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Dauphin Precision Tool, LLC v. United Steel Workers of America

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


May 14, 2008

DAUPHIN PRECISION TOOL, LLC, PLAINTIFF
v.
UNITED STEEL WORKERS OF AMERICA, AFL-CIO, LOCAL UNION 1688-13, DISTRICT NO. 10, DEFENDANT

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Conner

ORDER

AND NOW, this 14th day of May, 2008, upon consideration of the memorandum and order of court dated March 26, 2008 (Doc. 44), which deferred entry of judgment and disposition of defendant's request for attorney's fees pending a formal motion for such relief, and upon further consideration of defendant's subsequent motion requesting a fee award (Doc. 45), and it appearing that attorney's fees in a suit to vacate an arbitration award may be granted if the party seeking vacatur acted without justification or had no "reasonable chance to prevail," see Chauffeurs, Teamsters, & Helpers Local Union No. 765 v. Stroehmann Bros., 625 F.2d 1092, 1094 (3d Cir. 1980); see also Teamsters Local No. 764 v. J.H. Merritt & Co., 770 F.2d 40, 43 n.2 (3d Cir. 1985), and it further appearing that plaintiff challenged the arbitration award on the basis that the arbitrator unreasonably interpreted the ambiguous contractual term "absentee hours," (see id. at 11, 14), and the court concluding that plaintiff presented a colorable argument for an alternative interpretation of the contractual ambiguity in a manner that excluded vacation days from consideration as "absentee hours," (see id. at 44 n.10), and that plaintiff therefore acted in a justifiable manner to advance a claim with a "reasonable chance to prevail," Stroehmann Bros., 625 F.2d at 1094; see also Frolic Footwear v. United Food & Commercial Workers Int'l Union Local 2008, No. J-C-95-241, 1996 WL 885811, at *7 (E.D. Ark. Sept. 18, 1996) (denying award of attorneys fees in a case attempting to vacate arbitration award due to ambiguous contractual language in the contract at issue); Total Warehouse Servs. Corp. v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen, and Helpers, Local 830, No. 93-CV-9260, 1994 WL 161361, at *1 n.2 (E.D. Pa. May 2, 1994) (refusing to award attorney fees because "there [was] a legitimate argument as to whether the arbitrator properly followed the . . . agreement"),*fn1 it is hereby ORDERED that:

1. Defendant's motion for attorney's fees (Doc. 45) is DENIED.

2. The Clerk of Court is directed to enter JUDGMENT in favor of defendant and against plaintiff in the above-captioned matter.

3. The Clerk of Court is directed to CLOSE this case.

CHRISTOPHER C. CONNER United States District Judge


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