Battles v. Southwest Airlines Co.
MEMORANDUM OPINION and ORDER: For the reasons stated herein, Plaintiff's Petition to Confirm Arbitration Award is denied (Dkt. No. 32 .) Additionally, Docket Numbers 32-3 an 32-4 are hereby sealed. It is so ordered. Signed by the Honorable Marvin E. Aspen on 11/18/2020. Mailed notice (ags)
Case: 1:18-cv-04822 Document #: 39 Filed: 11/18/20 Page 1 of 3 PageID #:285
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
JEFF BATTLES, LEROME THOMAS, and
STEVEN SPENCER, Individually, and on Behalf
of All Others Similarly Situated,
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.,
Judge Marvin E. Aspen
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
MARVIN E. ASPEN, District Judge
This lawsuit is brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq.
(“FLSA”) and the Illinois Minimum Wage Law, 820 ILCS §§ 105/1, et seq. (“IMWL”). We
previously dismissed the case in favor of arbitration. (Dkt. No. 30.) The parties arbitrated their
dispute before the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) pursuant to an arbitration
agreement and, on September 22, 2020, Plaintiff prevailed. (Petition ¶¶ 6—7.) Presently before
us is Plaintiff Lerome Thomas’s opposed Petition to Confirm the Arbitration Award. (Petition
(Dkt. No. 32).) For the following reasons, we deny Plaintiff’s petition. Additionally, Docket
Numbers 32-3 an 32-4 are hereby sealed.
STANDARD OF LAW
Judicial review of an arbitration award is “extremely limited.” Kingsbury Capital, Inc. v.
Kappel, No. 20 C 800, 2020 WL 5512136, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 14, 2020) (quoting Am. Fed'n of
State, Cty. and Mun. Emps., AFL-CIO v. Dep't of Cent. Mgmt. Servs., 173 Ill. 2d 299, 304
Case: 1:18-cv-04822 Document #: 39 Filed: 11/18/20 Page 2 of 3 PageID #:286
A party may move to vacate, modify, or correct an arbitration award within three months
of the award’s issuance. 9 U.S.C. § 12. When an arbitration agreement provides that a judgment
of the court shall be entered upon the award following arbitration, then any party to the
arbitration may seek an order within one-year after the award is made. 9 U.S.C. § 9.
First, Defendant contends that it is premature to confirm the arbitration award because its
three-month time period to move to vacate, modify, or correct the arbitration award runs from
September 22, 2020 to December 21, 2020. See 9 U.S.C. § 12. Indeed, arbitration awards are
appropriately confirmed after the three-month statutory window to challenge them has expired.
9 U.S.C. § 9 (“the court must grant [a petition to confirm an arbitration award] unless the award
is vacated, modified, or corrected.”); 9 U.S.C. § 12 (“Notice of a motion to vacate, modify, or
correct an award must be served upon the adverse party or his attorney within three months after
the award is filed or delivered.”); see, e.g., Loda Okla, LLC v. Overall, No. 13-cv-191, 2014 WL
12704716, at *3 (N.D. Okla. Oct. 9, 2014) (staying motion to confirm arbitration award because
a motion to vacate was anticipated). Therefore, we find that Plaintiff’s Petition premature since
Defendant has until December 21, 2020 to either make payment or file a motion to vacate,
modify, or correct the award. Plaintiff’s Petition is denied as premature.
Second, Defendant requests that we seal the Interim Award and the Final Award pursuant
to the agreement to arbitrate confidentially. (Dkt. Nos. 32-3 and 32-4.) Plaintiff claims however
that Defendant waived confidentiality of the award because its conduct led Plaintiff to file this
instant Petition as was required by law. “Required by law,” according to Plaintiff, is an
exception to the arbitration’s confidentiality provision. (Dkt. No. 32-1 at 8.) We seal these
filings for two reasons. First, Plaintiff’s motion was not “required by law” because it was legally
Case: 1:18-cv-04822 Document #: 39 Filed: 11/18/20 Page 3 of 3 PageID #:287
premature as discussed above. Second, even if Plaintiff’s motion was proper and not premature,
Plaintiff should have filed the Petition confidentially under seal to maintain the confidential
nature of this information. Accordingly, Defendant’s request for Docket Numbers 32-3 and 32-4
to be sealed is granted.
For the above stated reasons, Plaintiff’s Petition to Confirm Arbitration Award is denied
(Dkt. No. 32.) Additionally, Docket Numbers 32-3 an 32-4 are hereby sealed. It is so ordered.
Honorable Marvin E. Aspen
United States District Judge
Dated: November 18, 2020
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?