Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Jones v. City of Atlantic City

December 19, 2007

RODNEY JONES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF ATLANTIC CITY AND AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY, AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO LOCAL 2303, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Irenas, Senior District Judge

OPINION

Presently before the Court is Defendant American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO Local 2303's (the "Union") Motion to Dismiss in Lieu of Answer. (Docket No. 2.) Plaintiff claims that the Union breached its duty of fair representation. The Union's alleged duty arose in connection with Plaintiff's termination by Defendant City of Atlantic City (the "City") on October 18, 2006. For the reasons set forth below, the motion to dismiss will be granted because the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claim against the Union and declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction.*fn1

I.

Plaintiff was employed by the City's Department of Public Works as a motor broom operator in February, 2006. (Complaint ¶ 7.) Approximately eight months later, on October 18, 2006, Plaintiff received notice from the City that he was being terminated. (Id. ¶ 11.) The City's notice provided no explanation as to the reason for Plaintiff's termination. (Id.)

Plaintiff's employment was governed by a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") between the City and the Union. (Id. ¶ 8.) Under the CBA, employees were required to file any grievances in writing. (Id. ¶ 9.) A grievance would then be presented to progressive levels of management for review and written response. (Id.) Plaintiff, as a member of the Union, was "entitled to receive counsel, guidance, and representation from [the Union] from the filing of his grievance through the entire review process." (Id. ¶ 10.)

Pursuant to the terms of the CBA, Plaintiff filed a written grievance with the Union on October 20, 2006, as a result of his termination. (Id. ¶ 12.) Accompanied by his "union steward," Plaintiff also hand-delivered copies of his grievance to the Director of Public Works, Department of Human Resources, and Business Administration offices of the City. (Id.) Thereafter, the Union did not provide Plaintiff with any information on his grievance. (Id. ¶¶ 13-14.) Plaintiff called several times to inquire about its status, and was eventually instructed to contact the President of the Union directly. (Id. ¶ 14.) When he did, Plaintiff was informed that "the city didn't want to hear his case," and he was instructed to send a letter to an agency in Trenton, New Jersey. (Id. ¶ 15.)

Plaintiff sent a letter as instructed by the President of the Union, but received no response. (Id. ¶ 16.) In January, 2007, Plaintiff contacted the Union for the final time and was again advised that "the city didn't want to hear his case." (Id. ¶ 17.) Plaintiff filed a Complaint with this Court on May 22, 2007, alleging that the Union breached its duty of fair representation.*fn2 The Union filed this motion to dismiss on July 19, 2007, asserting that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claim against the Union and, alternatively, that Plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

II.

A motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) may be treated as either a facial or factual challenge to the court's subject matter jurisdiction. Gould Elecs. Inc. v. United States, 220 F.3d 169, 176 (3d Cir. 2000) (citing Mortensen v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 549 F.2d 884, 891 (3d Cir. 1977)). "In reviewing a facial attack, the court must only consider the allegations of the complaint and documents referenced therein and attached thereto, in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Id. (citations omitted). "In reviewing a factual attack, the court may consider evidence outside the pleadings." Id. (citations omitted). The Union's present motion to dismiss is a facial challenge to the Court's subject matter jurisdiction. Therefore, the Court must accept Plaintiff's factual allegations as true. See Petruska v. Gannon Univ., 462 F.3d 294, 302 n.3 (3d Cir. 2006) (citing Mortensen, 549 F.2d at 891).

III.

The thrust of Plaintiff's Complaint is that the City terminated his employment in violation of the CBA and that the Union breached its duty of fair representation in connection with his termination and subsequent grievance. Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA") states, in pertinent part:

Suits for violation of contracts between an employer and a labor organization representing employees in an industry affecting commerce . . . may be brought in any district court of the United States having jurisdiction of the parties, without respect to the amount in controversy or without regard to the citizenship of the parties.

29 U.S.C. § 185(a) (emphasis added).*fn3 Ordinarily, and as is the case here, "an employee files a claim against the union alleging breach of the duty of fair representation together with a claim against the employer alleging breach of the collective bargaining agreement in a 'hybrid' section 301/duty of fair representation suit."*fn4 Felice, 985 F.2d at 1226.

However, the Third Circuit has clearly held that a political subdivision of a state is not an "employer" under section 301 of the LMRA.*fn5 See Manfredi v. Hazleton City Auth., Water Dep't, 793 F.2d 101, 104 (3d Cir. 1986); Crilly v. Se. Pa. Transp. Auth., 529 F.2d 1355, 1357 (3d Cir. 1976). Moreover, because a political subdivision is not an "employer," potential plaintiffs working for a political subdivision cannot be considered "employees," and therefore a union does not "represent[] employees" for purposes of section 301.*fn6 Manfredi, 793 F.2d at 104 (adhering to Crilly as precedent). Thus, the necessary conclusion is that a District Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over a plaintiff's claims that a political subdivision of a state breached a CBA and that a union breached its duty of fair representation in connection with such a CBA. Id.; Crilly, 529 F.2d at 1362-63; see also Felice, 985 F.2d at 1226-27 ("We have previously held that the term ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.