The Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) permits federal courts to vacate arbitral awards “where there was evident partiality or corruption in the arbitrators, or either of them.” Interpreting this provision, courts have reached varied conclusions as to what biases, relationships, and misconducts constitute “evident partiality.” A prior business relationship between a neutral arbitrator and the victorious party, an ongoing legal dispute between the arbitrator and a party, a father-son relationship between an arbitrator and an officer of a labor union that was party to the arbitration, representation by the arbitrator’s law firm to a party in an unrelated matter, when the arbitrator is an officer at a company that conducts business dealings with a party that the arbitrator was not involved with, and when counsel to a party to the arbitration also represents the arbitrator in an unrelated matter have all been held to create evident partiality. Even after a court determines whether the particular facts create evident partiality, courts still apply varying standards on the disclosure requirements of the evident partiality.
Drew J. Hushka, How Nice to See You Again: The Repetitive Use of Arbitrators and the Risk of Evident Partiality, 5 Y.B. Arb. & Mediation 325 (2013).