This case arose out of an employment dispute between Preeminent Protective Services Inc., which provides security services in and around the District of Columbia, and the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ. When Preeminent took over a contract, it refused to hire two guards who had previously worked there. The union claimed the refusal violated a collective bargaining agreement.
The union filed a petition to compel arbitration of that claim in federal court in the District of Columbia. In May 2018, the district court granted summary judgment to the union and ordered the parties to arbitrate. After Preeminent stalled the arbitration for more than a year, the district court held Preeminent in contempt for failing to comply, and awarded $51,000 in costs and attorneys’ fees to the union based on a “lodestar” figure, reflecting the number of hours worked by each union lawyer multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate for each lawyer.
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