United States District Court, D. Maine
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MACHINISTS AND AEROSPACE WORKERS, DISTRICT LODGE 4, LOCAL LODGE S25, Plaintiff
JDD, INC., Defendant
RECOMMENDED DECISION ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR
C. NIVISON U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
JDD, Inc. (Defendant) seeks to recover the attorneys'
fees it incurred in defending against the motion to vacate an
arbitration award filed by Plaintiff International
Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, District
Lodge 4, Local Lodge S25 (Plaintiff). (Motion, ECF No. 26.)
a review of the record, and after consideration of the
parties' arguments, I recommend the Court deny
and Defendant are parties to a collective bargaining
agreement (CBA). Under the CBA, the parties agreed to
arbitrate a dispute regarding the termination of the
employment of William Mattis, an employee of Defendant. On
March 24, 2017, Plaintiff filed a grievance contesting the
termination. The parties presented the matter to an
arbitrator, who, on December 29, 2017, found that Mr.
Mattis' employment had been terminated in accordance with
the CBA after his leave of absence had expired following a
workplace injury. (ECF No. 19-24.)
subsequently asked this Court to vacate the award.
(Complaint, ECF No.1.) Plaintiff argued that the arbitrator
made unsupported factual findings, mischaracterized the
nature of the dispute, misapplied the law, and improperly
interpreted or rewrote the terms of the CBA. (ECF Nos. 20
& 22.) Plaintiff focused, in part, on the terms of the
CBA's leave of absence provision, which states:
An Employee desiring leave of absence from his employment
shall secure written permission from the Employer. The
maximum leave of absence shall be for (90) days. An extension
of up to six (6) months may be granted when required by
mutual agreement between the employee and Employer.
Permission for leave must be secured from the Employer with a
copy mailed to the Union. Granting of leave of absence shall
be for the following reasons, sickness, death in the
immediate family and in the case of compensation injuries
of occupational disease. …
No. 19-1, CBA Article 11, Section 7 (emphasis added).)
arbitrator concluded that Article 11 governed Mr.
Mattis's leave. A leave of absence under the terms of
Article 11 is available for “sickness, death in the
immediate family and in the case of compensation injuries of
occupational disease.” The arbitrator reasoned that the
concluding phrase, “in the case of compensation
injuries of occupational disease” undoubtedly contained
a typographical error and should be read as “in the
case of compensation injuries or
occupational disease, ” and thus applied to Mr.
arbitrator, therefore, determined that Defendant terminated
Mr. Mattis's employment and insurance coverage in
accordance with the CBA. (ECF No. 19-24, at 10 - 14.)
review of the record, I recommended the Court deny
Plaintiff's request to vacate the arbitration award.
(Recommended Decision, ECF No. 23.) I concluded: “[T]he
arbitrator's interpretation of the contract was within
his authority and represents a reasonable interpretation of
the contract.” (Id., PageID # 278.) I further
To give meaning to the language as written - “in the
case of compensation injuries of occupational disease”
- is challenging. In construing Article 11, the arbitrator
did not, as Plaintiff argues, impermissibly ignore the plain
language or rewrite the agreement. The arbitrator's
interpretation of the language of Article 11 was within his
authority and constituted a “plausible”
interpretation of the agreement.
(Id., PageID # 278-9 (citation omitted).)
Court affirmed the Recommended Decision and denied
Plaintiff's motion to vacate the arbitration award (Order
Affirming Recommended Decision, ECF No. 24), and judgment was
subsequently entered on the Court's order. (Judgment, ECF
No. 25.) ...