Schoonmaker v. Cummings & Lockwood of Connecticut, P.C

In Schoonmaker v. Cummings & Lockwood of Connecticut, P.C., 252 Conn. 416, 429, 747 A.2d 1017 (2000), the Court stated: "Where there is no clearly established public policy against which to measure the propriety of the arbitrator's award, there is no public policy ground for vacatur. If, on the other hand, it has been determined that an arbitral award does implicate a clearly established public policy, the ultimate question remains as to whether the award itself comports with that policy. We conclude that where a party challenges a consensual arbitral award on the ground that it violates public policy, and where that challenge has a legitimate, colorable basis, de novo review of the award is appropriate in order to determine whether the award does in fact violate public policy." Schoonmaker also cautions that the question of whether a public policy issue is in fact implicated should not be brushed aside. The court stated: "We emphasize, however, that a party raising such a challenge to an arbitral award may not succeed in receiving de novo review merely by labeling its challenge as falling within the public policy exception to the normal rule of deference. The substance, not the form, of the challenge will govern. Thus, the court should not afford de novo review of the award without first determining that the challenge truly raises a legitimate and colorable claim of violation of public policy. If it does raise such a claim, de novo review should be afforded. If it does not, however, the normal deferential scope of review should apply." Id., n.7.