A federal court of appeals affirmed the confirmation of an arbitration award in favor of an employee who had committed fraud in connection with an arbitration, because, as the district court had held, the fraud was not material to the outcome of the proceeding. Michael Mickens, an employee of trucking company CBF, was terminated for allegedly failing to complete an assigned run. At meetings with CBF and union members that Mickens surreptitiously recorded, Mickens insisted that he had completed the run. After Mickens was terminated, the union demanded arbitration during which Mickens explained for the first time that he had not completed his assignment because a guard had purportedly relayed instructions from CBF not to complete the run. CBF introduced the minutes of the meetings which showed Mickens’s initial and false story, but the arbitrator concluded that Mickens was wrongfully terminated and ordered reinstatement with full back pay.
Mickens’s tapes of the meetings, which had been the subject of discovery requests during the arbitration but had not been disclosed or produced, were produced to CBF in subsequent litigation. When the union filed an action in district court to confirm the award, CBF moved to vacate on the grounds that the award had been procured by fraud. The district court confirmed the award, holding that the employee had lied and secretly withheld the tapes, thereby committing fraud, but that the fraud was not material to the outcome of the arbitration because the arbitrator was already aware of the essential facts on the tapes—that the employee had lied about completing the trucking run—because the minutes of the meetings had been introduced. The court of appeals agreed and affirmed. Int’l Brotherhood of Teamsters v. CBF Trucking, Inc., No. 10-3044 (3d Cir. July 28, 2011).