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The New York City District Council of Carpenters, Local 4112 v. Modivative Flooring Systems, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. New York

January 17, 2018



          Edgardo Ramos, U.S.D.J.

         This case arises out of two collective bargaining agreements (“CBAs”) between the parties. New York City District Council of Carpenters, Local 4112 (“Plaintiff”) commenced this action to confirm an arbitration award issued against Modivative Flooring Systems, Inc. (“Defendant”). The action was filed under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (“LMRA”), 29 U.S.C. § 185. Plaintiff also seeks attorney's fees and costs. Before the Court is Plaintiff's unopposed motion for summary judgement to confirm the arbitration award. Doc. 12. For the reasons stated below, Plaintiff's motion is GRANTED.

         I. Background

         In 2002, Defendant entered into two CBAs-the Independent Resilient Floor Coverers Agreement (the “Floor Coverers CBA”) and the Independent Building Construction Agreement (the “Building Construction CBA”)-with Plaintiff, covering the time period from July 1, 2001 to June 30, 2006. Pl.'s 56.1 Statement (“Pl.'s 56.1) ¶ 2 . Defendant later signed an agreement extending the terms of the CBAs until the parties negotiate new agreements. Id. at ¶ 3. The CBAs require Defendant to pay certain wages and fringe benefits for all hours of carpentry work performed by its employees within Plaintiff's jurisdiction. Id. at ¶ 4. The CBAs provide that disputes and grievances shall be submitted to arbitration. Id. at ¶ 5. They also provide that the parties will equally bear the costs of arbitration, including the arbitrator's fee, and that the prevailing party is entitled to receive all court costs and reasonable attorney's fees. Id. at ¶ 6.

         Defendant failed to pay four of its employees-Warren Hutchinson, Perry Fairchild, Glenn Clark, and Gleydon Arruda-all required wages and benefits pursuant to the CBAs. Id. at ¶ 7. In December 2011 and January 2012, Plaintiff filed grievances on behalf of the employees, and subsequently filed a demand for arbitration on November 15, 2013. Id. at ¶ 8. A hearing was held before arbitrator Roger Maher on December 18, 2013, with Defendant's president appearing on its behalf. Ex. E. The arbitrator issued an award on February 3, 2014, finding that Defendant had violated the terms of the CBAs and directing it to pay (1) wages to Hutchinson in the amount of $3, 345.52, Fairchild in the amount of $6, 647.02, Clark in the amount of $3, 961.80, and Arruda in the amount of $12, 765.30; (2) fringe benefits to the New York City District Council of Carpenters Benefits Funds (the “Funds”) in the amount of $23, 600.16; and (3) $1, 000, representing one half of the arbitrator's fee. Pl.'s 56.1 at ¶¶ 9-10. The arbitrator further ordered that in the event Defendant failed to comply with the terms of the award and Plaintiff was required to enforce the arbitration award in court, Defendants would be liable for Plaintiff's attorney's fees in the amount of $2, 500. Id. at ¶ 10; Ex. E at 4. Defendant failed to pay any portion of the arbitration award, and Plaintiff commenced this action on March 12, 2014. Doc. 1. Defendant did not answer the complaint or move to vacate the award. Plaintiff moved for summary judgment on June 23, 2017. Doc. 12. To date, Defendant has not responded to Plaintiff's motion or otherwise appeared in this action.

         II. Legal Standard

         A. Federal Arbitration Act

         Confirmation of an arbitral award normally takes the form of a summary proceeding that converts a final arbitration award into a judgment of the court. D.H. Blair & Co., Inc. v. Gottdiener, 462 F.3d at 110 (quoting Florasynth, Inc. v. Pickholz, 750 F.2d 171, 176 (2d Cir. 1984)). The court is required to grant the award unless it is vacated, modified, or corrected. Id. (quoting 9 U.S.C. § 9). Hence, an application for a judicial decree confirming an award receives “streamlined treatment as a motion, obviating the separate contract action that would usually be necessary to enforce or tinker with an arbitral award in court.” Hall St. Associates, L.L.C. v. Mattel, Inc., 552 U.S. 576, 582 (2008).

         In order to promote the goals of arbitration, which consist of “settling disputes efficiently and avoiding long and expensive litigation [, ] “[arbitration awards are subject to very limited review.” Willemijn Houdstermaatschappij, BV v. Standard Microsystems Corp., 103 F.3d 9, 12 (2d Cir. 1997) (quoting Folkways Music Publishers, Inc. v. Weiss, 989 F.2d 108, 111 (2d Cir. 1993)) (internal quotation marks omitted) (alteration in original). It is not necessary that the arbitrator explain the rationale for the award; the award “should be confirmed if a ground for the arbitrator's decision can be inferred from the facts of the case[.]” D.H. Blair & Co., 462 F.3d at 110 (quoting Barbier v. Shear son Lehman Hutton Inc., 948 F.2d 117, 121 (2d Cir. 1991)) (internal quotation marks omitted). In short, as long as there is “a barely colorable justification for the outcome reached[, ]” a court should enforce an arbitration award‒‒even if it disagrees with it on the merits. Landy Michaels Realty Corp. v. Local 32B-32J, Serv. Employees Int 'l Union, AFL-CIO, 954 F.2d 794, 797 (2d Cir. 1992) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted).

         B. Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate where “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “An issue of fact is ‘genuine' if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party.” Senno v. Elmsford Union Free Sch. Dist., 812 F.Supp.2d 454, 467 (S.D.N.Y. 2011) (citing SCR Joint Venture L.P. v. Warshawsky, 559 F.3d 133, 137 (2d Cir. 2009)). A fact is “material” if it might affect the outcome of the litigation under the governing law. Id. The party moving for summary judgment is first responsible for demonstrating the absence of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the burden of proof at trial would fall on the movant, that party's “own submissions in support of the motion must entitle it to judgment as a matter of law.” Albee Tomato, Inc. v. A.B. Shalom Produce Corp., 155 F.3d 612, 618 (2d Cir. 1998). Conversely, “[w]hen the burden of proof at trial would fall on the nonmoving party, it ordinarily is sufficient for the movant to point to a lack of evidence to go to the trier of fact on an essential element of the nonmovant's claim.” Cordiano v. Metacon Gun Club, Inc., 575 F.3d 199, 204 (2d Cir. 2009) (citing Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322-23). If the moving party meets its burden, “the nonmoving party must come forward with admissible evidence sufficient to raise a genuine issue of fact for trial in order to avoid summary judgment.” Jaramillo v. Weyerhaeuser Co., 536 F.3d 140, 145 (2d Cir. 2008) (citing Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322-23).

         In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court must “construe the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and must resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences against the movant.” Brod v. Omya, Inc., 653 F.3d 156, 164 (2d Cir. 2011) (quoting Williams v. R.H. Donnelley, Corp., 368 F.3d 123, 126 (2d Cir. 2004)) (internal quotation marks omitted). Even if a motion for summary judgment is unopposed, courts are required to “review the motion . . . and determine from what it has before it whether the moving party is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law.” Vermont Teddy Bear Co. v. 1-800 Beargram Co., 373 F.3d 241, 246 (2d Cir. 2004) (quoting Custer v. Pan Am. Life Ins. Co., 12 F.3d 410, 416 (4th Cir. 1993)) (internal quotation marks omitted). “[W]hen a nonmoving party chooses the perilous path of failing to submit a response to a summary judgment motion, the district court may not grant the motion without first examining the moving party's submission to determine if it has met its burden of demonstrating that no material issue of fact remains for trial.” Amaker v. Foley, 274 F.3d 677, 681 (2d Cir. 2001).

         III. Discussion

         A. Confirmation of the ...

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