On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Nos. 20-1946 (L), 21-2658 (Con.)
TIG Insurance Company ("TIG") appeals from a judgment and order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Edgardo Ramos, Judge, and Mary Kay Vyskocil, Judge, respectively). TIG asserts that Judge Ramos erred in ordering it to arbitrate a coverage dispute with ExxonMobil Oil Corporation ("Exxon"). Even if it was required to arbitrate, TIG contends that Judge Ramos erred in awarding Exxon prejudgment interest when confirming the arbitral award. After entering judgment, and after TIG had appealed, the district court clerk notified the parties that it was brought to Judge Ramos's attention that he owned stock in Exxon when he presided over the case. Nothing in the record suggests that Judge Ramos was aware of his conflict at the time he rendered his decisions, and the parties do not suggest otherwise. TIG moved in the district court to vacate the judgment. The case was reassigned to Judge Vyskocil, who denied the motion to vacate. TIG appealed from that denial as well.
We hold that vacatur was not required because this case presents only questions of law, and a non-conflicted district judge reviewed the case de novo. As to the merits, we hold that the district court did not err in compelling arbitration because the parties were subject to a binding arbitration agreement, but that the district court erred in ordering TIG to pay pre-arbitral-award interest.
Accordingly, we AFFIRM the district court's denial of the motion to vacate and the district court's order compelling arbitration, REVERSE in part its decision granting Exxon's request for prejudgment interest, and REMAND to the district court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.