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IBEW, LOCAL 910 v. ROBERTS

January 1, 1998

INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS, LOCAL 910, AFL-CIO, by George Intschert, as Financial Secretary, Plaintiff, against THOMAS H. ROBERTS, d/b/a/ A.C. Electric, Defendant.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCAVOY

 I. BACKGROUND

 A. Introduction

 The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 910 (the "Union") instituted this action against Thomas H. Roberts, d/b/a/ A.C. Electric ("Roberts") to enforce an award of a joint labor-management committee (the "Joint Committee"). Pending before the Court is the Union's motion for summary judgment (1) to enforce the award of the Joint Committee, (2) to dismiss Roberts' counterclaims, and (3) for an award of attorneys' fees. Roberts, in turn, has cross-moved to dismiss the Union's Complaint.

 According to the Union, because the Joint Committee held that Roberts violated several provisions of the collective bargaining agreements (the "Agreement"), the Court should enforce the Joint Committee's final and binding decision. For the same reason, the Union asserts that Roberts' counterclaims should be dismissed because the Joint Committee has reviewed and denied Roberts' counterclaims. Finally, the Union contends that the Court should award attorneys' fees because Roberts' refusal to comply with the Joint Committee's decision was without justification.

 Roberts, by contrast, contends that: (i) he never entered into the Agreement; and alternatively: (ii) he terminated the Agreement; and (iii) bias of a Joint Committee member tainted the Committee's decision.

 For the reasons that follow, the Union's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED insofar it seeks enforcement of the award of the Joint Committee and dismissal of Roberts' counterclaims; it is DENIED insofar as it seeks attorneys' fees. Roberts' motion to dismiss is DENIED in its entirety.

 B. Facts

 In a prior proceeding, this Court determined that a valid and binding collective bargaining agreement existed between the Union and Roberts, that Roberts did not terminate the Agreement, and that Roberts must submit to the grievance procedure contained in the Agreement. Roberts v. I.B.E.W. Local 910 AFL-CIO, No. 94-CV-963, transcript of hearing (N.D.N.Y. Feb. 13, 1995), aff'd by summary order, (2d Cir. 1995).

 As required by this Court's order, Roberts submitted to the grievance procedure contained in the Agreement. Both sides participated in grievance hearings held on July 25, 1995 and December 14, 1995. *fn1" On February 16, 1996, the Joint Committee held that Roberts violated several provisions of the Agreement and ordered him to pay $ 262,900.58. Roberts, however, has failed to pay that sum.

 Meanwhile, on July 27, 1995, Roberts filed a grievance against the Union, claiming that unnamed union members had performed certain work in violation of the Agreement. As a result of a dispute between the Union and Roberts regarding the receipt of certain materials, the hearing was delayed until January 9, 1997. Roberts then refused to participate in the hearing. On March 14, 1997, the Joint Committee considered Roberts grievance based on the documentary evidence Roberts had previously submitted. On June 5, 1997, the Joint Committee denied Roberts' grievance.

 The Union has filed the instant Complaint to enforce the award of the Joint Committee. Roberts, in turn, has asserted three counterclaims. Counterclaim one asserts that the Union permitted its members to compete directly with it and other regional contractors, in violation of the Agreement. Counterclaim two seeks to set aside the Joint Committee's decision denying his grievance. Counterclaim three avers that the award of the Joint Committee should be decreased by the amount of lost profits suffered by Roberts as a result of the alleged violation of the Agreement described in counterclaim one.

 Now before the Court is the Union's motion for summary judgment to enforce the award of the Joint Committee, to dismiss Roberts' counterclaims, and for an award of attorneys' fees. Roberts, in ...


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