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Board of Trustees of Municipal Electric Utility of The City of Cedar Falls v. Miron Construction Co., Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Eastern Division

April 15, 2014

BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE MUNICIPAL ELECTRIC UTILITY OF THE CITY OF CEDAR FALLS, IOWA, Plaintiff,
v.
MIRON CONSTRUCTION CO., INC. and CONTINENTAL CASUALTY CO. Defendants. MIRON CONSTRUCTION CO., INC. and CONTINENTAL CASUALTY CO., Counter Claimants,
v.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE MUNICIPAL ELECTRIC UTILITY OF THE CITY OF CEDAR FALLS, IOWA. Counter Defendant.

ORDER

LINDA R. READE, Chief District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

The matters before the court are Plaintiff Board of Trustees of the Municipal Electric Utility of the City of Cedar Falls, Iowa's ("CFU") "Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs" ("Motion") (docket no. 23) and "Renewed Motion for Attorney's Fees and [Costs]" ("Renewed Motion") (docket no. 28).

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On November 6, 2013, an arbitration panel entered an Arbitration Award (docket no. 12-3) in favor of CFU and against Defendants Miron Construction Co., Inc. ("Miron") and Continental Casualty Company ("CNA"). On November 8, 2013, CFU filed a Petition in the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Case No. EQCV123297 ("Complaint") (docket no. 10), seeking to confirm the Arbitration Award. On December 3, 2013, Miron and CNA removed this action on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Notice of Removal (docket no. 8).

On December 6, 2013, CFU filed a "Motion to Confirm Arbitration Award" ("Motion to Confirm") (docket no. 12). On December 30, 2013, Miron and CNA filed a "Motion to Vacate Arbitration Award" ("Motion to Vacate") (docket no. 19).

CFU filed the Motion on January 13, 2014. On January 30, 2014, Miron and CNA filed a "Brief in Opposition to the Motion for Attorney's Fees" ("Resistance") (docket no. 25).

On February 26, 2014, the court denied Miron and CNA's Motion to Vacate and granted CFU's Motion to Confirm in part, reserving ruling on CFU's requests for attorney's fees and costs. See February 26, 2014 Order (docket no. 26) at 28. CFU filed the Renewed Motion on March 12, 2014. On March 31, 2014, Miron and CNA filed a "Brief in Opposition to the Renewed Motion for Attorney's Fees and [Costs]" ("Resistance to the Renewed Motion") (docket no. 39). The court now turns to the Motion and Renewed Motion.

III. SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION

The parties do not dispute that the court has diversity jurisdiction over the instant matter. The parties to an arbitration agreement must have an affirmative agreement providing for judicial confirmation of an arbitration award in order for a federal court to have confirmation authority under 9 U.S.C. § 9. The Contract between CFU and Miron (docket no. 12-4) provides the following:

All claims, disputes and other matters in question between [CFU] and [Miron] arising out of or relating to the Contract... or the breach thereof... will be decided by arbitration.... The award rendered by the arbitrators will be final, judgment may be entered upon it in any court having jurisdiction thereof.

Contract at 80. The court is satisfied that it has diversity jurisdiction over this case because complete diversity exists between the parties and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332 ("The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between... citizens of different States...."). For purposes of diversity jurisdiction, CFU is a citizen of Iowa. Miron is a Wisconsin corporation with its principle place of business in Neenah, Wisconsin. CNA is an Illinois corporation with its principle place of business in Chicago, Illinois.

IV. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The court accepts the arbitration panel's findings of facts. See Arbitration Award at 1-5. The facts of this case are summarized as follows:

The underlying dispute arises from a project to furnish a new filter system for the exhaust-gas stream from a stoker-fired boiler (Unit #6) ("the project"). CFU entered into a contract with Brown Engineering Co. ("Brown") on April 13, 2005, for Brown to "provide professional services relating to the engineering design and construction management involved in a project to install a fabric filter ...


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