deadline on grounds of
due diligence or equitable tolling. See Taylor, 788 F.2d at 225.
Here, the arbitration award was issued on September 20,2016, and Lawson-Jackson filed
her Petition on December
20, 2016, the last day of the three-month
Respondents' unopposed Motion asserts that they were not served until March 8, 2017, two and
a half months after the end of the limitations period.
has not contested
Respondent's asserted date of service and has not otherwise provided any proof of service. The
Court therefore concludes that the Petition must be dismissed as untimely pursuant to the FAA's
three-month limitations period for service of a petition to vacate. See Chase, 2010 WL 4789442,
The Court notes that while some courts have allowed for equitable tolling of the FAA's
limitations period, see, e.g., Move, Inc. v. Citigroup Global MIas., Inc., 840 F.3d 1152, 1154 (9th
Cir. 2016), the Fourth Circuit has "strongly intimated-but
has stopped short of explicitly
there are no equitable exceptions to the three-month limitations period set forth in
the Federal Arbitration Act." Parsons, Brinkerhoff, Quade & Douglas, Inc. v. Palmetto Bridge
Constructors, 647 F. Supp. 2d 587, 594 (D. Md. 2009); see Taylor, 788 F.2d at 225-26 (stating
that exceptions to the three-month time limit are "questionable" because they "are not implicit in
the language of the statute and cannot be described as common-law exceptions," and finding
under the facts presented no "due diligence or tolling exceptions to the three-month rule, even if
such exceptions exist").
Even if equitable exceptions could apply, Lawson-Jackson
demonstrated any basis to excuse her failure to meet the service deadline.
She filed the Petition
on the last day of the limitations period, "leaving no time for her to serve notice upon the
defendant through her own means," and has provided no excuse or explanation for her failure to
meet the service deadline.
Chase, 2010 WL 4789442, at *2 (finding that "[e]ven if equitable
exceptions to the three-month limitation period were recognized," there was no basis to excuse
failure to effect service within the time limit).
Accordingly, the three month
limitations period for service under the FAA bars Lawson-Jackson from asserting her claim.
For the foregoing reasons, it is hereby ORDERED that Respondents' Motion to Dismiss
Amended Petition to Vacate Arbitration Award, ECF No. 13, is GRANTED.
The Clerk is
directed to close the case.
5b ,<"'" ?:x;::~
Date: September 12,2017
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?