In Graham v. Municipality of Anchorage, the supreme court held that a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) provision governing an award of expenses did not apply to firefighter’s request for reimbursement of full attorneys’ fees and costs. Graham is a firefighter employed by the Anchorage Fire Department (AFD). After failing the interview portion of AFD’s engineer promotional exam, Graham alleged discrimination on the basis of race and age. Graham petitioned his union to file a grievance against the municipality on his behalf under the union’s CBA with the municipality, but it declined to do so. The union’s counsel later informed Graham that he had exhausted his contractual remedies under the CBA and was free, at his own cost, to pursue litigation independently. Graham sued the municipality and ultimately received a damages award. Graham then moved for an award of full attorneys’ fees under section 7.4.1 of the CBA, which provides that when the “prevailing party must seek enforcement in court of the arbitrator’s decision” the losing party must bear the expenses of such efforts. The superior court denied Graham’s theory of recovery under the CBA, ruling that the plain language of the agreement only allows full fees to enforce an arbitrator’s decision. On appeal, Graham argued that the CBA provision should be broadly construed to encourage efficient litigation and give relief to employees who must enforce CBA rights in court after being denied arbitration. Rejecting Graham’s proposed interpretation, the supreme court held that the plain language of the CBA provision was inapplicable to Graham’s case, as an arbitrator was never involved and an arbitrator’s decision was never made. Furthermore, contrary to Graham’s assertion that the letter from the union’s counsel authorized him to enforce the rights in the CBA, the supreme court held that this was simply false. Finally, the court noted that its case law does not support prioritizing a broad construction of contractual attorneys’ fee provisions to the exclusion of all other rules of contract interpretation, such as the plain meaning rule. Affirming the lower court, the supreme court held that the CBA fee provision did not apply to Graham’s case.
 446 P.3d 349 (Alaska 2019).