May 22, 2019

Tenth Circuit: Action to Vacate Arbitration Award Untimely

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion in United Food & Commercial Workers International Union v. King Soopers on Friday, February 28, 2014.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Local No. 7 (the Union) sued King Soopers, Inc. under § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (LMRA), 29 U.S.C. § 185, to enforce an arbitration award. The United States District Court for the District of Colorado ruled that the award did not draw its essence from the Union’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with King Soopers and refused to enforce it.  The Union appealed.

The Tenth Circuit reversed. This appeal was controlled by the court’s decision in Babcock & Wilcox, 826 F.2d 962. Although King Soopers could have brought a timely action to vacate the award on the ground adopted by the district court, it did not do so. The passing of the 90-day time limitation period for an action to vacate an arbitration award completely barred, in a subsequent confirmation proceeding, the raising of defenses that could have been raised as grounds to vacate the award. King Soopers could therefore not raise that defense against the Union’s action to enforce the award. For the same reason, the court also held that King Soopers could not raise the defense that the arbitrator lacked authority to impose a remedy.

Based on the untimelinessof King Soopers’ challenge, the Tenth Circuit REVERSED with instructions to enforce the award.

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