County District Court No. 14CV34155 Honorable David A.
Announced July 27, 2017 Gene R. Thornton, P.C., Gene R.
Thornton, Colorado Springs, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellee
Fennemore Craig, P.C., Troy R. Rackham, Michael G. Bohan,
Denver, Colorado, for Defendants-Appellants
1 Defendants Charles M. and Frances P. Prignano appeal the
district court's confirmation of an arbitration award and
denial of their motion to vacate that award. We affirm the
judgment and remand for a calculation and award of appellate
attorney fees and costs to plaintiff Michele Pacitto, Jr.
2 The Prignanos asserted multiple claims against Pacitto, a
registered representative, in a Financial Industry Regulatory
Authority (FINRA) securities industry arbitration. Pacitto
raised several counterclaims. The arbitration panel denied
the Prignanos' claims, and awarded Pacitto compensatory
damages, punitive damages, and fees solely against Mr.
Prignano. The panel did not specify which counterclaims
served as the basis for the awards.
3 The Prignanos received notice of the arbitration decision,
dated July 21, 2014, explaining their rights to challenge the
award. The notice stated "all monetary awards shall be
paid within 30 days of receipt unless a motion to vacate has
been filed with a court of competent jurisdiction." It
further explained that to challenge the award a party
"must make a motion to vacate the award in a federal or
state court of appropriate jurisdiction pursuant to the
Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 10, or applicable
state statute." The notice cautioned parties that
"[t]here are limited grounds for vacating an arbitration
award, and a party must bring a motion to vacate within the
time period specified by the applicable statute." It
also urged unrepresented parties to seek legal advice.
4 Many months later, when Mr. Prignano had not paid the
award, Pacitto filed a combined complaint and motion to
confirm the arbitration award in district court. The
Prignanos filed an answer stating several challenges to the
award's validity as affirmative defenses. Later, they
filed a motion to vacate the award. In their amended answer,
they counterclaimed for a declaratory judgment vacating the
5 The district court order confirmed the arbitration award.
In doing so it impliedly rejected the declaratory judgment
counterclaim. The court also determined the Prignanos filed
the motion to vacate well past the ninety-one day deadline in
section 13-22-223(2), C.R.S. 2016. Accordingly, the district
court concluded the Prignanos waived their right to object to
the confirmation of the award.
6 The Prignanos now appeal, asserting that the district court
erred in applying the ninety-one day deadline in section
13-22-223(2) and in failing to extend the deadline for filing
a counterclaim for one year pursuant to section 13-80-109,
C.R.S. 2016, when it confirmed the award. We disagree with
the Prignanos and therefore affirm.
Preservation and Standard of Review
7 The Prignanos preserved their challenge in their briefing
below. We review de novo a district court's legal
conclusions on a motion to confirm or vacate an arbitration
award and its interpretation of the counterclaim revival
statute. PFW, Inc. v. Residences at Little Nell Dev.,
LLC, 2012 COA ...