PAUL IPPOLITO ET AL.
OLYMPIC CONSTRUCTION, LLC
Argued December 9, 2015.
Appeal from Superior Court, judicial district of Stamford-Norwalk, Hon. David R. Tobin, judge trial referee.
Joseph DaSilva, Jr., with whom, on the brief, was Marc J. Grenier, for the appellants (plaintiffs).
Thomas M. Cassone, for the appellee (defendant).
Alvord, Sheldon and Mullins, Js.
The plaintiff homeowners, Paul Ippolito and Lisa Ippolito, appeal from the judgment of the trial court, Hon. David R. Tobin, judge trial referee, denying their motion to vacate an arbitration award in favor of their home improvement contractor, defendant Olympic Construction, LLC, and granting the defendant’s motion to confirm that award. The arbitration involved a claim by the defendant for lost profits for work repairing water damage to the plaintiffs’ home, which it was not permitted to complete under the terms of their home improvement contract due to the plaintiffs’ alleged termination of that contract without just cause. The plaintiffs claim that the trial court erred in confirming the arbitrator’s award of lost profit damages to the defendant because the contract did not comply with certain provisions of the Home Improvement Act (HIA), General Statutes § 20-418 et seq. In particular, the plaintiffs argue that the contract did not comply with General Statutes § 20-429 (a) (6), which requires that every home improvement contract contain a notice of the homeowner’s right to cancel the contract in accordance with the provisions of the Home Solicitation Sales Act (HSSA), General Statutes §§ 42-134 through 42-143, or with § 20-429 (a) (7), which requires that each such contract contain a starting date and completion date. The plaintiffs claim that the arbitrator’s award of damages to a contractor for work he agreed to perform under a home improvement contract that is noncompliant with the HIA violated the clear public policy of this state and demonstrated a manifest disregard of the law. We affirm the judgment of the trial court confirming the arbitration award.
The following facts are relevant to this appeal. The plaintiffs, owners of a residential property located at 131 Pequot Lane in New Canaan, suffered water damage at their home following a storm. As a result, the plaintiffs entered into a contract with the defendant to repair the damage. That contract, dated May 26, 2011, consisted of an American Institute of Architects (AIA) Standard Form A133–2009 and several other documents, which were incorporated therein by reference, including AIA Document A201–2007, General Conditions of the Contract for Construction. The contract provides that all disputes between them arising out of or related to the contract will be subject to arbitration before an arbitrator from the American Arbitration Association in accordance with the association’s Construction Industry Arbitration Rules.
During the course of repairs, another storm caused more water damage to the plaintiffs’ home, prompting Paul Ippolito to terminate the parties’ contract before the defendant could complete the agreed upon work. The defendant then filed a claim for arbitration, seeking to recover lost profits for work it had agreed to perform under the contract but had not been allowed to complete.
The plaintiffs defended themselves in the arbitration by arguing that the contract was void for noncompliance with the HIA, and thus that it was unenforceable against them by the defendant, because it failed to give them proper statutory notice of their cancellation rights under the contract, and failed to include a starting date and completion date for the work to be performed thereunder. The arbitrator rejected the plaintiffs’ defense, found that Paul Ippolito’s termination of the contract had not been for cause, and thus awarded the defendant $46, 448.19 in lost profits for the plaintiffs’ breach of contract.
After the arbitration, the plaintiffs moved to vacate the arbitration award in the Stamford Superior Court pursuant to General Statutes § 52-418 (a),  and the defendant moved to confirm the award pursuant to General Statutes § 52-417. The plaintiffs claimed that the award violated the clear public policy of this state because it contravened the previously described provisions of the HIA, and that the arbitrator, by not strictly enforcing those statutory provisions, had manifestly disregarded the law. The trial court rejected the plaintiffs’ claims, and thus denied their motion to vacate and granted the defendant’s motion to confirm the arbitrator’s award. This appeal followed.
‘‘Judicial review of arbitral decisions is narrowly confined. . . . When the parties agree to arbitration and establish the authority of the arbitrator through the terms of their submission, the extent of our judicial review of the award is delineated by the scope of the parties’ agreement. . . . When the scope of the submission is unrestricted, the resulting award is not subject to de novo review even for errors of law so long as the award conforms to the submission. . . . Because we favor arbitration as a means of settling private disputes, we undertake judicial review of arbitration awards in a manner designed to minimize interference with an efficient and economical system of alternative dispute resolution. . . .
‘‘Where the submission does not otherwise state, the arbitrators are empowered to decide factual and legal questions and an award cannot be vacated on the grounds that . . . the interpretation of the agreement by the arbitrators was erroneous. Courts will not review the evidence nor, where the submission is unrestricted, will they review the arbitrators’ decision of the legal questions involved. . . . In other words, [u]nder an unrestricted submission, the arbitrators’ decision is considered final and binding; thus the courts will not review the evidence considered by the arbitrators nor will they review the award for errors of law or fact. . . .
‘‘Even in the case of an unrestricted submission, we have . . . recognized three grounds for vacating an award: (1) the award rules on the constitutionality of a statute . . . (2) the award violates clear public policy . . . [and] (3) the award contravenes one or more of the statutory proscriptions of [General Statutes] § 52-418.’’ (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Economos v.Liljedahl Bros., Inc., 279 Conn. 300, 305–306, 901 A.2d 1198 (2006). The plaintiffs challenge the award for violation of ...