Functus Officio gets a new exception:
Second Circuit holds that district courts remand of unreasoned award to arbitrator does not violate the functus officio doctrine.
Smarter Tools, Inc. v. Chongqing SENCI Import & Export Trade Co., Ltd., No. 21-724, (2d Cir. January 17, 2023).
The functus officio doctrine – Latin for having “completed one’s office” – dictates that “once arbitrators have fully exercised their authority to adjudicate the issues submitted to them, their authority over those questions is ended, and the arbitrators have no further authority, absent agreement of the parties, to redetermine those issues.” Its principal purpose is to prevent “re-examination of an issue by a nonjudicial officer potentially subject to outside communication and unilateral influence.” But courts have developed a number of exceptions to the doctrine, permitting arbitrators to revisit their awards to make non-substantive modifications, lest the doctrine waste tremendous efforts and resources.