County Superior Court (NC 16-215) Associate Justice Walter R.
Plaintiff: Attorney(s) on Appeal Joseph J. Reale, Jr., Esq.
Defendant: Michael A. Kelly, Esq.
Present: Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and
Francis X. Flaherty, Associate Justice
defendant, Ropolo Family, LLC, appeals from an order of the
Superior Court that confirmed an arbitration award in favor
of the plaintiff, ABC Building Corporation, and from a
corresponding judgment of the Superior Court in favor of ABC
and against Ropolo in the amount of $72, 415, plus statutory
interest in the amount of $7, 086.24 through the date of the
arbitration award, and post-award interest thereafter. Ropolo
contends on appeal that the arbitrator exceeded his authority
by (1) manifestly disregarding clear and unambiguous
contractual language that should have precluded any award in
favor of ABC, and (2) manifestly disregarding well-settled
law by awarding ABC recovery in quasi-contract when a valid
and enforceable contract was in existence. This case came
before the Supreme Court pursuant to an order directing the
parties to appear and show cause why the issues raised in
this appeal should not summarily be decided. After
considering the parties' written and oral arguments, and
after reviewing the record, we conclude that cause has not
been shown and that this case may be decided without further
briefing or argument. For the reasons set forth below, we
affirm the order and judgment of the Superior Court.
Ropolo entered into a contract for the construction of a
restaurant in Newport. Sometime thereafter, a dispute arose
regarding payment that Ropolo owed to ABC. It is
uncontroverted that, when it failed to receive full payment
on the bills it submitted to Ropolo, ABC ceased work on the
project. The contract provided that the parties
would submit their dispute to binding arbitration. They did,
and, after significant discovery and protracted hearings, the
arbitrator awarded $72, 415 to ABC, plus $7, 086.24 in
interest. The arbitrator predicated his award on the
following pertinent findings:
"3. I find that under the factual circumstances of this
matter, the Agreement and its General Conditions require
payment by [Ropolo] to [ABC] of the fair and reasonable value
of labor and materials supplied on the project.
"4. I find that [ABC's] testimony, taken as a whole,
was sufficient and credible as to the fair and reasonable
cost of work, the reasonable necessity of the work, payment
by [ABC] for the work, and [ABC's] communication of the
same to [Ropolo].
" * * *
"8. I find that [ABC] did not materially breach the
rendering his award, the arbitrator decided that "[ABC]
is entitled to recover from [Ropolo] under the contract and
alternatively in quantum meruit * * *."
moved to confirm the arbitration award in the Superior Court.
Ropolo objected to ABC's motion to confirm and
simultaneously moved to vacate the arbitration award. Ropolo
argued that the arbitrator manifestly disregarded clear and
unambiguous contractual language- specifically, § 7.1.4:
"With each Application for Payment, the Construction
Manager shall submit payrolls, petty cash accounts, receipted
invoices or invoices with check vouchers attached, and any
other evidence required by the Owner or Architect to
demonstrate that cash disbursements already made by the
Construction Manager on account of the Cost of the Work equal
or exceed progress payments already received by the
Construction Manager, less that portion of those payments
attributable to the ...