Wednesday, September 6, 2006
The Oregon Court of Appeals has held that parties cannot by their agreement convert a court-annexed arbitration of property division in divorce into a binding arbitration under the Oregon Arbitration Act, thereby divesting the trial court of its authority to conduct a trial de novo. However, the court did conclude that parties could waive their right to seek such a review, rejecting an argument that allowing waivers of trials de novo would violate public policy.
In the case before it, however, the court concluded that the parties' agreement that their arbitration would be binding, subject only to appeal to the court of appeals, was based on a mutual mistake in that appellate review was not available from arbitration awards. Thus the court found this mistake made any waiver of a trial de novo it might have implied to be invalid.
Woods v. Woods, 2006 Ore. App. LEXIS 1242 (August 30, 2006)