Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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In 2013, Scheurer applied to work at Richelieu which outsourced its staffing needs to Remedy, a temporary staffing agency. The application form she signed with Remedy for placement with Richelieu contained an arbitration agreement. She was assigned to work for Richelieu, but that assignment ended after some months. About a year later, Remedy placed Scheurer with Fromm. Scheurer alleges that while working at Fromm, her supervisor sexually harassed her and that Fromm took no serious action to address the sexual harassment and instead fired her. Fromm tried to arrange a work situation that would have separated Scheurer from the supervisor, but when that proved “impossible,” Fromm asked Remedy to assign Scheurer to another client. Scheurer filed suit against Fromm, but not Remedy, alleging sexual harassment and retaliation, 42 U.S.C. 2000e‐2(a)(1) & 2000e‐3(a). Fromm argued that arbitration should be compelled under the contract law principle of equitable estoppel and because Fromm was a third‐party beneficiary of the Remedy agreement. The district court denied Fromm’s motion. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. There was no basis for finding that Fromm relied on Scheurer’s arbitration agreement since Fromm did not even know about it and Fromm was not a third‐party beneficiary of Remedy’s agreement with Scheurer. View "Scheurer v. Fromm Family Foods, LLC" on Justia Law

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Hyatt and Local 1 are parties to a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that prohibits the hotel’s managerial employees from performing work normally performed by bargaining-unit employees absent an emergency. The CBA provides for the arbitration of any disputes not resolved by the grievance procedure. In 2013-2014, there were several incidents in which managers performed bargaining-unit work in circumstances that Local 1 did not regard as emergencies. The union took grievances to arbitration; both resulted in awards in Local 1's favor. Ninety days passed without Hyatt filing a petition to vacate; the union filed a petition to confirm the awards (Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 185(a)). The union alleged that Hyatt “has failed and refused and continues to fail and refuse to comply with” the awards. Local 1 cited 41 examples of managers allegedly performing bargaining unit work in 2015. The Seventh Circuit affirmed confirmation of the awards, rejecting Hyatt’s argument that the matter was either moot or did not present an appropriate case for confirmation. The district court’s “modest action” places the court’s contempt power behind the prospective relief ordered by the arbitrators, while reserving the merits of pending or future grievances for arbitration. Local 1 has conceded that any contempt petition would be based solely on the outcome of arbitrations post-dating the confirmation order. Confirming the awards does not undermine the agreement to resolve disputes through arbitration. View "Unite Here Local 1 v. Hyatt Corp." on Justia Law

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Hunt worked as a truck driver. In 2010, he signed an Independent Contractor Operating Agreement with Moore Brothers, a small Norfolk, Nebraska company. Three years later, Hunt and Moore renewed the Agreement. Before the second term expired, however, relations between the parties soured. Hunt hired Attorney Rine. Rine filed suit in federal court, although the Agreements contained arbitration clauses. Rine resisted arbitration, arguing that the clause was unenforceable as a matter of Nebraska law. Tired of what it regarded as a flood of frivolous arguments and motions, the district court granted Moore’s motion for sanctions under 28 U.S.C. 1927 and ordered Rine to pay Moore about $7,500. The court later dismissed the action without prejudice. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. It was within the district court’s broad discretion, in light of all the circumstances, to impose a calibrated sanction on Rine for her conduct of the litigation, culminating in the objectively baseless motion she filed in opposition to arbitration. View "James Hunt v. Moore Brothers, Inc." on Justia Law