University of the District of Columbia Law Review


Jacob Frumkin


In Shaff v. SkahilP the District of Columbia Court of Appeals held that arbitrators' awards may only be reviewed if the moving party alleges a violation of the District of Columbia Uniform Arbitration Act.2 From a policy perspective, this decision may be read as subverting the very objective it purports to support encouraging the use of arbitration.3 In brief, this decision may discourage homeowners from agreeing to arbitrate disputes and appears to penalize those who do. Furthermore, this decision may be read as weakening the Home Improvement Business Act4 by providing a loophole for unlicensed and unbonded de facto contractors. Because of these anti-consumer policy implications, the legal analysis section of this note sets forth a scenario under which the Shaff court might have found for Ms. Skahill. This alternative outcome combines the definition of "home improvement contractor" found in Karr v. C. Dudley Brown & Associates Inc.8 with a less restrictive definition of "evident partiality" than that applied in Celtech Inc. v. Broumand.6 Before constructing this alternative outcome, this section reviews the procedural posture of Shaff.

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