Filing Petition to Vacate Arbitration Award (Not on Time) In California

A party who fails to timely file a petition to vacate under section 1286 may not thereafter attack that award by other means on grounds which would have supported an order to vacate. (Knass v. Blue Cross of California (1991) 228 Cal. App. 3d 390, 393-396 [279 Cal. Rptr. 124].) In Knass, the insured had sued his medical insurer and the matter had been submitted to binding arbitration. After the award was issued, the insured did not petition the court to vacate the award within 100 days after it was served, but later filed an appeal from the postconfirmation judgment. The court held that "Knass waived his opportunity to challenge the award by allowing the 100-day period to expire. the fact the award was reduced to a judgment does not resurrect his opportunity to challenge it." (Id. at p. 394.) The Knass court explained its reasoning in the following terms: "In order to comply with the purpose of expeditious resolution of disputes through arbitration, time limits in which to challenge arbitration awards must be strictly enforced. Permitting a party to wait until after judgment to challenge an award would undermine the purpose of arbitration proceedings--to resolve disputes quickly. The requirement that a petitioner challenge an award within the 100-day limit 'places a burden upon those who would attack the award to act promptly or acquiesce in its enforcement." (Knass v. Blue Cross of California, supra, 228 Cal. App. 3d at p. 395.) Applying the principles of statutory construction which we have summarized above, the Knass court concluded: "Although section 1287.4 allows an appeal from a judgment confirming an arbitrator's award, we find no indication that the section contemplates allowing a party to bypass the procedures which provide for limited review by the superior court. . . . the arbitration statute is clear. A party to an arbitration proceeding must challenge an award under section 1288 by a petition to vacate or correct the award within 100 days of service of the award. An appeal of the judgment confirming the award may not be used to circumvent the prescribed time allowed to petition for vacation or correction of award." (Knass v. Blue Cross of California, supra, 228 Cal. App. 3d at pp. 395-396; see also Davis v. Calaway (1975) 48 Cal. App. 3d 309, 311 [121 Cal. Rptr. 570].)