Are Attorneys Fees (Not Part of the Employment Agreement) Arbitrable ?
In Galasso v. KNS Cos., 364 Ill. App. 3d 124, 130, 845 N.E.2d 857, 300 Ill. Dec. 968 (2006), an arbitration panel awarded attorney fees pursuant to the Attorneys Fees in Wage Actions Act (Attorneys Fees Act) (705 ILCS 225/0.01 (West 2002)) based on a finding that the appellees were employees under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (820 ILCS 115/1 et seq. (West 2002)). Galasso, 364 Ill. App. 3d at 132.
On appeal, the appellant contended the panel exceeded its authority because the fees were not part of the parties' employment agreements or permitted by the Attorneys Fees Act, and therefore were not arbitrable. Galasso, 364 Ill. App. 3d at 132.
The appellant, however, did not submit a section 2 petition to challenge the arbitration agreement nor did the appellant object, at any point during the arbitration, to the arbitrability of the fees sought. Galasso, 364 Ill. App. 3d at 133.
Furthermore, in asking the circuit court to vacate the award, the appellant argued that, in addition to the panel's award not being authorized by contract or permitted by the statute at issue, it improperly included fees related to other claims. Galasso, 364 Ill. App. 3d at 133.
This court found the appellant conceded before the circuit court that the arbitrator could resolve the issue of attorney fees. Galasso, 364 Ill. App. 3d at 133.
As a result, this court held the appellant forfeited its argument. Galasso, 364 Ill. App. 3d at 133.