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You can search the entire site. or go to the recent opinions, or the chronological or subject indices. Jeff Graham v Municipality of Anchorage (8/9/2019) sp-7397

Jeff Graham v Municipality of Anchorage (8/9/2019) sp-7397

           Notice:   This opinion is subject to correction before publication in the P                    ACIFIC  REPORTER.  

           Readers are requested to bring errors to the attention of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts,  

                                                                                                                         

           303 K Street, Anchorage, Alaska 99501, phone (907) 264-0608, fax (907) 264-0878, email  

                                                                                                                            

           corrections@akcourts.us.  



                       THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ALASKA                                       



JEFF  GRAHAM,                                                         )  

                                                                      )     Supreme  Court  No.  S-16905  

                                Appellant,                            )  

                                                                                                                                       

                                                                      )     Superior Court No. 3AN-15-05301 CI  

           v.                                                         )  

                                                                                                 

                                                                      )     O P I N I O N  

                                      

MUNICIPALITY OF ANCHORAGE,                                            )  

                                                                      )                                          

                                                                            No. 7397 - August 9, 2019  

                                Appellee.                             )  

                                                                      )  



                                                                                                               

                      Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Third  

                                                                                                               

                      Judicial District, Anchorage, Eric A. Aarseth, Judge.  



                                                                                                                         

                      Appearances:             Jeffrey  J.  Jarvi,  Anchorage,  for  Appellant.  

                                                                                                                 

                      Samuel  C.  Severin,  Assistant  Municipal  Attorney,  and  

                                                                                                     

                      Rebecca A. Windt-Pearson, Municipal Attorney, Anchorage,  

                                              

                      for Appellee.  



                                                                                                         

                      Before:  Bolger, Chief Justice, Winfree, Stowers, Maassen,  

                                           

                      and Carney, Justices.  



                                            

                      STOWERS, Justice.  



I.         INTRODUCTION  



                                                                                                                            

                      Jeff Graham prevailed in a civil suit against the Municipality of Anchorage  



                                                                                                                                               

for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.  



                                                                                                                                

He was  awarded partial  attorney's  fees under  Alaska  Civil Rule  82(b)(1).   Graham  



                                                                                                                                 

argues that he should have instead been awarded full fees and costs under his union's  



                                                                                                                              

collective  bargaining  agreement  with  the  Municipality.                                      Because  the  fee  recovery  


----------------------- Page 2-----------------------

provision in the agreement is not applicable to Graham's case, we affirm the superior                                                                                                                                                                                                              



court's order denying Graham's motion for full attorney's fees and costs.                                                                                                                                                                                                           



II.                      FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS                                  



                                                  Jeff Graham is employed as a firefighter/EMT by the Anchorage Fire                                                                                                                                                                                              



Department (AFD).                                                              He has worked                                                   for   AFD since 1995 and                                                                            has held                            his current   



position since 2003.                                                         After taking AFD's engineer promotional exam in 2010, Graham                                                                                                                                                           



wrote a letter to the AFD fire chief criticizing the subjective nature of the test.                                                                                                                                                                                                                In 2012   



Graham failed the interview portion of the engineer exam.                                                                                                                                                                           He subsequently filed a                                             



complaint with the Alaska State Commission for Human Rights, alleging discrimination                                                                                                                                                                                         



on   the   basis   of   his   race   (Korean)   and   age   (48).     He   also   petitioned   his   union,   the  



International Association of Firefighters Local 1264 (the Union), to file a grievance                                                                                                                                                                                                        



against the Municipality of Anchorage on his behalf, under the Union's Collective                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the Municipality.                                                                                                                                                      1  



                                                  TheCommissioninvestigated Graham'sdiscrimination claimbut officially  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 



closed his case in September 2013, as the investigation did not find substantial evidence  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 



to support his allegations. Similarly, the Union investigated "the facts and circumstances  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              



 surrounding [Graham's] performance on the engineer test," but it declined to file a  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             



grievance against the Municipality to challenge Graham's exam results.  In June 2012  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               



the Union's counsel informed Graham: "You have exhausted your contractual remedies  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 



under Article vII of the [CBA].  You are free, at your own cost, to retain counsel and  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    



 seek any other remedies to which you believe you may be entitled."  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          



                         1                        ThepurposeoftheCBAis "thepromotionofharmonious                                                                                                                                                                 relations between  



theMunicipality                                               and theUnion, theestablishment                                                                                          ofan equitableand peaceful procedure                                                                   

for the resolution of differences, the establishment of rates of pay, hours of work, and                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

other terms and conditions of employment."                                                                     



                                                                                                                                                            -2-                                                                                                                                                 7397
  


----------------------- Page 3-----------------------

                                                                                                                       

                    In February 2015 Graham filed suit against the Municipality, alleging  



                                                                                                                              

breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and  



                                                                                                                         

discrimination, among other legal theories.  The case proceeded to trial, and in August  



                                                                                                                      

2017 a jury returned a verdict that the Municipality caused harmto Graham"by violating  



                                                                                                                               

the express terms of the [CBA]" and "by violating the implied promise of good faith and  



                                                                                                                               

fair dealing in the [CBA]." The jury also found that Graham's complaints about how the  



                                                                                                                              

2012 engineer exam was structured "were a motivating factor in him failing the oral  



                                                                                                                      

board."        Graham  was  awarded  $667,000  in  damages  for  lost  wages  and  benefits,  



                                                                    

increased income taxes, and past emotional distress.  



                                                                                                                                

                    In October 2017 Graham moved for an award of full attorney's fees of  



                                                                                                                            

$258,960.31 and full costs of $38,962.45 under section 7.4.1 of the CBA. Section 7.4.1  



                                                                                                                               

provides that "[i]n the event the prevailing party must seek enforcement in court of the  



                                                                                                                                     

arbitrator's decision, the expenses of such efforts shall be borne by the losing party."  



                                                                                                                              

Graham also presented two alternative theories for recovery:  enhanced attorney's fees  



                                                                                                                                   

under Alaska Civil Rule 82(b)(3) or partial attorney's fees under Civil Rule 82(b)(1).  



                                                                                                                          

                    In November 2017 the superior court awarded Graham $71,667 in partial  



                                                                                                                             

fees under Civil Rule 82(b)(1) and $15,616.06 in partial costs under Alaska Civil Rule  



                                                                                                                         

79(f).  The court denied his theory of recovery under section 7.4.1 of the CBA, finding  



                                                                                                                  

that  a  "[p]lain  reading  of  the  CBA  allows  full  fees  only  to  enforce  an  arbitrator's  



                                                                                                                          

decision. Implicitly there has already been a fully contested hearing. The full fees would  



                                                                                                                                

only  be  for  the  enforcement  action  not  the  fully  contested  hearing."  (Emphasis  in  



                                                                                                                            

original.)        The  court  also  denied  Graham's  request  for  enhanced  fees  under  Rule  



82(b)(3).  



                                                               -3-                                                         7397
  


----------------------- Page 4-----------------------

                             Graham appeals the superior court's denial of his full attorney's fees and                                    

costs under section 7.4.1 of the CBA.                                             2  



                                                        

III.	          STANDARD OF REvIEW  



                                                                                                                                                                                  3  

                                                                                                                                                                                     but  

                             "We  review  awards  of  attorney's  fees  for  abuse  of  discretion," 



                                                                                                                                                                                 4  

                                                                                                                                                                                      

"[i]nterpretation of an attorney's fees clause in a contract is . . . a question of law."                                                                                            We  



                                                                                                                                                     5  

                                                                                                                                                          

apply "our independent judgment in making such an interpretation." 



Iv.	           DISCUSSION  



                                                                                                                                                                                     

               A.	           The Superior Court Did Not Err By Denying Graham's Motion For  

                                                                                                                                                                         

                             Full Attorney's Fees And Costs Under Section 7.4.1 Of The CBA.  



                                                                                                                                                                            

                             Graham argues that the superior court's interpretation of section 7.4.1 of  



                                                                                                                                                       

the CBA was "erroneously strict and narrow" and that we should broadly construe  



                                                                                                                                                                                   

section 7.4.1 to encourage efficient litigation and to "give relief to employees who must  



                                                                                                                                                                                               

enforce CBA rights in court after [the Municipality] and the [U]nion deny arbitration."  



                                                                                                                                                                                

In  contrast,  the  Municipality  argues  that  the  plain  language  of  section  7.4.1  "only  



                                                                                                                                                                                     

provides recovery of attorney's fees to the Municipality or [the Union] in the event that  



                                                                                                                                                                                       

an arbitration agreement needs to be enforced."  Because Graham is not a party to the  



               2             Graham does                     not   dispute   that   Civil   Rule   82(b)(1)   was   an   appropriate  



alternative theory of recovery, nor does he dispute the superior court's calculation of fees                                                                                         

under this rule.                    He argues solely that the court should have awarded full fees under                                                                         

section 7.4.1 of the CBA. He no longer argues for enhanced fees as an alternative theory                                                                                        

of recovery.   



               3	            Kollander v. Kollander, 400 P.3d 91, 95 (Alaska 2017) (quoting Roderer  

                                                                                                                                                                           

v. Dash, 233 P.3d 1101, 1106 (Alaska 2010)).  

                                                                                     



               4             Johnson v. Olympic Liquidating Tr., 953 P.2d 494, 497 (Alaska 1998).  

                                                                                                                                                                          



               5             Id. ; see also Larsen v.  Municipality of Anchorage, 993 P.2d 428, 431  

                                                                                                                                                                                    

(Alaska 1999) ("Contract interpretation presents a question of law that we review de  

                                                                                                                                                                                        

novo.").  



                                                                                           -4-	                                                                                   7397
  


----------------------- Page 5-----------------------

CBA and neither party is seeking to enforce an arbitration agreement, the Municipality                                                                             



argues that section 7.4.1 is not applicable to this case at all.                                                                     We agree.   



                              1.	           Section   7.4.1   of   the   CBA   applies   only   to   enforcement   of   an  

                                            arbitration decision between the Municipality and the Union.                                                                     



                              The goal of contract interpretation "is to 'give effect to the reasonable                                                                



                                                                   6  

expectations of the parties.' "                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                         We determine "the parties' reasonable intentions by  



                                                                                                                                                                             

looking 'to thelanguageofthedisputed provisionand other provisions,relevant extrinsic  



                                                                                                                            7  

                                                                                                                                                               

evidence, and case law interpreting similar provisions.' "                                                                      Furthermore, "interpretation  



                                                                                                                                                                                           

of a contract term does not take place in a vacuum, but rather requires consideration of  



                                                                                            8  

                                                                          

the provision and agreement as a whole." 



                                                                                                                                                                       

                                            a.	            Language of the disputed provision and other provisions  



                                                                                                                                                                                           

                              Graham argues that "a contract provision allowing a prevailing party to  



                                                                                                                                                                                

recover its reasonable attorney's fees trump[s] Civil Rule 82's provision for partial  



             9  

fees."                                                                                                                                                                              

                  The Municipality does not dispute this legal concept but argues that the plain  



                                                                                                                                                                          

language of section 7.4.1 is unambiguous and that it is simply inapplicable to Graham's  



               6              Stepanov v. Homer Elec. Ass'n                                      ., 814 P.2d 731, 734 (Alaska 1991) (quoting                                 



Mitford v. de Lasala                          , 666 P.2d 1000, 1005 (Alaska 1983)).                                



               7             Flint Hills Res. Alaska, LLC v. Williams Alaska Petroleum, Inc., 377 P.3d  

                                                                                                                                                                                     

959, 975 (Alaska 2016) (quoting W. Pioneer, Inc. v. Harbor Enters., Inc., 818 P.2d 654,  

                                                                                                                                                                                      

656 (Alaska 1991)).  

                             



               8             Id.  (quoting Mahan v. Mahan, 347 P.3d 91, 95 (Alaska 2015)); see also  

                                                                                                                                                                                      

Schaub v. K & L Distribs., Inc., 115 P.3d 555, 563 (Alaska 2005) ("When interpreting  

                                                                                                                                                                     

collective bargaining agreements, courts 'will if possible give effect to all parts of the  

                                                                                                                                                                                        

instrument and an interpretation which gives a reasonable meaning to all its provisions  

                                                                                                                                                                        

will be preferred to one which leaves a portion of the writing useless or inexplicable.' "  

                                                                                                                                                                                                 

(quoting 20 SAMUEL   WILLISTON   & R                                                 ICHARD   A. L                ORD, A T             REATISE ON THE                        LAW OF  

                             

CONTRACTS  55:20 (4th ed. 2001))).                              

                             



               9              Tufco, Inc. v. Pac. Envtl. Corp., 113 P.3d 668, 674 (Alaska 2005).  

                                                                                                                                                                                  



                                                                                             -5-	                                                                                   7397
  


----------------------- Page 6-----------------------

case.    Whether the language of section 7.4.1 is ambiguous depends on whether "the                                                                            



disputed   terms  are   reasonably   subject   to   differing   interpretation   after   viewing   the  



                                                                                                                                                          10  

contract as a whole and the extrinsic evidence surrounding the disputed terms."                                                                                



                                                                                                                                                              

                          Section 7.4.1 of the CBA provides in full: "In the event the prevailing party  



                                                                                                                                                           

must seek enforcement in court of the arbitrator's decision, the expenses of such efforts  



                                                                                                                                                 

shall be borne by the losing party."  As the superior court found, the plain language of  



                                                                                                                                                                  

section 7.4.1 indicates that it applies only to recovery of attorney's fees and costs for  



                                                                                                                                                             

enforcement of an arbitration decision.   It is undisputed that an arbitrator was never  



                                                                                                                                                               

involved in Graham's case and that an arbitrator's decision was never made.   This  



                                                                                              

provision is therefore inapplicable to Graham's case.  



                                                                                                                                                              

                          The Municipality argues that the overall structure of Article 7 of the CBA  



                                                                                                                                                                      

also supports this conclusion.  Article 7 outlines a three-step grievance procedure for a  



                                                                                                                                                                     

claim by the Municipality or the Union.   The first step is for either party to file a  



                                                                                                                                                                     

grievance, which is "defined as a claim by the Union or the Municipality, alleging a  



                                                                                                                                                       

violation of th[e] Agreement."  If a grievance has been filed but it cannot be resolved  



                                                                                                                                                           

internally between the Municipality and the Union, then either party may opt to submit  



                                                                                                                                                      

the grievance to an arbitrator. Section 7.4 provides that in such a scenario, the "decision  



                                                                                                                                                               

of the arbitrator shall be final and binding on all parties," and "[t]he losing party shall  



                                                                                                                                                                    11  

                                                                                                                                                               

pay all of the expenses and fees of the arbitrator."  Section 7.4.1 is a subsection of 7.4 



- it provides additional recovery of fees if "the prevailing party must seek enforcement  

                                                                                                                                                



             10           N. Pac. Processors, Inc. v. City & Borough of Yakutat, Alaska                                                            , 113 P.3d     



575, 579 (Alaska 2005) (quoting   Wessells v. State Dep't of Highways                                                                  , 562 P.2d 1042,   

 1046 (Alaska 1977)).       



             11           See Marathon Oil Co. v. ARCO Alaska, Inc., 972 P.2d 595, 604 (Alaska  

                                                                                                                                                         

 1999)  (concluding  that  a  provision's  location  in  a  contract  is  relevant  to  its  

                                                                                                                                                                 

interpretation).  



                                                                                 -6-                                                                          7397
  


----------------------- Page 7-----------------------

. . . of the arbitrator's decision."                          Section 7.4.1 is only triggered after a party pursued the                                         



full   three-step   grievance   procedure,   an   arbitration   occurred,  the   arbitrator   issued   a  



decision, and the losing party did not abide by the arbitrator's decision.                                                                None of these     



steps occurred in Graham's case.                       



                          Interpretation                of       section           7.4.1         also        "requires             consideration                 of  

                                                          12   As the Municipality points out, Graham is not a party  

the . . . agreement as a whole."                                                                                                                            



to the CBA.  The CBA is an agreement between the Union and the Municipality, and it  

                                                                                                                                                                   



recognizes the Union "as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent for the purpose of  

                                                                                                                                                                 



establishing . . . conditions of employment."  Article 7 provides the procedure for the  

                                                                                                                                                                



Union and the Municipality to resolve a grievance between the two parties; it does not  

                                                                                                                                                                



provide a comparable process for an individual employee to pursue a grievance against  

                                                                                                                                                        

                                                                                 13  Although the Union may bring a grievance  

the Municipality independent of the Union.                                                                                                         

                                                                     



on behalf of an individual employee, that did not occur in this case.   The grievance  

                                                                                                                                                   



procedure  in  Article  7  was  therefore  never  invoked  and  section  7.4.1  was  never  

                                                                                                                                                          



triggered.  The overall structure of the CBA and Article 7 make clear that section 7.4.1  

                                                                                                                                                            



was not intended to apply to recovery of fees and costs for litigation brought by an  

                                                                                                                                                                 



individual employee.  

                     



                                      b.           Extrinsic evidence  

                                                                       



                          To interpret a contract, we also consider relevant extrinsic evidence such  

                                                                                                                         



as the "language and conduct of the parties, the objects sought to be accomplished[,] and  

                                                                                                                                                               



             12          Flint Hills Res. Alaska, LLC                          , 377 P.3d at 975 (quoting                       Mahan, 347 P.3d at                 



95).  



             13           Section 7.7 does provide an "Employees' Bill of Rights" to ensure that  

                                                                                                                                                              

individual rights of employees are not violated, but it does not provide a process for an  

                                                                                                                                                                 

individual employee to pursue a grievance against the Municipality.  

                                                                                                         



                                                                                -7-                                                                         7397
  


----------------------- Page 8-----------------------

                                                                                                                                     14  

the surrounding circumstances at the time the contract was negotiated."                                                                  If there is no       



extrinsic   evidence,   "our   analysis   of   this   issue   must   rely   on   the   language   of   the  



                  15  

contract."              



                                                                                                                                                           

                         Graham briefly asserts that the Union "gave him a right-to-sue letter and  



                                                                                                                                                              

authorized him to enforce the rights in the [CBA]."  But Graham's characterization of  



                                                                                                                                                           

this letter is not accurate.  The Union's June 2012 letter to Graham stated explicitly that  



                                                                                                                                                           

Graham had exhausted his contractual remedies under Article 7 of the CBA and any  



                                                                                                                                                           

further action he took against the Municipality would be independent of the Union and  



                                                                                                                                                            

at his own cost.  The Union did not assign him the rights to pursue this claim under the  



                                  

CBA, as Graham posits.  



                                                                                                                                                             

                         Accordingly, Graham did not submit extrinsic evidence that supports an  



                                                                                                                                                     

interpretation of section 7.4.1 contrary to its plain meaning.  And as discussed above,  



                                                                                                                                                  

section  7.4.1  is  unambiguous  - it  is  not  "reasonably  susceptible  to  both  asserted  



                     16  

meanings."                 



                                                                                                              

                                     c.           Case law interpreting similar provisions  



                                                                                                                                                               

                         We have not previously been asked to consider a fee-recovery provision in  



                                                                                                                                                    

this  exact  context.                   But  our  case  law  interpreting  grievance  procedures  in  similar  



                                                                                                                                                           

collective  bargaining  agreements  supports  our  conclusion  that  section  7.4.1  is  not  



applicable to Graham's case.  Collective bargaining agreements are contracts between  



             14          Peterson v. Wirum                  , 625 P.2d 866, 870 n.7 (Alaska 1981) (quoting                                             Pepsi  



Cola Bottling Co. v. N.H. Ins. Co.                             , 407 P.2d 1009, 1013 (Alaska 1965)).                      



             15          Marathon Oil Co., 972 P.2d at 604.  

                                                                                    



             16          Larsen v. Municipality of Anchorage, 993 P.2d 428, 431 (Alaska 1999)  

                                                                                                                                                       

(quoting Johnson v. Schaub, 867 P.2d 812, 818 (Alaska 1994)).  

                                                                                                                          



                                                                              -8-                                                                       7397
  


----------------------- Page 9-----------------------

                                              17  

a union and an employer;                          employees typically do not have the power to pursue the                                          



                                                                                                                                                     18  

grievance   procedures   provided   in   these   agreements   independent   of   their   union.                                                           



Graham has not cited to any cases that would support a different conclusion.  

                                                                                                                   



                                   d.	         Conclusion  



                       We  have  considered  the  plain  language  of  section  7.4.1,  the  overall  

                                                                                                                                           



structure of Article 7, the CBA as a whole, and case law interpreting similar agreements;  

                                                                                                                                   



it is clear that section 7.4.1 is not applicable to Graham's case.  The superior court did  

                                                                                                                         



not err by denying Graham's motion for recovery of full attorney's fees and costs under  

                                                                                                                                               



the CBA.  

                   



                       2.	         Section 7.4.1 of the CBA cannot  be construed so broadly as  

                                                                                                                                                          

                                   to encompass enforcement of CBA rights in court by individual  

                                                                                                                                                          

                                   employees.  



                       Grahamalso argues that section 7.4.1 should be broadly construed to "give  

                                                                                                                                               



relief to employees who must enforce  CBA rights in court."   He asserts that "[the  

                                                                                                                                               



            17          Collective-Bargaining Agreement                            , B  LACK 'S   LAW  DICTIONARY  (10th ed.   



2014) ("A contract between an employer and a labor union regulating employment                                                    

conditions, wages, benefits, and grievances.").           



            18         SeeBernard v. Alaska Airlines,Inc., 367 P.3d 1156, 1163-64(Alaska2016)  

                                                                                                                                              

(concluding that "[t]he [collective bargaining] agreement thus emphasizes repeatedly  

                                                                                                                                      

that . . . only appeals to arbitration taken by the union . . . are contemplated," and that  

                                                                                                                                                  

"[t]here is nothing in the agreement's plain language that would lead an employee to  

                                                                                                                                                     

believe that the Board was authorized to consider any appeals other than those that were  

                                                                                                                                                

'properly submitted to it' by the union"); Schaub v. K & L Distribs., Inc., 115 P.3d 555,  

                                                                                                                                                 

561-62  (Alaska  2005)  (concluding  that  collective  bargaining  agreement  "clearly  

                                                                                                                                         

require[d] union participation in steps two and three [of the grievance procedure]" and  

                                                                                                                                                  

that union had "sole power" under agreement to pursue full grievance procedure); Casey  

                                                                                                                                              

v. City of Fairbanks, 670 P.2d 1133, 1137, 1139 (Alaska 1983) (finding "nothing on the  

                                                                                                                                                   

face of the [collective bargaining agreement] that requires or even allows an employee  

                                                                                                                                       

to unilaterally file a written grievance with the Union and the City," and that employee  

                                                                                                                                       

"cannot  simply  avail  himself  of  the  [collective  bargaining  agreement's]  arbitration  

                                                                                                                                     

procedure without the Union's involvement").  

                                                        



                                                                         -9-	                                                                  7397
  


----------------------- Page 10-----------------------

Municipality] takes dues out of each paycheck of AFD employees for . . . the efficient                                                                                   



litigation of valid employment grievances in arbitration" and that he was denied access                                                                                               



to   the   efficient   arbitration   procedures   provided   in   the   CBA.     He   contends   that   the  



attorney's fees clause in the CBA should therefore be broadly construed to "encourage                                                                                     



[the Municipality]                          to comply                 with   its legal duties .                           .   . [and] to               efficiently arbitrate   



employment claims out of court."                                               



                              Graham particularly focuses on this court's precedent of "constru[ing]                                                                 



contractual attorney's fees provisions broadly, and in a way that encourages efficient                                                                                           

                         19     He  also  argues  that  Alaska  has  a  "  'strong  public  policy  in  favor  of  

litigation."                                                                                                                                                                                   

arbitration,' [and that] we apply a presumption in favor of arbitrability."20                                                                                            While these  

                                                                                                                                                                                        



principles are valid, they are not relevant to his case.  Our case law does not support  

                                                                                                                                                                                   



prioritizingabroadconstructionofcontractual attorney's fees provisions to theexclusion  

                                                                                                                                                                               

of all other rules of contract interpretation,  such  as the plain meaning rule.21                                                                                                        And  

                                                                                                                                                                                         



Graham was not able to access the efficient arbitration procedures provided in the CBA  

                                                                                                                                                                                         



because the Union declined to pursue a grievance on his behalf.  We are not persuaded  

                                                                                                                                                                             



that we should ignore the plain and unambiguous language of the CBA; section 7.4.1  

                                                                                                                                                                                         



               19             O'Connell v. Will                       , 263 P.3d 41, 46 (Alaska 2011).                            



               20             Ahtna, Inc. v. Ebasco Constructors, Inc. , 894 P.2d 657, 662 (Alaska 1995)  

                                                                                                                                                                                       

(quoting Univ. of Alaska v. Modern Constr., Inc., 522 P.2d 1132, 1138 (Alaska 1974)).  

                                                                                                                                                                                   



               21             See O'Connell, 263 P.3d at 46-47 (reiterating our previous holdings that  

                                                                                                                                                                                           

"where the parties intend it, contractual attorney's fees clauses must be construed as  

                                                                                                                                                                                               

calling  for  fee shifting  at all [court] levels," and  concluding  that such  "contractual  

                                                                                                                                                                        

attorney's  fees  clauses  .  .  .  [also]  provide  for  attorney's  fees  incurred  during  

                                                                                                                                                                                   

post-judgment enforcement proceedings"; but noting that a broad construction  was  

                                                                                                                                                            

appropriate because "the plain languageofthecontract[at issue] indicates that the parties  

                                                                                                                                                                                      

intended to provide for all reasonable attorney's fees").  

                                                                                                               



                                                                                             -10-                                                                                        7397
  


----------------------- Page 11-----------------------

cannot be construed so broadly as to encompass the recovery of fees and costs for  

                                                                                                                     



litigation brought by an individual employee.  

                                                  



v.       CONCLUSION  



                   We AFFIRM the superior court's order denying Graham's motion for full  

                                                                                                                     



attorney's fees and costs under section 7.4.1 of the CBA.  

                                                                         



                                                          -11-                                                    7397
  

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