Glendale LLC v. Amco Insurance Co. (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-04-0789, 8 pp.) (Robert J. Conrad Jr., Ch.J.) 3:11-cv-00003; W.D.N.C.
Holding: Where the appraisal provision in the parties’ insurance policy was followed, the appraisers’ award is binding absent proof of impeaching circumstances.
The court grants defendant’s motion for partial summary judgment as to the amount of the award.
Plaintiff has not provided any authority for the proposition that appraisers have an affirmative duty to disclose their prior dealings with a party’s appraiser. Plaintiff asks the court to create such a rule today. However, the umpire’s few prior dealings with defendant’s appraiser could not lead any reasonable juror to believe that he had a conflict of interest in serving as the umpire for this claim. Plaintiff has not presented any evidence that the umpire’s later work with defendant’s appraiser affected his neutrality in this case.
Even though the umpire and defendant’s appraiser did meet without plaintiff’s appraiser to actually sign the award, plaintiff’s appraiser previously had the opportunity to submit (and did submit) plaintiff’s position to the umpire and defendant’s appraiser. The umpire testified that he fully considered all submissions before coming to his conclusion. The ex parte communication between the umpire and defendant’s appraiser does not invalidate the award.