Defendant here did a splendid job of waiving its rights and annoying Judge Pollak:
Second, defendant, in a footnote, suggests that this matter should be referred for arbitration in accordance with the grievance procedures outlined in the CBA. See Pl.’s Ex. 4, at § 1.05-09. Defendant’s presentation of this argument is, to say the least, underwhelming. Whether a dispute is subject to mandatory arbitration is a question of too much consequence to be relegated to a one-sentence footnote in an opposition to a motion for summary judgment. Section 3 of the Federal Arbitration Act is instructive:
If any suit or proceeding be brought in any of the courts of the United States upon any issue referable to arbitration under an agreement in writing for such arbitration, the court in which such suit is pending, upon being satisfied that the issue involved in such suit or proceeding is referable to arbitration under such an agreement, shall on application of one of the parties stay the trial of the action until such arbitration has been had in accordance with the terms of the agreement, providing the applicant for the stay is not in default in proceeding with such arbitration.
9 U.S.C. § 3 (emphasis added). Parties desiring an order compelling arbitration must make application to the court for such an order. The manner of this application should, in accordance with Rule 7(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, be a formal motion. Such a motion should, in accordance with Local Rule 7.1(c), be accompanied by a memorandum explaining the grounds for the party’s request. Here, rather than following these basic rules for requesting action from a federal district court, defendant has styled its request for relief as an alternative argument (that is, alternative to its main argument, which appears in the text of its opposition papers, that summary judgment is inappropriate on the merits) and tucked it into a footnote.
The court will deny defendant’s alternative request for arbitration for three reasons.
First, the request is not made in the form of a motion, as Rule 7(b) requires, nor it is briefed, as Local Rule 7.1(c) requires. Few rules of civil procedure are as easy to follow as Rule 7(b) and Local Rule 7.1(c). All these rules require is a formal [*21] motion and a statement of grounds. If defendant cannot be bothered to submit a formal motion and a statement of grounds, then it cannot be serious about the relief it purports to desire. Moreover, the court could not easily rule on defendant’s request, as the court has not been provided a complete copy of the arbitration portion of the CBA. The copy submitted by plaintiffs does not include anything following the third line of § 1.09, which makes sense given that this section has nothing to do with plaintiffs’ argument. Defendant, however, has not submitted a complete copy to accompany its footnote request, nor has it made any argument as to how the grievance procedure works or how it applies. Without providing a complete copy of the arbitration agreement and some explanation of why defendant believes it applies here, the court cannot find that defendant has adequately demonstrated that this dispute is subject to arbitration.
Second, defendant has waived any right to arbitration by not raising the issue in motions practice before now. Although waiver by delay is not favored, the Third Circuit has held that the right to arbitration is waived when defendant’s delay causes prejudice. Hoxworth v. Blinder, Robinson & Co., 980 F.2d at 912, 926-27 (3d Cir. 1992). Here, defendant has, without a peep, submitted to full discovery in this matter. Discovery is now complete, and the case, having been pending for more than a year, is ready for disposition, either by summary judgment or by trial. Plaintiffs have doubtless spent substantial time, effort, and expense in getting this case ready for summary judgment practice and trial. The sheer number of exhibits and depositions submitted attests to plaintiffs’ efforts, which, particularly considering that this is not a high-dollar-value case, are significant. Moreover, the arbitration procedure outlined in those portions of the CBA available to the court do not appear to contemplate discovery. Thus, having accepted the benefit of discovery from plaintiffs, and having put plaintiffs to the expense of discovery, defendant should not now be allowed to stay these proceedings and access an arbitral forum. See id. at 926. The court acknowledges that it appears that defendant raised the issue of arbitration in its answer, and that there has not been, before now, any other substantial formal motions practice 6 (aside from the motions practice associated with vacating defendant’s default), id. at 927; nevertheless, the court believes that, for the reasons just discussed, submitting this case to arbitration at this late stage would cause plaintiff prejudice, and should not be allowed.
Third, defendant’s alternative request for an order compelling arbitration bears a striking resemblance to forum shopping. The thrust of its opposition to plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment is that this court should deny plaintiff’s motion on the merits. But, just in case the court disagrees, it attempts to preserve an argument for arbitration in a footnote. This form of argument is not attractive, nor is it persuasive.
Ibew Local Union No. 380 Health & Welfare Fund v. Travis Electric, Inc., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58037 (E.D. Pa. July 31, 2008)(emphasis added).
What were they thinking? The only good explanation I can think of is that the defendant didn’t actually want to arbitrate, and decided such long ago, yet tucked in the remark as some form of collateral persuasion, where you toss in barely-relevant arguments in the hopes that it will, by sheer inertia, carry your other arguments further.
Otherwise, someone dropped the ball, or perhaps never even picked up the ball since they were so busy churning the billable hours on the litigation…