United States District Court, S.D. New York
TRUSTEES OF THE NEW YORK CITY DISTRICT COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS PENSION FUND, WELFARE FUND, ANNUITY FUND, and APPRENTICESHIP, JOURNEYMAN RETRAINING, EDUCATIONAL AND INDUSTRY FUND, TRUSTEES OF THE NEW YORK CITY CARPENTERS RELIEF AND CHARITY FUND, THE NEW YORK CITY AND VICINITY CARPENTERS LABOR-MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, and the NEW YORK CITY DISTRICT COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS, Petitioners,
PREMIER CONCRETE SERVICES INC., Respondent.
AMENDED ORDER AND OPINION
VALERIE CAPRONI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Petitioners, which include Trustees of the New York City
District Council of Carpenters Pension Fund, Welfare Fund,
Annuity Fund, and Apprenticeship, Journeyman Retraining,
Education and Industry Fund; Trustees of the New York City
Carpenters Relief and Charity Fund; the New York City and
Vicinity Carpenters Labor-Management Corporation; and the New
York City District Council of Carpenters
(“Petitioners”), seek confirmation of an
arbitration award entered against Respondent, Premier
Concrete Services, Inc., as well as attorneys' fees and
costs, pursuant to Section 301 of the Labor Management
Relations Act (“LMRA”), 29 U.S.C. § 185. For
the reasons stated below, the petition is granted.
in this matter seek to enforce an arbitration award of $24,
126.86 plus interest against Respondent, entered pursuant to
the parties' applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Petition to Confirm Arbitration Award
(“Petition”) [Dkt. 1] ¶¶ 4-8, 17-22;
Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) [Dkt.
1-4]. According to the Petition, Respondent became bound by
the CBA in connection with a development project in 2014.
Petition ¶¶ 9-11. The CBA requires Respondent to
contribute to a set of fringe benefit funds (the
“Funds”) for every hour worked by a covered union
employee, and allows the Funds to audit Respondent to ensure
compliance with its contribution obligations. Id.
¶¶ 12-13; CBA Art. XI §§ 1,
The CBA further permits arbitration of a dispute over such
contributions, which may result in the award of unpaid
contributions, interest, liquidated damages, attorneys'
fees, costs, and other relief. Petition ¶¶ 14-15;
CBA Art. XI § 7A(f), (g).
audit revealed that Respondent had failed to make required
contributions from April 12, 2014 through March 31, 2015,
prompting arbitration. Petition ¶¶ 16-17. The
arbitrator found that Respondent violated the CBA and
required Respondent to pay $24, 126.86 plus 5.75% interest
accruing thereafter; payment remains outstanding.
Id. ¶¶ 18-21; Opinion and Default Award of
Arbitrator (“Award”) [Dkt. 1-6].
Arbitration Award was Proper
301 of the [LMRA] provides federal courts with jurisdiction
over petitions brought to confirm labor arbitration
awards.” Local 802, Associated Musicians of Greater
N.Y. v. Parker Meridien Hotel, 145 F.3d 85, 88 (2d Cir.
1998) (citation omitted). “Normally, confirmation of an
arbitration award is a summary proceeding that merely makes
what is already a final arbitration award a judgment of the
court, . . . and the court must grant the award unless the
award is vacated, modified, or corrected.” D.H.
Blair & Co. v. Gottdiener, 462 F.3d 95, 110 (2d Cir.
2006) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).
court's “review of an arbitration award under the
LMRA is . . . very limited.” Nat'l Football League
Mgmt. Council v. Nat'l Football League Players
Ass'n, 820 F.3d 527, 536 (2d Cir. 2016) (quoting
Major League Baseball Players Ass'n v. Garvey,
532 U.S. 504, 509 (2001)) (internal quotation marks omitted).
A court may not “review the arbitrator's decision
on the merits despite allegations that the decision rests on
factual errors or misinterprets the parties' agreement,
but inquire[s] only as to whether the arbitrator acted within
the scope of his authority as defined by the collective
bargaining agreement.” Id. The court's
“task is simply to ensure that the arbitrator was
‘even arguably construing or applying the contract and
acting within the scope of his authority' and did not
‘ignore the plain language of the contract.'”
Id. at 537 (quoting United Paperworkers
Int'l Union, AFL-CIO v. Misco, Inc., 484 U.S. 29, 38
(1987)). “As long as the award draws its essence from
the collective bargaining agreement and is not merely the
arbitrator's own brand of industrial justice, it must be
confirmed.” Id. (quoting Int'l Bhd. of
Elec. Workers, Local 97 v. Niagara Mohawk Power
Corp., 143 F.3d 704, 714 (2d Cir. 1998)) (internal
quotation marks omitted). “Generally speaking, unless
the award is procured through fraud or dishonesty, the
decision should not be disturbed.” Local 97, Int'l
Bhd. of Elec. Workers, A.F.L.-C.I.O. v. Niagara Mohawk
Power Corp., 196 F.3d 117, 124 (2d Cir. 1999) (citation
petition to confirm an arbitration award is unopposed, courts
generally treat the petition and accompanying record like a
motion for summary judgment; as with an unopposed summary
judgment motion, an unopposed confirmation petition must be
granted unless the undisputed facts fail to show that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See
D.H. Blair & Co, 462 F.3d at 109-10. “[E]ven where
a non-moving party fails to respond to a motion for summary
judgment, . . . [i]f the evidence submitted in support of the
summary judgment motion does not meet the movant's burden
of production, then summary judgment must be denied even if
no opposing evidentiary matter is presented.” D.H.
Blair, 462 F.3d at 109-10 (quoting Vermont Teddy Bear Co.
v. 1-800 Beargram Co., 373 F.3d 241, 244 (2d Cir. 2004))
(emphasis in original).
Court has reviewed Petitioner's submissions and finds
that they provide undisputed evidence that Respondent failed
to make the required payments, and show that the
arbitrator's award was properly within the scope of his
authority. Petitioners' motion is thus granted
and the award is confirmed.
Reimbursement of Attorneys' Fees and Costs is Warranted
also seek reimbursement for attorneys' fees and costs.
See Petition ¶¶ 23-32, and at 7. While
attorneys' fees and costs are generally not recoverable
from an opposing party, courts have used their inherent
powers to award them in successful petitions to confirm
arbitration awards “when a challenger refuses to abide
by an arbitrator's decision without justification . . .
.” Trustees of the New York City Dist. Council of
Carpenters Pension Fund v. Coastal Envtl. Grp., Inc.,
No. 1:16-CV-6004-GHW, 2016 WL 7335672, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. Dec.
16, 2016) (quoting Int'l Chem. Workers Union, Local
No. 227 v. BASF Wyandotte Corp., 774 F.2d 43, 47 (2d
Cir. 1985)) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Court finds that an award of fees and costs is justified.
Respondent was bound by the CBA to submit disputes over
contributions to the Funds to arbitration. Respondent failed
to participate in the arbitration proceeding, failed to
participate in the instant matter, and has not paid the
arbitration award. Additionally, the CBA entitles Petitioners
to reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred in
collecting delinquent contributions. See Petition
¶ 23; CBA Art. XI § 7A(f). Respondent has failed to
justify its refusal to abide by the arbitrator's
decision, warranting the award of reasonable fees and costs.
Petitioners seek $570 in attorneys' fees for 2.4 hours of
work, along with ...