United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
INTERNATIONAL UNION, UNITED AUTOMOBILE, AEROSPACE AND AGRICULTURAL, IMPLEMENT WORKERS OF AMERICA UAW, et al, Plaintiffs,
TRW AUTOMOTIVE U.S., LLC, Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING IN PART PLAINTIFF’S MOTIONS FOR
ATTORNEY FEES [ECF Nos. 63, 77] and ADOPTING IN PART THE
MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [ECF No.
PAGE HOOD, CHIEF JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Magistrate Judge Mona K.
Majzoub’s Report and Recommendation [ECF No. 82],
entered on August 20, 2019. The Magistrate Judge recommended
that the Court deny Plaintiffs’ Motion for Attorney
Fees and Expenses [ECF No. 63] and Supplemental Motion for
Attorney Fees and Expenses [ECF No. 77] (collectively,
“Motions for Attorney Fees”). Plaintiffs filed
objections to the Report and Recommendation, to which
Defendant filed a response. For the reasons that follow, the
Court adopts the Background section of the Report and
Recommendation, adopts in part the Analysis section of the
Report and Recommendation, and grants in part
Plaintiffs’ Motions for Attorney Fees.
Court finds that the facts and procedural background of this
matter set forth in the Background section of the Report and
Recommendation, see E C F N o . 8 2, P g I D
1642-45, accurately relate the history of this matter. The
Court adopts the Background section and incorporates by
reference into this Order the Background section of the
Report and Recommendation.
ask the Court to award them a total of $384, 470.09 for
attorney fees and costs. Plaintiffs’ Motions for
Attorney Fees rely on Section 1132(g)(1) of ERISA, which
allows the Court, “in its discretion, ” to award
“a reasonable attorney’s fee and costs of action
to either party.” 29 U.S.C. §1132(g)(1). See
also Hardt v. Reliance Standard, 560 U.S. 242,
254-55 (2010) (the court, “in its discretion, ”
may award attorney fees under Section 1132(g)(1) if the
claimant has shown “some degree of success on the
A claimant does not satisfy that requirement [“some
degree of success on the merits”] by achieving
“trivial success on the merits” or a
“purely procedural victor[y], ” but does satisfy
it if the court can fairly call the outcome of the litigation
some success on the merits without conducting a
“lengthy inquir[y] into the question whether a
particular party’s success was
‘substantial’ or occurred on a ‘central
Hardt, 560 U.S. at 255 (citations omitted).
Attorney Fees and Costs Through the Date of the Arbitration
Magistrate Judge noted, the arbitrator denied
Plaintiffs’ request for attorney fees because Paragraph
4.4 of the CBA provides that “each party shall bear the
expense of its own representatives.” Plaintiffs: (1)
did not move to vacate the arbitrator’s decision
denying attorney fees; (2) voluntarily dismissed their appeal
of this Court’s order compelling arbitration [ECF No.
32]; and (3) did not otherwise challenge the denial of an
award of attorney fees and costs for Plaintiffs’
expenses related to the arbitration. For those reasons, the
Court agrees with and adopts the Magistrate Judge’s
conclusion that “Plaintiffs are bound by the
arbitrator’s determination that each side will bear its
own fees through the date of the arbitration award.”
ECF No. 82, PgID 1646.
Court is not persuaded by Plaintiffs’ argument that
this Court’s determination that the arbitrator’s
decision “did not address Plaintiffs’ claims
regarding the ERISA violations” or “preclude a
future request for attorney fees on the ERISA claim”
affords Plaintiffs a right to recover attorney fees on their
ERISA claim. See ECF No. 62, PgID 1373-74. This
Court previously held that the arbitrator “addressed
only whether TRW breached the CBA” and his
“ruling that each party shall bear the expense of its
own representatives . . . necessarily reached only the matter
addressed in arbitration, i.e., the breach of
contract claim . . .” Id. at 1374.
now acknowledge that “[t]he parties decided not to
raise any ERISA issues with the arbitrator.” ECF No.
83, PgID 1652. Plaintiffs concede that only the breach of
contract claim was presented to and decided by the
arbitrator, and Plaintiffs did not challenge the
arbitrator’s ruling that Plaintiffs would bear their
own fees through the date of the arbitration award. As the
ERISA claim was not addressed prior to or at arbitration, the
Court finds no merit in Plaintiffs’ argument that they
are entitled to any attorney fees and costs incurred prior to
the arbitrator’s award for their ERISA claim.
if Plaintiffs are entitled to recover any attorney fees and
costs on their ERISA claim, the Court concludes that
Plaintiffs’ recovery must be limited to attorney fees
and costs ...