Sixth Circuit Concludes District Court Lacked Authority to Award Attorneys’ Fees Following Arbitration

The Sixth Circuit recently reversed a district court’s decision to award attorneys’ fees after the Circuit concluded that the claim on which the fees were awarded was subject to mandatory arbitration, and noted that the arbitrator had not awarded any fees for that claim.

Members of the UAW union sued TRW Automotive U.S. LLC for breach of contract and violations of ERISA claiming that TRW violated a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) when it changed their health care coverage. The district court compelled arbitration pursuant to a clause in the CBA that provided in relevant part that arbitration “shall be the exclusive remedy for the enforcement by [the union] of any claim against the Company.” The arbitrator ruled in favor of the union workers.

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