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Vhs University Laboratories, Inc. v. Local 283 of The International Brotherhood of Teamsters

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

February 17, 2015

VHS UNIVERSITY LABORATORIES, INC., d/b/a DMC UNIVERSITY LABORATORIES, Plaintiff,
v.
LOCAL 283 OF THE INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS, WAREHOUSEMEN, AND HELPERS OF AMERICA, Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND TO ARBITRATORS FOR HEARINGS ON THE MERITS AND DENYING MOTION FOR STAY OF ENFORCEMENT PENDING APPEAL

GERALD E. ROSEN, Chief District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter is presently before the Court on the Plaintiff's post-judgment "Motion for Remand to Arbitrators for Hearings on the Merits and Motion for Stay of Enforcement Pending Appeal and for Waiver of Supersedeas Bond." Defendant has responded and Plaintiff has replied. Having reviewed and considered Plaintiff's Motion, the parties' briefs, and the entire record of this matter, the Court has determined that oral argument is not necessary. Therefore, pursuant to Eastern District of Michigan Local Rule 7.1(f)(2), this matter will be decided "on the briefs."

II. BACKGROUND

This matter came before the Court on the Complaint of Plaintiff VHS University Laboratories, Inc. d/b/a DMC University Laboratories ("DMC") seeking an order to vacate an arbitration award rendered by the Industrial Board Arbitration Committee (the "Industrial Board"), the parties' agreed-upon arbitrator to decide grievances at the third step of their collectively-bargained grievance procedure. Specifically, DMC asked the Court to vacate a decision rendered by the Industrial Board on August 19, 2013, with respect to 24 grievances concerning holiday pay submitted by the Union on behalf of DMC laboratory technicians, which stated:

Based upon the fact that the Company has failed to pay grievance fees re: last month's board hearing, and the Company further being notified per said decisions as to when they had to pay, the grievance being read into the record, the Company is held in default per Rule 10 of the Rules of Procedure.

[Complaint, ¶ 6 and Ex. 2; see also First Amended Complaint, ¶ 6].[1]

On October 24, 2014, this Court entered an Order and Judgment enforcing the default awards.

On November 5, 2014, Plaintiff filed the instant "Motion for Remand to Arbitrators for Hearings on the Merits and Motion for Stay of Enforcement Pending Appeal and for Waiver of Supersedeas Bond."

III. DISCUSSION

A. MOTION TO REMAND TO ARBITRATORS

In this motion, Plaintiff first asks the Court to issue an order remanding the holiday pay dispute to "full and binding" arbitration, on the merits, as provided in Step 4 of the Grievance Procedure set forth in the CBA, and that it remand to arbitration before the Industrial Board four individual non-holiday pay grievances that were never appealed to the third step of the Grievance Procedure. DMC claims that because it has now paid the arbitration fees for which it was defaulted by the Industrial Board, the Court should order that the issues underlying the grievances now be decided by the arbitrators "on the merits." The Court lacks authority to grant the relief requested.

A court may only remand a case back to the arbitrator when the arbitration award is ambiguous. NCR Corp. v. Sac-Co, Inc., 43 F.3d 1076, 1081 (6th Cir. 1995). To justify remand, however, the ambiguity must be in the award itself. United Steelworkers of America Local 4839 v. New Idea Farm Equipment Corp., 917 F.2d 964, 968 (6th Cir. 1990). Where the award is not ambiguous, a district court's remand to arbitration is not proper. M & C Corp. v. Erwin Behr GmbH & Co., 143 F.3d 1033, 1039 (6th Cir. 1998); see also United Steelworkers of America, Dist. 36, Local 8249 v. Adbill Management Corp., 754 F.2d 138, 142 (3rd Cir. 1985) (holding district court's remand improper because award was unambiguous); Ottley v. Schwartzberg, 819 F.2d 373, 376 (2nd Cir. 1987) (district court remand order reversed where there was nothing ambiguous or improper in the arbitrator's award).

There is no ambiguity in the Industrial Board's awards here. The awards found the DMC in default, which resulted in the grievances being decided in the grievants' favor. DMC attempts to make out a right to an order for remand claiming that holding DMC in "default" is ...


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