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Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters v. Kattan & Kattan General Contractors Incorporated

February 9, 2006

CHICAGO REGIONAL COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS AND UNITED BROTHERHOOD OF CARPENTERS AND JOINERS OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
KATTAN & KATTAN GENERAL CONTRACTORS INCORPORATED AND KATTAN & KATTAN GROUP, INC., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles P. Kocoras, Chief District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the Court on Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment. Plaintiffs, Chicago Regional Counsel of Carpenters and United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America ("Unions"), seek summary judgment confirming an arbitration award and, in addition, request that we grant fees and costs incurred in enforcing said award. Kattan & Kattan General Contractors, Inc. and Kattan & Kattan Group, Inc. (collectively referred to as "Defendants") seek summary judgment vacating the award as to Kattan & Kattan Group, Inc. For the following reasons, we grant Unions' Motion for Summary Judgment, deny their request for fees and costs without prejudice and deny Defendants' Motion.

BACKGROUND

The relevant facts are taken from the parties' Local Rule 56.1 ("L.R.56.1") filings. As is the practice in this district, we only consider those facts or additional facts presented in conformity with L.R. 56.1. The alleged facts not properly before us or unsupported by the record have been disregarded. See Brasic v. Heinemann's Inc., 121 F.3d 281, 284 (7th Cir.1997).*fn1

Unions are unincorporated labor organizations as defined under § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 185, with their principal places of business in Chicago, Illinois. Defendants are Illinois corporations with their principal places of business in Chicago, Illinois, and are signatory to the Chicago Regional of Carpenters' Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA"). Hilda Alfaro is the president of Kattan & Kattan Group, Inc., and Gustavo Kattan is the president of Kattan & Kattan General Contractors, Inc.

In a letter dated March 24, 2005, Unions renewed a request for arbitration, pursuant to the CBA, against Defendants by demanding records pertaining to the wage dispute of Gerardo Peralto and a July 1999 to March 2000 Wage & Hour Audit. That demand cautioned Defendants that failure to produce said records would result in the admission of Unions' claim pursuant to the CBA.

Subsequently, Unions requested from the Arbitrator an arbitration hearing date. The Arbitrator suggested possible dates, and on April 13, 2005, Unions faxed their May 26, 2005 choice to the Arbitrator, Hilda Alfaro and Gustavo Kattan. Copies of the demand for hearing and the Arbitrator's proposed hearing dates were also included.

In a letter dated April 18, 2005, Unions requested a conference call with the Arbitrator and the Defendants. On the day of the conference call, the Arbitrator and Unions' attorney called the single telephone number listed for Kattan & Kattan Group, Inc., Kattan & Kattan General Contractors, Inc., Hilda Alfaro and Gustavo Kattan. They were informed that Hilda Alfaro was unavailable and that Gustavo Kattan was "out in the field." Consequently, the Arbitrator suggested that Unions issue subpoenas for the requested documents. Unions did so on April 27, 2005, but the Defendants failed to comply.

On May 19, 2005, the Arbitrator noted in a letter that it was apparent Defendants did not intend to participate in the arbitration hearing, and that unless they did so within ten (10) days, a directed verdict would be issued pursuant to Unions' request. Defendants again failed to respond, and on June 2, 2005, the Arbitrator issued a directed verdict and awarded Unions penalties, pursuant to Article 18.1 of the CBA, for failure to respond to repeated requests for the documents necessary to proceed to arbitration. Unions demanded payment of the arbitration award from Defendants on June 8, 2005. Again Defendants failed to respond.

On July 7, 2005, Unions brought the instant suit to collect the arbitration award and, on December 1, 2005, filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment. Subsequently, on December 22, 2005, Defendants filed their Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment contesting Kattan & Kattan Group, Inc.'s liability.

LEGAL STANDARDS

Summary judgment is appropriate only if there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247, 106 S.Ct. 2505 (1986). In seeking a grant of summary judgment, the moving party must identify "those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548 (1986) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)). This initial burden may be satisfied by presenting specific evidence on a particular issue or by pointing out "an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. Once the movant has met this burden, the non-moving party cannot simply rest on the allegations in the pleadings, but "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). A "genuine issue" in the context of a motion for summary judgment is not simply a "metaphysical doubt as to the material facts," Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348 (1986); rather, "[a] genuine issue exists when the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could find for the non-movant." Buscaglia v. United States, 25 F.3d 530, 534 (7th Cir.1994). When reviewing the record we must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-movant; however, "we are not required to draw every conceivable inference from the record-only those inferences that are reasonable." Bank Leumi Le-Israel, B.M. v. Lee, 928 F.2d 232, 236 (7th Cir.1991).

When parties file cross-motions for summary judgment, each motion must be assessed independently, and denial of one does not necessitate the grant of the other.

M. Snower & Co. v. United States, 140 F.2d 367, 369 (7th Cir.1944). Rather, each motion evidences only that the movant believes it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the issues within its motion and that trial is the appropriate course of action if the court disagrees with that assessment. Miller v. LeSea Broad., Inc., 87 F.3d ...


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