Review of An Arbitration Award In New Mexico

New Mexico Court stated in Casias v. Dairyland Ins. Co., 1999 NMCA 46, P7, 126 N.M. 772, 975 P.2d 385 (quoting Fernandez v. Farmers Ins. Co., 115 N.M. 622, 625, 857 P.2d 22, 25 (1993)), "our Supreme Court has 'repeatedly reaffirmed the strong public policy in this state, expressed in the Arbitration Act 44-7-1 to -22, in favor of resolution of disputes through arbitration'". Consistent with this policy, under Sections 44-7-12 and 44-7-13, "in reviewing the confirmation of an arbitration award by the trial court, this Court is restricted to a determination of whether substantial evidence in the record supports the trial court's findings of fact and whether the trial court correctly applied the law to the facts when making its conclusions of law." Casias, 1999 NMCA 46, P8, 126 N.M. 772, 975 P.2d 385 (citing Town of Silver City v. Garcia, 115 N.M. 628, 632, 857 P.2d 28, 32 (1993)). Because New Mexico encourages resolving disputes through arbitration, the district court's fact finding is limited to the issues raised in the application to vacate or modify the award and is not a de novo review of the evidence before the arbitrators. Melton v. Lyon, 108 N.M. 420, 421, 773 P.2d 732, 733 (1989). In Casias, this Court emphasized that "the Arbitration Act controls the scope of the trial court's review of an arbitration award." Casias, 1999 NMCA 46, P7, 126 N.M. 772, 975 P.2d 385. Thus, under Sections 44-7-12 and 44-7-13, the authority of the district court to vacate, modify, or correct an award is "generally limited to allegations of fraud, partiality, misconduct, excess of powers, or technical problems in the execution of the award." Id.