in the Court of Appeals 21 September 2017
by Unnamed Defendant from judgment entered 27 September 2016
by Judge John E. Nobles, Jr. in Carteret County, No.
15-CVS-523 Superior Court.
Jones Law Firm, LLP, Robert C. Dodge, for the
Harris, Creech, Ward & Blackerby, P.A., by Heather M.
Beam and Jay C. Salsman, for the Unnamed Defendant-Appellant.
Unnamed Defendant, North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual
Insurance Company ("Farm Bureau") appeals from a
judgment entered by the trial court confirming an arbitration
award in favor of Lee Vander Thompson
("Plaintiff"). The arbitration panel awarded
Plaintiff $110, 000. In confirming the award, the trial court
also granted Plaintiff pre-award and
post-award/pre-judgment interest on the $110, 000 figure, as
well as approximately $1, 100 in costs associated with the
action. For the following reasons, we affirm in part and
reverse in part.
October 2013, Plaintiff and Walter Speller
("Defendant") were involved in a motor vehicle
collision in which Plaintiff was injured. At the time of the
accident, Farm Bureau was Plaintiff's underinsured
motorist insurer. Under Plaintiff's policy (the
"Policy"), Farm Bureau was obligated to pay
compensatory damages to Plaintiff in the event that Plaintiff
was injured by an at-fault driver whose liability coverage
limits were too low to cover his damages.
the accident, Plaintiff settled with Defendant's
liability insurance carrier. Also, Farm Bureau advanced to
Plaintiff a total of $35, 000, which included the following:
(1) $5, 000, the maximum medical payment under the Policy,
and (2) $30, 000, representing the liability limits of
Defendant's liability policy. However, because Farm Bureau
and Plaintiff were ultimately unable to settle on the amount
of total damages Plaintiff was entitled to recover, Plaintiff
demanded arbitration pursuant to the arbitration provision of
case was heard by a three-member arbitration panel which
rendered a unanimous arbitration award of $110, 000. The
award specifically provided that "[t]he arbitrators did
not consider interest or costs in the determination
of th[e] award." (Emphasis added.)
filed a motion with the trial court for an order confirming
the $110, 000 arbitration award and for interest and
costs. In confirming the arbitration award, the trial court
entered judgment for Plaintiff for $110, 000 plus
$8, 000 in pre-award interest (calculated from the filing of
the complaint to the date of the arbitration award)
plus $805 in post-award/pre-judgment interest
(calculated from the date of the arbitration award to the
date of the judgment confirming the award) plus $1,
100 in costs. Farm Bureau timely appealed.
appeal, Farm Bureau makes no argument concerning the
confirmation of the $110, 000 award. Rather, Farm Bureau
argues that trial court exceeded its authority when it
awarded Plaintiff costs, pre-award interest, and
post-award/pre-judgment interest in its judgment confirming
the arbitration award.
Supreme Court has stated that our courts have very limited
authority to modify an arbitration award under our Revised
Uniform Arbitration Act, codified in Article 45C of our
General Statutes. Nucor Corp. v. General Bearing
Corp., 333 N.C. 148, 155, 423 S.E.2d 747, 751 (1992)
(noting that the Act is "virtually a self-contained,
self-sufficient code, [providing] controlling limitations
upon the authority of our courts to vacate, modify, or
correct an arbitration award"); see also Cyclone
Roofing Co., Inc. v. David M. LaFave Co., Inc., 312 N.C.
224, 236, 321 S.E.2d 872, 880 (1984) (holding that
"[j]udicial review of an arbitration ...