May Court Reanalyze Arbitrators' Determination In Professional Liability Suit Where Parties Had Agreed to Arbitrate ?
In Beatty v. Doctor's Co., 374 Ill. App. 3d 558, 871 N.E.2d 138, 312 Ill. Dec. 738 (2007), the plaintiff's amended complaint in the circuit court alleged the defendant failed to defend and indemnify the plaintiff in a professional liability action, and sought, inter alia, attorney fees pursuant to section 155. Beatty, 374 Ill. App. 3d at 560.
The parties eventually agreed to arbitrate, and the circuit court issued a consent order in which the parties agreed to binding arbitration for those matters raised in the plaintiff's amended complaint. Beatty, 374 Ill. App. 3d at 565.
The arbitrators then awarded attorney fees pursuant to section 155, and the award was confirmed. Beatty, 374 Ill. App. 3d at 561-62.
On appeal, the defendant primarily contended the arbitrators grossly erred in finding it acted vexatiously and unreasonably pursuant to section 155. Beatty, 374 Ill. App. 3d at 564.
The Fifth District held it was outside the scope of the court's review to reanalyze the arbitrators' determination because the facts upon which the decision was based did not appear on the face of the award. Beatty, 374 Ill. App. 3d at 564.
In addition, the Fifth District held Passarelli was distinguishable because the parties mutually consented to arbitrate the issue of section 155 attorney fees. Beatty, 374 Ill. App. 3d at 565.