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Jesse Averhart v. Cwa Local 1033

September 10, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bongiovanni, Magistrate Judge,


Currently pending before the Court is Plaintiff Jesse Averhart's ("Plaintiff") Motion for Reconsideration [Docket Entry No. 51]. Defendants CWA Local 1033 and Rae Roeder (the "Local Defendants") oppose the motion [Docket Entry No. 55]. Defendants Lawrence Cohen, Communications Workers of America, Hetty Rosenstein, and Christopher Shelton (the "CWA Defendants") have also filed an opposition [Docket Entry No. 56]. The Court has fully reviewed the papers submitted in support of, and in opposition to, Plaintiff's motion. The Court considers Plaintiff's motion without oral argument pursuant to FED.R.CIV.P. 78. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion is DENIED.

I. Background

In October, 2010, Plaintiff filed his Complaint against Defendants in State Court alleging violations of the Communications Workers of America Union Constitution ("CWA Constitution") as well as violations of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act ("LMRDA"). The matter was removed to Federal Court in November, 2010. The parties have engaged in discovery and Plaintiff was twice granted an extension to the deadline for filing a motion to amend [Docket Entry Nos. 24 & 38]. On November 21, 2011, Plaintiff filed a motion seeking leave to file an Amended and Supplemental Complaint which the Court denied in an Order dated May 2, 2012 and entered on the docket on May 3, 2012 (the "May 2, 2012 Order") [Docket Entry No. 49]. Plaintiff now seeks reconsideration of that Order.

Plaintiff discusses the standard for deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Plaintiff asserts that under a reasonable reading, the facts alleged in his Complaint gave defendants fair notice of each of plaintiff's claims. Plaintiff reminds the Court that, as a pro se litigant, he should be held to a more liberal standard. Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Motion for Reconsideration, Docket Entry No. 51-1 at *10. Plaintiff states that the Court improperly ruled that his factual allegations failed to state a claim for relief. Id. at *11.

Plaintiff next discusses the equitable principles of tolling. Plaintiff states that it is undisputed that Title I causes of action are governed by a 2 year statute of limitations. However, Plaintiff asserts that the parties disagree as to whether a 2 or 6 year statute of limitations applies to Title V causes of action. Id. Plaintiff then asserts that "the central question is when should the cause of action accrue." Id. Plaintiff argues that the statute of limitations is tolled while a union member pursues remedies internally. Id. at *12. Plaintiff cites to Wall, which Plaintiff claims invoked the doctine of equitable estoppel. Plaintiff concedes that the circumstances in Wall are factually distinguishable from those in the present action.

Plaintiff then argues that he merely need to plead applicability of the equitable principles of tolling in order to survive a motion to dismiss and Plaintiff cites various case law in support of this position. Cervantes v. City of San Diego, 5 F.3d 1273 (9th Cir. 1993); Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38 F.3d 1380 (3d Cir. 1994). Plaintiff contends that "a reasonable reading of the complaint shows that this was done and therefore was not a new claim raised in the reply brief." Plaintiff's Brief at *13. It is unclear what is meant by this statement. Presumably, Plaintiff is arguing that he plead that the statute of limitations should be tolled in his Amended Complaint, his Original Complaint or in his Motion to Amend.

Plaintiff next discusses the liberal standard applied to motions to amend. Plaintiff argues that if he is not permitted to amend and/or supplement his Complaint, he will be forced to file another Complaint in order to be heard on his claims related to the 2011 election. Id. at *14. Plaintiff would like the claims arising from the 2011 election to be consolidated with the existing claims.

Finally, Plaintiff discusses futility, undue delay and prejudice to defendants. Id. at *15. With respect to futility, Plaintiff recites the standard and relies on the Court's previous finding that "the underlying facts or circumstances relied upon by Plaintiff may be a proper subject for relief." Therefore, Plaintiff asserts that "futility cannot stand as a bar to preclude an opportunity to correct deficiencies in the amended complaint." Id. at *16.

With respect to undue delay, Plaintiff reminds the Court of the procedural history of this case. Given that the Court previously found that there was no undue delay in the filing of Plaintiff's Motion to Amend, no further discussion on this topic is necessary.

Lastly, Plaintiff addresses the prejudice to Defendants. Plaintiff asserts that the Local Defendants have not sufficiently established that they would have been prejudiced if Plaintiff's Motion to Amend had been granted. Plaintiff contends that Defendants' assertion of prejudice lacks a necessary and specific factual basis or a showing that Defendants were "unfairly deprived of an opportunity to present facts or evidence which they would have offered had the amendments been timely." Deakyne v. Community of Lewes, 416 F.2d 290, 300 (3d Cir. 1969); see also Dole v. Arco Chemical, 921 F.2d 484, 488 (3d Cir. 1990 ).

Plaintiff argues that the Amended Complaint asserts the same core facts as his initial Complaint so, if allowed, no additional discovery would be required. Plaintiff notes that discovery in this matter is not yet completed.

Finally, Plaintiff concludes that the Court erred in applying the "clear liberality standards" used to assess motions to amend. Plaintiff's Brief at *19. Plaintiff urges the Court to reconsider its denial to prevent a manifest injustice to Plaintiff and to similarly situated public-worker-only labor union members. Id.

The CWA Defendants have filed a letter brief in opposition [Docket Entry No. 56]. In it, the CWA Defendants point out that, although Plaintiff mentions the standard for addressing a motion for reconsideration, including the three grounds which, if established, allow for reconsideration, the CWA Defendants assert that Plaintiff does not specifically identify any one of those three bases to support his motion. Pursuant to their interpretation of Plaintiff's motion, the CWA Defendants assert that Plaintiff has not invoked either the first or second ground; namely, Plaintiff has not cited to any new evidence and Plaintiff does not claim any change in the controlling law. CWA Defendants' Letter Brief in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion, Docket Entry No. 56 at *2. Thus, the CWA Defendants presume that Plaintiff is relying on the third ...

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