Hancock asks federal court to toss fees award

TUPELO – Baldwyn-based Hancock Fabrics Inc. wasted little time counter-suing a California company claiming it’s owed millions in damages from a broken relationship.
The craft and fabric retailer’s lawsuit filed Monday against Rowdec LLC, aka Westlake Associates, moves to federal court its Lee County action, which contends an arbitrator’s decision was wrong.
May 9, Rowdec/Westlake asked a Texas federal court to uphold an arbitration award plus costs against Hancock.
Although the total amount wasn’t listed, Rowdec originally asked for $5 million in actual damages from a severed dispute with Hancock for Rowdec to build a new craft department for Hancock’s retail stores.
In Hancock’s federal lawsuit filed in the Northern District of Mississippi, Hancock reported its dispute centers on determination of how much of Rowdec’s compensation comes from certain products identified at the point of sale.
Rowdec invoked its contract’s mandatory arbitration process a month after talks broke down in July 2011.
Hancock said the arbitrator “significantly exceeded” his powers in awarding Rowdec more than $519,000 in attorneys’ fees.
The arbitrator was authorized only to resolve the disputed matter, Hancock notes.
It asks the court to vacate the award.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com