Articles Posted in U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

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The Union sought to set aside an arbitration award that ruled in favor of the MADA and several member car dealerships. At issue was the transition between the 2006 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and the 2010 CBA and its impact on above-scale time allowances for hybrid car warranty and recall work. The district court granted defendants' motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). The court agreed with the district court and found that the arbitrator was "warranted" in determining the CBA's plain language to be "silent or ambiguous with respect to the disputed issue - how the above-scale time allowances could be legitimately terminated." With MADA's attorney's unrebutted testimony and the letters documenting other dealerships' similar conduct to help the parties' past practice with respect to the ambiguous CBA language at issue, the court concluded that the arbitration award drew its essence from the CBA. Therefore, the court found no basis to vacate the arbitration award. The court affirmed the district court's order granting MADA's motion to dismiss with prejudice. View "Garage Maintenance, etc. v. Greater Metropolitan, etc., et al." on Justia Law

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After BIVI discharged an employee for falsifying work records, the Union grieved the discharge. BIVI and the Union submitted the dispute to arbitration, the arbitrator ordered that the employee be reinstated without back pay, and BIVI commenced this action to vacate the arbitration award. The district court granted summary judgment to the Union and BIVI appealed. The court concluded that the arbitrator's award drew its essence from the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) where BIVI's Article VIII, Section 3(d) argument was waived and where the arbitrator conducted a straightforward balancing of the management rights and just cause provisions. The court also concluded that BIVI has not made the factual and legal showing that would be required for the court to invoke the narrow public policy exemption and vacate an arbitration award that fully acknowledged the employee's misconduct, denied her back pay as a result of that misconduct, but reinstated her to her former position. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica v. UFCW" on Justia Law

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This case concerned a dispute involving certain equipment Dakota purchased from the Kloster division of Tromley. On appeal, Tromley appealed the district court's denial of its motion to compel arbitration. Because the arbitration provision was not readily available and because Dakota did not have a reasonable opportunity to reject it, Tromley could not establish the necessary consent to bind Dakota to that provision. Further, the emails exchanged between Dakota and Tromley in June and July 2010 did not constitute an addendum to their agreement which successfully incorporated the arbitration agreement where the court could not say that the parties mutually assented to modify their agreement to include the provision. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Dakota Foundry, Inc. v. Tromley Industrial Holding" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a putative class action suit against CMH Homes, Vanderbilt and others in state court. The companies subsequently filed a petition in the district court alleging that plaintiffs' claims were subject to mandatory arbitration. The district court dismissed the petition. The companies argued that the district court erred by concluding that it lacked diversity jurisdiction. The court concluded that the district court correctly reasoned that Vaden undermined Advance America and required the court's departure from that precedent. Following the Vaden approach, the district court properly looked through the arbitration petition to the state court complaint to determine the amount in controversy. Nonetheless, the court remanded for the district court to calculate an amount in controversy and to determine on that basis whether it had jurisdiction over the putative class action under 28 U.S.C. 1332(d)(2). View "CMH Homes, Inc., et al. v. Goodner, et al." on Justia Law

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The Unions filed a grievance against Alcan, claiming that Alcan violated a collective bargaining agreement. On appeal, the Unions challenged the district court's order vacating the arbitrator's award of severance pay. The court reversed the judgment because a federal court must defer to the arbitrator's interpretation where the arbitrator was at least arguably construing or applying the collective bargaining agreement. The court denied the Unions' request for attorneys' fees. Alcan acted promptly to seek an order vacating the arbitration award and the company did not act dishonestly or in bad faith. View "Alcan Packaging Co. v. Graphic Communications, et al." on Justia Law

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This appeal stemmed from a dispute between the Union and Carlisle over the arbitrability of a grievance concerning disability benefits. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Carlisle and denied the Union's cross-motion for summary judgment. The court concluded that Carlisle's claim for declaratory judgment was barred by the doctrine of res judicata where there was no basis for the district court to conclude that the Union acquiesced in the splitting of Carlisle's claims. Therefore, the Union did not waive its right to rely on the doctrine of res judicata. Accordingly, the court vacated the order and remanded with directions to dismiss Carlisle's action View "Carlisle Power Trans. Products v. United Steel, etc." on Justia Law

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The Union filed a grievance on behalf of a nurse terminated by the Hospital, alleging that the Hospital lacked "just cause" to terminate. The court concluded that the arbitrator did not exceed his authority by awarding reinstatement and back-pay; the manner in which the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expired had no effect on the arbitrator's authority; the circumstances of the Union's decertification and the CBA's expiration were known to, and expressly considered by the arbitrator in making his award; and there was no basis to conclude that the arbitrator's exercise of his remedial authority failed to "draw its essence" from the CBA. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment confirming the arbitration award. View "Midwest Division - LSH, LLC v. Nurses United For Improved Patient Care" on Justia Law

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AEGIS, an insurer, appealed from the district court's denial of its motion to compel alternative dispute resolution in its dispute with UEC. The court agreed with the district court that by agreeing in the endorsement of the contract to submit to the jurisdiction of Missouri state courts, AEGIS agreed to have any dispute relating to the insurance or to the claim resolved in those courts. Thus, the endorsement entirely supplanted the condition's mandatory arbitration provision. Even if the policy as a whole were ambiguous as to the mandatory arbitration, the court concluded that UEC would still prevail because it would be entitled to have the ambiguity resolved in its favor. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Union Electric Co. v. AEGIS Energy Syndicate 1225" on Justia Law

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NSP sought to vacate an arbitration award, arguing that the arbitrator exceeded his authority under a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the Union to grant an award after first determining that NSP had just cause for making its termination decision. The court held that the language of the arbitrator's decision was sufficient to show that the arbitrator found the termination was supported by just cause. Having answered the first submitted question in the affirmative, the arbitrator had no authority to address the second question of remedy or to fashion a remedy different than the termination. Therefore, the district court properly vacated the arbitrator's award for reaching beyond his authority under the CBA. View "Northern States Power Co. v. IBEW, Local 160" on Justia Law

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After Nada Payich's death, her son, Ivan Payich, sued Sorensen for negligent care of Nada, among other claims. Sorensen subsequently appealed the district court's denial of its application to compel arbitration in the suit filed by Ivan, the Special Administrator for the Estate of Nada Payich. On appeal, Sorensen argued that Nada was a third-party beneficiary of an Arbitration Agreement between Sorensen and Ivan and that the Estate was therefore compelled to arbitrate its claims. The court affirmed the judgment because it found no clear error in the district court's determination that Sorensen failed to prove it executed a valid contract with Ivan. View "GGNSC Omaha Oak Grove, LLC v. Payich" on Justia Law