McKinney Restoration Co. v. Illinois Dist. Council No. 1, Intern. Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers
Issue Discussed: “Interim” v. “Final” Decisions
Submitted by Aluyah I. Imoisili, H. Josh Ji*
Date Promulgated: December 15, 2004
McKinney Restoration Co. v. Illinois Dist. Council No. 1, Intern. Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, 392 F.3d 867 (7th Cir. 2004)
Court: United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
Issues Decided: Whether the filing of a second claim for arbitration on separate but related issues affects the finality of the prior claim.
This case between a labor union (the “Union”) and three companies (the “Companies”) involved two, separate arbitrations. The first arbitration concerned a grievance filed by the Union against the Companies for alleged violations of a collective bargaining agreement; the panel found in favor of the Union on this claim. After the parties failed to comply with the award, the Union filed a second grievance against the owner of the Companies (“Employer”). The arbitration panel again ruled in favor of the Union, holding Employer jointly liable for the first award. Employer filed challenged both awards in the district court within the statutory limitations period for the second award, but the beyond the limitations period for the first award. The Union, in response, sought to confirm the awards. The district court held that the first award was final, and thus, Employer’s challenge was late.
The Seventh Circuit held that the first award was final at the time it was issued because the “assignment was completed”—the panel determined liability and imposed a remedy, and did not retain jurisdiction to decide any additional issues. Thus, the statute of limitations to challenge the first award started to run at the issuance of the award. The filing of the second grievance did not affect the time for filing a petition to vacate the first award. Because the challenge was filed after the statutory period for the first award, it was untimely.
An award is final once there has been a determination of liabilities and remedies, and the arbitrator has relinquished jurisdiction over the matter. The statutory period to challenge the award runs when it is issued, notwithstanding subsequent, related claims.
* Aluyah I. Imoisili is a Partner and H. Josh Ji is an Associate at Greenberg Gross LLP, where they specialize in commercial litigation and arbitration.