United States District Court, District of Columbia
HEATH MARELL, et al. Plaintiffs,
MARK ALLAN PLUMMER, et al. Defendants.
F. Hogan Senior United States District Judge.
case comes before the Court on plaintiffs' Petition and
Motion to Confirm Arbitration Award [ECF No. 1] and Request
for Entry of Default Judgment for Sum Certain [ECF No. 11],
in which Heath Marell, Susan Marell, and James Marell seek
confirmation of an arbitration award entered in their favor
and against defendants by the Financial Industry Regulatory
Authority (“FINRA”). For the reasons that follow,
the Court will grant plaintiffs' motion, enter default
judgment in their favor, and confirm the arbitration award
under 9 U.S.C. § 9.
March 28, 2016, plaintiffs initiated FINRA arbitration
proceedings against Texas E&P Partners, Inc. and its
principal, Mark Allan Plummer, asserting a number of claims
relating to investments in the Chestnut GEB Joint Venture and
Chestnut 2007 4x4 Joint Venture. The FINRA Arbitration Panel
conducted a two-day hearing in July 2017, and on August 31,
2017, the Panel rendered its Initial Award in favor of
plaintiffs. Pet. & Mot. to Confirm Ex. A (8/31/2017
Award) [ECF No. 1-4]. In response to plaintiffs' Motion
for Clarification and Correction, the Panel issued a Modified
Award on December 5, 2017 to correct the date on which
prejudgment interest began to accrue and to make clear that a
portion of plaintiff Heath Marell's award was for loss to
his IRA. Pet. & Mot. to Confirm Ex. B (12/5/2017 Award)
[ECF No. 1-5]. The Modified Award contained a typographical
error in the name of one of the plaintiffs, so the Panel
issued its Final Award on February 5, 2018 correcting the
name of plaintiff Susan Marell. Pet. & Mot. to Confirm
Ex. C (2/5/2018 Award) [ECF No. 1-6].
February 15, 2018, only ten days after the Panel issued its
Final Award, plaintiffs filed this action seeking
confirmation of the arbitration award. On April 19, 2018, the
Clerk of Court declared both defendants in default pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a). See
Clerk's Entry of Default [ECF No. 9]. Thereafter, on May
24, 2018, plaintiffs filed their Request for Entry of Default
Judgment for Sum Certain [ECF No. 11]. To date, neither
defendant has filed a responsive pleading or otherwise
appeared before the Court.
seek entry of default judgment against defendants pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b). Here, the Court may
enter default judgment to confirm the arbitration award
because the defendants are in default and the arbitration
award sought to be confirmed “is for a sum
certain.” See Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(1).
Confirmation of FINRA Arbitration Award
certain conditions are met, the plain language of 9 U.S.C.
§ 9 requires that the Court enter an order confirming
the arbitration award:
If the parties in their agreement have agreed that a judgment
of the court shall be entered upon the award made pursuant to
the arbitration, and shall specify the court, then at any
time within one year after the award is made any party to the
arbitration may apply to the court so specified for an order
confirming the award, and thereupon the court must grant such
an order unless the award is vacated, modified, or corrected
as prescribed in sections 10 and 11 of this title. If no
court is specified in the agreement of the parties, then such
application may be made to the United States court in and for
the district within which such award was made. Notice of the
application shall be served upon the adverse party, and
thereupon the court shall have jurisdiction of such party as
though he had appeared generally in the proceeding.
9 U.S.C. § 9. “A confirmation proceeding under 9
U.S.C. § 9 is intended to be summary: confirmation can
only be denied if an award has been corrected, vacated, or
modified in accordance with the Federal Arbitration
Act.” Adkins v. Teseo, 180 F.Supp.2d 15, 18
(D.D.C. 2001) (quoting Taylor v. Nelson, 788 F.2d
220, 225 (4th Cir. 1986)).
have satisfied the requirements of the statute. First,
defendants agreed to have the award entered as a judgment of
this Court. The FINRA Code of Arbitration Procedure states
that “[a]ll awards shall be in writing and signed by a
majority of the arbitrators or as required by applicable law.
Such awards may be entered as a judgment in any court of
competentjurisdiction.” FINRA Rule 12904
(emphasis added). Second, the award has not been vacated,
modified, or corrected in accordance with the sections 10 or
11 of the Federal Arbitration Act. Third, notice of the
application was timely served ...