General Teamsters Local 439 et al., v. Leprino Foods Company

Filing 22

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER signed by Senior Judge Morrison C. England, Jr. on 01/07/22 DENYING 6 Motion to Compel Arbitration and GRANTING 12 Motion for Sanctions with the amount of sanctions to be determined. Not later 14 days, Defendant shall file an updated declaration with itemized amounts based on the actual hours incurred during the course of these proceedings. Plaintiff may, but is not required to, file a response within 7 days after Defendant's declaration is filed. (Benson, A.)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 GENERAL TEAMSTERS LOCAL #439, affiliated with INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, 13 Plaintiff, 14 15 No. 2:21-cv-00563-MCE-CKD MEMORANDUM AND ORDER v. LEPRINO FOODS COMPANY, 16 Defendant. 17 On March 4, 2021, Plaintiff General Teamsters Local #439 (“Plaintiff”) filed a 18 19 Petition to Compel Arbitration (“Petition”) in the Superior Court of California, County of 20 San Joaquin, against Defendant Leprino Foods Company (“Defendant”), seeking to 21 order Defendant “to submit the outstanding dispute to the grievance and arbitration 22 procedures set forth in the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement . . . and to 23 otherwise comply with the grievance and arbitration procedures required by said 24 agreement . . . .” Ex. 1, Not. Removal, ECF No. 1, at 9. Defendant timely removed the 25 Petition to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Presently before the Court are two 26 motions: (1) Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Arbitration, ECF No. 6, and (2) Defendant’s 27 Motion for Sanctions pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11, ECF No. 12. For 28 /// 1 1 the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Arbitration is DENIED, and 2 Defendant’s Motion for Sanctions is GRANTED.1 3 4 BACKGROUND 5 6 A. 7 Plaintiff and Defendant are parties to a written collective bargaining agreement Collective Bargaining Agreement 8 (“CBA”), which was in effect at all times relevant to the pending Motions. See generally 9 Ex. A, Not. Removal, ECF No. 1, at 10–96. Section 19.A of the CBA titled “Job Bidding” 10 provides, in relevant part, the following: 11 The working foreperson position shall be considered an assignment rather than a job classification for purposes of Sections 18 and 19 of this Agreement. The designation of employees for such assignments is the exclusive right of the Employer and is not subject to review under this Agreement. For purposes of layoff, bumping, disqualification or resignation of the working foreperson assignment, the working foreperson shall be considered to have remained within the classification previously held and reclaim his/her previously held position, provided that position is not held by a higher senior employee. If a higher senior employee is holding the position or the job has been eliminated, the employee will bump in accordance with Section 18 (D) 2. 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 The Employer shall consider candidates in the following order, but the Employer shall be the sole judge both of the employee’s qualifications and of their suitability to the position in question, and no such judgment concerning the Employer’s requirements shall be subject to the review under any provision of the Agreement (the Employer shall post a list to afford employees the opportunity to indicate their interest in working foreperson assignments). 19 20 21 22 (1) The Foreperson selection process shall be as follows when a vacancy occurs: 23 24 (a) The Department Manager will ask each of the current department forepersons, in order of seniority, if they are interested in the vacancy. 25 26 /// 27 1 28 Because oral argument would not be of material assistance, the Court ordered these matters submitted on the briefs. E.D. Local Rule 230(g). 2 1 (b) If any of the existing department forepersons have an interest they would be awarded the position, by seniority, and then an interest list for the final vacancy will be posted. 2 3 (2) For working foreperson assignments in the maintenance department, the Employer shall consider first employees with at least three (3) months experience in the plant; if no such employee meets the Employer’s requirements, the Employer shall consider employees with less than three (3) months experience in the plant; 4 5 6 (3) For working foreperson assignments in all other departments in the plant, the Employer shall consider first employees with at least one (1) year experience in Bracket 2 or 3; if no such employee meets the Employer’s requirements, the Employer shall next consider employees with at least one (1) year experience in Brackets 4 or 5; if no such employee meets the Employer’s requirements for working foreperson in the Processing Department, the Employer shall consider first employees with one (1) year experience in the plant; if no such employee meets the Employer’s requirements, then the Employer shall consider the employees with less than one (1) year experience in the plant. 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Working Foreperson with the most plant seniority that is capable of performing the job will be retained for the purpose of layoff and bumping procedures. 14 15 Id. at 28–29 (emphases added). 16 B. 17 In 2018, Plaintiff previously brought a lawsuit against Defendant in this Court, 18 seeking to compel Defendant to arbitrate a grievance pursuant to section 301 of the 19 Labor Management Relations Act (“LMRA”), codified at 29 U.S.C. § 185. See generally 20 Teamsters Local 439 v. Leprino Foods Co., No. 2:18-cv-00280-MCE-CKD (E.D. Cal. 21 2018) (“2018 Action”).2 The 2018 Action involved a grievance filed by Plaintiff and an 22 employee of Defendant, Ms. Rita Shah, alleging that Defendant violated, in part, Section 23 19 of the CBA by awarding the foreperson position to a different employee without first Prior Lawsuit 24 25 26 27 28 2 Defendant asks the Court to take judicial notice of seven documents from the 2018 Action. ECF No. 13-2 (“RJN”). Plaintiff does not oppose Defendant’s request. See Pl.’s Reply Mot. Compel Arbitration, ECF No. 16, at 10. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 201(b), “[t]he court may judicially notice a fact that is not subject to reasonable dispute because it: (1) is generally known within the trial court’s territorial jurisdiction; or (2) can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.” A court may take judicial notice of matters of public record. Lee v. City of L.A., 250 F.3d 668, 689 (9th Cir. 2001). Because these documents are the proper subject of judicial notice, Defendant’s Request for Judicial Notice is GRANTED. 3 1 offering Ms. Shah the opportunity to bid for that position. See Ex. A, Def.’s RJN, ECF 2 No. 13-2, at 4–92. Defendant subsequently moved to dismiss the complaint on grounds 3 that Section 19 of the CBA expressly excludes Plaintiff’s grievance from the CBA’s 4 arbitration provisions. See Ex. B, Def.’s RJN, ECF No. 13-2, at 94–105. 5 6 On June 8, 2018, this Court granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss for the following reasons: 7 The CBA is clear that “[t]he designation of employees for ‘working foreperson’ assignments is the exclusive right of the Employer and is not subject to review under this Agreement.” ECF No. 1–2 at 15 (emphasis added). It then reiterates that “no . . . judgment concerning the Employer’s requirements shall be subject to the review under any provision of the Agreement.” Id. As such, Defendant’s decision to designate another employee as foreperson in lieu of Plaintiff is not arbitrable. 8 9 10 11 12 17 Plaintiff argues to the contrary that the “exclusion only applies to the Employer’s initial assignment and determination of an employee’s qualifications or suitability for the foreperson classification.” Pl.’s Op., ECF No. 7, at 5. If that was what the parties intended, however, they should have said as much. Nothing in the exclusionary language limits its application to initial designations. Rather, the CBA expressly states, without identifying any exceptions, that challenges to foreperson assignments are not subject to review under the terms of the agreement. Defendant’s Motion is thus well taken, and Plaintiff’s Complaint is DISMISSED. 18 Ex. E, Def.’s RJN, ECF No. 13-2, at 131–35. Although Plaintiff was given leave to file an 19 amended complaint, it failed to do so and on July 19, 2018, this Court dismissed the 20 2018 Action with prejudice. Exs. F–G, Def.’s RJN, ECF No. 13-2, at 137–39. 13 14 15 16 21 C. 22 Between November 27, 2019, and December 10, 2019, Plaintiff filed three 23 grievances over Defendant’s alleged violations of Section 19.A(1)–(3) of the CBA. See 24 Ex. A, Not. Removal, ECF No. 1, at 28–29; Ex. 1, id., at 8. For example, two grievances 25 alleged that Defendant failed to comply with the process outlined in Section 19.A(1)–(3) 26 in the selection of a sanitation and warehouse foreperson, respectively. Ex. 1, id., at 8. 27 Plaintiff ultimately claims that the grievances “concern whether [Defendant] complied 28 with the process for selecting forepersons, not whether [Defendant] abused its discretion Present Lawsuit 4 1 in choosing a foreperson if the contractually agreed upon selection process was 2 followed.” Id. On January 8, 2020, in response to each grievance, Defendant advised 3 Plaintiff that “selection of foreperson is not grievable under the CBA.” Ex. 1, Rappaport 4 Decl., ECF No. 13-1, at 6–8. 5 On February 18, 2020, Plaintiff sent Defendant a formal request for arbitration. 6 Ex. 2, id., at 11. After receiving a follow-up communication from Plaintiff, on March 10, 7 2020, Defendant declined to arbitrate the three grievances, explaining that the selection 8 of working forepersons is not arbitrable under the CBA and that this issue was already 9 litigated in the 2018 Action. Id. at 10–17. Similarly, on May 21, 2020, the parties again 10 discussed by letter whether the three grievances are arbitrable, with Plaintiff asserting 11 that the present grievances were filed under Section 19.A(3), whereas the grievance 12 underlying the 2018 Action was filed under Section 19.A(1). Ex. 3, id., at 19. Defendant 13 again reiterated that, regardless of the subsection, the Court already determined in the 14 2018 Action that challenges to foreperson assignments are not arbitrable. Id. at 20. 15 On June 9, 2020, Plaintiff’s counsel sent another letter to Defendant, stating that, 16 after reviewing the decision in the 2018 Action and the CBA, Defendant is incorrect in its 17 position that the present grievances are not arbitrable. Ex. 4, id., at 22–24 (“All three 18 grievances at issue contend that [Defendant] failed to follow the process in selecting 19 forepersons, and are not challenges to the judgment of [Defendant] to pick a particular 20 foreperson.”). Plaintiff subsequently emailed Defendant on August 31, 2020, inquiring 21 about the selection of arbitrators. Id. at 25. Defendant responded to the last two 22 communications on September 11, 2020, stating that the June 9 letter included the exact 23 same arguments made by Plaintiff in the 2018 Action, and affirming its position that the 24 present grievances are not arbitrable. Ex. 5, id., at 27. 25 /// 26 /// 27 /// 28 /// 5 1 ANALYSIS 2 3 A. 4 Plaintiff seeks to compel Defendant to arbitrate grievances based on Defendant’s Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Arbitration 5 alleged failure to follow the process and steps set forth in Section 19.A(1)–(3) of the 6 CBA. See Pl.’s Mem. ISO Mot. Compel Arbitration, ECF No. 7, at 6–7. Defendant 7 argues, in part, that Plaintiff’s Motion is barred by the doctrines of res judicata and 8 collateral estoppel because both the 2018 Action and the present action involve the 9 same issue and parties. See Def.’s Opp’n Mot. Compel Arbitration, ECF No. 13, at 18– 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 20. The United States Supreme Court succinctly described the doctrine of res judicata as follows:3 The preclusive effect of a judgment is defined by claim preclusion and issue preclusion, which are collectively referred to as “res judicata.” Under the doctrine of claim preclusion, a final judgment forecloses “successive litigation of the very same claim, whether or not relitigation of the claim raises the same issues as the earlier suit.” Issue preclusion, in contrast, bars successive litigation of an issue of fact or law actually litigated and resolved in a valid court determination essential to the prior judgment,” even if the issue recurs in the context of a different claim. By “precluding parties from contesting matters that they have had a full and fair opportunity to litigate,” these two doctrines protect against “the expense and vexation attending multiple lawsuits, conserve judicial resources, and foster reliance on judicial action by minimizing the possibility of inconsistent decisions.” 21 Taylor, 553 U.S. at 892 (citations omitted). The Court will first address issue preclusion 22 or collateral estoppel, which applies when four conditions are met: “(1) the issue at 23 stake was identical in both proceedings; (2) the issue was actually litigated and decided 24 in the prior proceedings; (3) there was a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issue; and 25 (4) the issue was necessary to decide the merits.” Janjua v. Neufeld, 933 F.3d 1061, 26 1065 (9th Cir. 2019) (quoting Oyeniran v. Holder, 672 F.3d 800, 806 (9th Cir. 2012)). 27 28 3 “The res judicata effect of federal court judgments is a matter of federal law.” W. Sys., Inc. v. Ulloa, 958 F.2d 864, 871 n.11 (9th Cir. 1992) (citation omitted); see also Taylor v. Sturgell, 553 U.S. 880, 891 (2008) (“The preclusive effect of a federal-court judgment is determined by federal common law.”). 6 1 Here, the parties dispute whether the first prong is met, i.e., whether the issues 2 are identical. In the 2018 Action, Plaintiff sought to compel Defendant to arbitrate a 3 grievance alleging that Defendant violated, in part, Section 19 of the CBA by awarding 4 the foreperson position to a different employee without first offering Ms. Shah the 5 opportunity to bid for that position. See Ex. A, Def.’s RJN, ECF No. 13-2, at 4–92. By 6 way of the present action, Plaintiff now seeks to compel Defendant to arbitrate three 7 grievances alleging that Defendant failed to comply with the foreperson selection 8 procedures set forth in Section 19.A(1)–(3) of the CBA. See Ex. 1, Not. Removal, ECF 9 No. 1, at 7–9; Pl.’s Mem. ISO Mot. Compel Arbitration, ECF No. 7, at 1–2. 10 On the surface, both actions involve the selection of forepersons under 11 Section 19.A of the CBA. Plaintiff, however, tries to distinguish the issues in both 12 actions, asserting that “the 2018 [Action] by the District Court found that [Plaintiff] could 13 not grieve whether a particular person is a foreperson, which is different than the current 14 three grievances, which challenge whether [Defendant] complied with the process of 15 who to consider first.” Pl.’s Mem. ISO Mot. Compel Arbitration, ECF No. 7, at 11 (“There 16 is a world of difference between process and selection.”). Despite Plaintiff’s efforts, the 17 Court finds that the issues in both actions are identical, which is whether Defendant 18 should be compelled to arbitrate grievances alleging violations of the foreperson 19 selection process set forth in Section 19.A. The grievance in the 2018 Action was not 20 simply about whether the correct person was chosen as the foreperson; in fact, Plaintiff’s 21 claim was that Defendant offered the foreperson position to a different employee 22 without first offering Ms. Shah the opportunity to bid for that position. This clearly 23 has to do with the selection process and not just the selection of the foreperson. 24 The Court also finds the remaining prongs to be satisfied. Regarding the second 25 and third prongs, the issue of whether Defendant should be compelled to arbitrate 26 grievances based on violations of the foreperson selection process in Section 19.A was 27 actually litigated and decided in the 2018 Action, and Plaintiff had a full and fair 28 opportunity to litigate that issue in this same Court. Many of the arguments asserted by 7 1 Plaintiff here are identical to its arguments in the 2018 Action, which were already 2 considered by this Court and ultimately rejected. See Janjua, 933 F.3d at 1066 (holding 3 that “an issue is actually litigated when an issue is raised, contested, and submitted for 4 determination.”) (citation omitted). For example, Plaintiff’s complaint in the 2018 Action 5 alleged that Defendant did not follow the process set forth in Section 19.A(1) of the CBA 6 in selecting a new foreperson. See Ex. A, Def.’s RJN, ECF No. 13-2, at 6 (claiming that 7 Defendant “did not ask if [Ms. Shah] was interested in the store room foreperson position 8 in order of seniority” prior to asking another employee). Additionally, Plaintiff stated in its 9 opposition brief to Defendant’s motion to dismiss in the 2018 Action that “Plaintiff’s 10 grievance in this case specifically references Section 19(A)(1) and asserts that 11 [Defendant] violated the CBA by not following the prescribed process for filling a 12 vacant foreperson position.” Ex. C, id., at 116 (emphasis added). Finally, when ruling 13 on Defendant’s motion to dismiss in the 2018 Action, the Court determined that “the CBA 14 expressly states, without identifying any exceptions, that challenges to foreperson 15 assignments are not subject to review under the terms of the agreement.” Ex. E, id., at 16 135. As for the fourth prong, for reasons outlined above, the issue of whether Plaintiff’s 17 grievances were arbitrable under Section 19.A was the central issue before this Court. 18 Because all four prongs have been satisfied, the Court finds Plaintiff’s present 19 action to be barred by collateral estoppel.4 Accordingly, Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel 20 Arbitration is DENIED. 21 B. 22 23 Defendant’s Motion for Sanctions Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 115 Pursuant to Rule 11, Defendant requests that “this Court sanction [Plaintiff] and its 24 counsel by reimbursing [Defendant] all costs and fees incurred to defend itself in this 25 matter, including [Defendant’s] fees incurred in bringing the instant Motion.” Def.’s Mem. 26 27 4 Because issue preclusion requires the Court to dismiss this action, it need not address claim preclusion. All further references to “Rule” or “Rules” are to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, unless otherwise stated. 5 28 8 1 ISO Mot. Sanctions, ECF No. 12-1, at 7 (requesting at least $30,235 in attorneys’ fees 2 and costs). Under Rule 11, by presenting papers to this Court, an attorney certifies that 3 his legal contentions are warranted by existing law, supported by factual evidence, and 4 are not presented “for any improper purpose.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(b). If the Court finds 5 that Rule 11(b) has been violated, it may impose a reasonable sanction on any attorney, 6 law firm, or party that violated the rule. Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(c)(1). 7 Rule 11 “is designed to deter attorneys and unrepresented parties from violating 8 their certification that any pleading, motion or other paper presented to the court is 9 supported by an objectively reasonable legal and factual basis; no showing of bad faith 10 or subjective intent is required.” Truesdell v. S. Cal. Permanente Med. Grp., 209 F.R.D. 11 169, 173–74 (C.D. Cal. 2002). Rather, Rule 11 is governed by an objective standard of 12 reasonableness. See, e.g., Conn v. CSO Borjorquez, 967 F.2d 1418, 1420 (9th Cir. 13 1992). Thus, where a party “pursues causes of action for which there is no legal basis 14 whatsoever,” sanctions may be warranted. Bhambra v. True, No. 09–cv–4685–CRB, 15 2010 WL 1758895, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 30, 2010). 16 “The central purpose of Rule 11 is to deter baseless filings.” United States ex rel. 17 Robinson Rancheria Citizens Council v. Borneo, Inc., 971 F.2d 244, 254 (9th Cir.1992) 18 (citing Cooter & Gell v. Hartmarx Corp., 496 U.S. 384 (1990)). “Under the plain 19 language of the rule, when one party files a motion for sanctions, the court must 20 determine whether any provisions of subdivision (b) have been violated.” Id. If 21 Rule 11(b) was violated, the court “may” impose sanctions. Id. at 1390. However, a 22 court cannot simply assert that it “declines to impose sanctions.” Id. The Court will first 23 address whether Defendant has complied with Rule 11’s safe harbor provision, then the 24 propriety and amount, if any, of sanctions. 25 1. 26 Where, as here, sanctions are initiated by motion, Rule 11 provides for a mandatory 21 day safe-harbor period before a motion for sanctions is filed with the court. The movant serves the allegedly offending party with a filing-ready motion as notice that it plans to seek sanctions. After 21 days, if the 9 27 28 Safe Harbor Provision 1 2 offending party has not withdrawn the filing, the movant may file the Rule 11 motion with the court. This period is meant to give litigants an opportunity to remedy any alleged misconduct before sanctions are imposed. 3 4 Truesdell v. S. Cal. Permanente Med. Grp., 293 F.3d 1146, 1151–52 (9th Cir. 2002) 5 (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 11). 6 Here, on April 9, 2021, Defendant both mailed and emailed Plaintiff a copy of the 7 Motion for Sanctions and a letter explaining that, unless Plaintiff dismisses the present 8 action, Defendant will file its Motion for Sanctions to recover its attorneys’ fees and costs 9 on grounds that “[Plaintiff] has ignored well-established case law in filing its state and 10 federal court petitions to compel arbitration and blatantly disregarded the 2018 prior 11 court order adjudicating the same issue involved in the instant action between the same 12 parties under the same section of the CBA.” See Ex. 7, Rappaport Decl., ECF No. 12-2, 13 at 35–36. Plaintiff responded to the letter and enclosures on April 29, 2021, contending 14 that the grievances in the present action are different than those asserted in the 2018 15 Action, and that Plaintiff will continue to proceed with its Motion to Compel Arbitration. 16 Ex. 8, id., at 38. Accordingly, Defendant’s April 9, 2021 letter fulfilled the purpose of 17 Rule 11(c)(2)’s safe harbor provision as it provided Plaintiff with an opportunity to 18 dismiss the pending lawsuit within 21 days. 19 20 2. Propriety of Rule 11 Sanctions In assessing whether sanctions are warranted based on the filing of a complaint, 21 “a district court must conduct a two-prong inquiry to determine (1) whether the complaint 22 is legally or factually ‘baseless’ from an objective perspective, and (2) if the attorney has 23 conducted ‘a reasonable and competent inquiry’ before signing and filing it.” Christian v. 24 Mattel, Inc., 286 F.3d 1118, 1127 (9th Cir. 2002) (citing Buster v. Greisen, 104 F.3d 25 1186, 1190 (9th Cir. 1997), abrogated on other grounds by Fossen v. Blue Cross & Blue 26 Shield of Mont., Inc., 660 F.3d 1102 (9th Cir. 2011)). A filing that is “both baseless and 27 made without a reasonable and competent inquiry” is frivolous. Townsend v. Holman 28 Consulting Corp., 929 F.2d 1358, 1362 (9th Cir. 1990). 10 1 Filing a complaint that includes factual or legal contentions that are barred by a 2 prior judgment may give rise to sanctions under Rule 11. See, e.g., Ivanova v. Columbia 3 Pictures Indus., Inc., 217 F.R.D. 501, 512 (C.D. Cal. 2003); King v. Hoover Grp., Inc., 4 958 F.2d 219, 223 (8th Cir. 1992) (upholding sanctions where the party “should have 5 realized that [the second action] was barred by [the first action] because of the identity of 6 the facts and issues”); So. Leasing Partners, Inc., McMullan, 801 F.2d 783, 788–89 7 (5th Cir. 1986); Cannon v. Loyola Univ. of Chicago, 784 F.2d 777, 782 (7th Cir. 1986). 8 In fact, some courts have noted that “a district court abuses its discretion by refusing to 9 sanction a plaintiff and his counsel under Rule 11 for filing and maintaining a frivolous 10 lawsuit when the plaintiff seeks to relitigate claims he had been denied leave to serve 11 against the same defendant in an earlier lawsuit.” Pro. Mgmt. Associates, Inc. v. KPMG 12 LLP, 345 F.3d 1030, 1033 (8th Cir. 2003). 13 Defendant contends that sanctions are warranted here, in part, because a 14 reasonable inquiry would have discovered that “no part of the foreperson selection 15 process under Section 19(A) of the CBA is arbitrable” in light of the 2018 Action and 16 Defendant’s multiple communications with Plaintiff dating back to January 2020. Def.’s 17 Mem. ISO Mot. Sanctions, ECF No. 12-1, at 21. In arguing that its Motion to Compel 18 Arbitration is not frivolous or without factual foundation, Plaintiff merely reiterates 19 arguments made in said motion, including that collateral estoppel does not bar the 20 present action. See generally Pl.’s Opp’n Mot. Sanctions, ECF No. 20. 21 The Court finds that both prongs set forth in Christian are met in light of the 22 Court’s finding that the present action is in fact barred by collateral estoppel. First, the 23 present action is legally baseless because “it seeks to relitigate issues that were 24 conclusively resolved in the prior suit.” Buster, 104 F.3d at 1190. Second, “a filing is 25 frivolous when a reasonable inquiry would have revealed that a case was barred by 26 principles of res judicata and collateral estoppel.” Sconiers v. Fresno Cnty. Superior Ct., 27 No. 1:11-cv-00113-LJO-SMS, 2011 WL 5884263, at *12 (E.D. Cal. Nov. 23, 2011) (citing 28 Buster, 104 F.3d at 1190). 11 1 Plaintiff claims that its “current counsel was not provided the briefings in [the 2018 2 Action], argued by other counsel, until [Defendant] requested to have those pleadings 3 judicially noticed.” Pl.’s Opp’n Mot. Sanctions, ECF No. 20, at 14 n.5. However, in a 4 letter to Defendant’s counsel dated June 9, 2020, Plaintiff’s counsel stated that he 5 reviewed the CBA and the Court’s decision from the 2018 Action, but nonetheless 6 concluded that Defendant was “misreading the contract and relevant labor law authority.” 7 Ex. 4, Rappaport Decl., ECF No. 12-2, at 23. In any event, the Court is not moved by 8 Plaintiff’s assertion that it was not provided the briefings from the 2018 Action, especially 9 since those documents are public records. Furthermore, in its Motion to Compel 10 Arbitration and opposition to Defendant’s Motion for Sanctions, Plaintiff asserts identical 11 arguments it made in the 2018 Action as well as its multiple communications with 12 Defendant prior to the filing of the present action. See Exs. 1–6, Rappaport Decl., ECF 13 No. 13-1, at 5–32. Therefore, the filing of the Petition and Motion to Compel, in addition 14 to Plaintiff’s subsequent refusal to withdraw the filing after receiving the safe harbor 15 letter, violated Rule 11(b). 16 17 3. Amount of Sanctions Rule 11 provides that “the court may impose an appropriate sanction on any 18 attorney, law firm, or party that violated the rule or is responsible for the violation.” 19 Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(c)(1). “If warranted, the court may award to the prevailing party the 20 reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred for the motion.” Id. 11(c)(2). 21 Here, Defendant seeks sanctions in the amount of $30,235. Def.’s Mem. ISO 22 Mot. Sanctions, ECF No. 12-1, at 7; see also Rappaport Decl., ECF No. 12-2 ¶¶ 10–16. 23 This amount is based on the number of hours attorneys Adrianna C. Kourafas and 24 Sandra L. Rappaport reportedly spent in bringing the motion for sanctions and in 25 opposing the Petition and Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Arbitration. See Rappaport Decl., 26 ECF No. 12-2 ¶¶ 10–13. Also included in this amount is defense counsel’s anticipatory 27 costs in (1) reviewing Plaintiff’s opposition to the Motion for Sanctions and Plaintiff’s 28 reply in support of its Motion to Compel Arbitration; (2) drafting, reviewing, and revising 12 1 Defendant’s reply in support of its Motion for Sanctions; and (3) if applicable, preparing 2 for and arguing in hearings on both Motions. Id. ¶¶ 14–15. However, it is unclear how 3 much time defense counsel actually spent on these anticipatory costs, especially since 4 no oral argument was held. Before issuing monetary sanctions, the Court finds that 5 updated information as to Defendant’s attorneys’ fees and costs is necessary in order to 6 conduct a proper lodestar analysis. 7 In sum, the Court GRANTS Defendant’s Motion for Sanctions, but reserves the 8 issue of the amount of sanctions upon an updated itemization of actual expenses 9 incurred. 10 11 CONCLUSION 12 13 For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Arbitration, ECF No. 6, is 14 DENIED. Defendant’s Motion for Sanctions, ECF No. 12, is GRANTED, with the amount 15 of sanctions to be determined. Not later than fourteen (14) days after this Memorandum 16 and Order is electronically filed, Defendant shall file an updated declaration with itemized 17 amounts based on the actual hours incurred during the course of these proceedings. 18 Plaintiff may, but is not required to, file a response no later than seven (7) days after 19 Defendant’s declaration is filed. 20 21 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: January 7, 2022 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 13

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