United States District Court, D. New Jersey
WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.
David Johnson brings this action against FedEx Freight, Inc.
(“FedEx”) and unidentified individuals and
corporations, alleging violations of the National Labor
Relations Act (“NLRA”), 29 U.S.C. §§
151-169, in connection with the purportedly wrongful and
retaliatory termination of his employment. This matter comes
before the Court on FedEx's motion to dismiss under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and its motion for
sanctions under Rule 11(c). There was no oral argument.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b). For the reasons set forth below,
FedEx's motion to dismiss is GRANTED and
its motion for sanctions is DENIED.
is a citizen of New Jersey and a former employee of FedEx.
FedEx is a shipping company incorporated in Delaware, with
its principal place of business in Memphis, Tennessee. On May
18, 2016, Plaintiff filed a complaint (the
“Complaint”), alleging that FedEx wrongfully
terminated his employment due to his involvement in
attempting to unionize a local branch of FedEx's
was hired as a truck driver by FedEx on March 5, 2012. Compl.
¶ 5, ECF No. 1. Plaintiff maintains that he was
“an exemplary employee” during his employment and
that he was “never demoted, suspended nor reprimanded
throughout and until he was unexpectedly terminated on August
13, 2015.” Id. at ¶ 6. Plaintiff was a
well-known union supporter and engaged in numerous efforts to
organize his local branch in Newark, New Jersey. Id.
at ¶ 7.
November 11, 2014, Plaintiff was purportedly approached by
the CEO of FedEx during a training class and was told to
“say no to the union.” Id. at ¶ 9.
Plaintiff asserts that he felt threatened by the CEO's
mandate, but he nevertheless continued his support of the
effort to organize. As a result, Plaintiff “was
harassed and threatened with physical violence by some other
employees.” Id. at ¶¶ 10-11.
Plaintiff also alleges that he was falsely accused of severe
misconduct in his employment, which was the reason given for
his termination, but that he was never told which of his
actions consisted of the misconduct. Id. at ¶
12. Plaintiff submits that the New Jersey Department of Labor
Unemployment Board determined that he never committed any
misconduct. Id. at ¶ 13.
alleges two counts against Defendants: retaliation (Count I)
and wrongful termination (Count II). Id. at
¶¶ 16-23. Plaintiff brings both counts as
violations of “federal statute and state law.”
See id. at ¶¶ 19, 23. Plaintiff claims
that jurisdiction is proper in this Court pursuant to the
NLRA, 29 U.S.C. §§ 151-169. See id. at
¶¶ 1-4. Plaintiff does not assert diversity
jurisdiction nor does he specify which, if any, state or
common laws were violated by FedEx's conduct.
now moves to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint with
prejudice. FedEx first argues that this Court lacks subject
matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claims because the
National Labor Review Board (“NLRB”) has
exclusive jurisdiction to hear all claims alleging violations
of an employee's rights under sections 7 or 8 of the
NLRA. See Mem. of Law of Def. FedEx in Supp. of Its
Mot. to Dismiss (“Def.'s Mot.”) 3-4, ECF No.
10-1. FedEx next argues that, to the extent that Plaintiff
brings any state law claims, those claims are preempted by
the NLRA. See id. at 4-6. Finally, FedEx argues
arguendo that Plaintiff's claims are barred by
the NLRA's statute of limitations. See id. at
FedEx moves this Court to impose sanctions on Plaintiff
pursuant to Rule 11(c)(2). FedEx argues that sanctions are
warranted because both of Plaintiff's claims are
frivolous. See Mem. of Law of Def. FedEx in Supp. of
Mot. for Rule 11 Sanctions (“Sanctions Mot.”)
2-4, ECF No.11-1. FedEx submits that it complied procedurally
with Rule 11 by sending a letter and copy of its motion to
dismiss to Plaintiff's counsel, asking Plaintiff to
withdraw the Complaint. See Sanctions Mot. at 2;
Decl. of Mai Tran (“Tran Decl.”), Ex. A.
According to FedEx, Plaintiff's counsel received
FedEx's correspondence on September 13, 2016, but refused
to withdraw the Complaint. See Sanctions Mot. at 2;
Tran Decl., Ex. B.
reasons unknown to the Court, Plaintiff has not filed an
opposition or otherwise responded to either of FedEx's
motions. Nonetheless, Plaintiff's Complaint remains
pending before this Court and the Court will consider each
motion in kind.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal
of a complaint, in whole or in part, if the plaintiff fails
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The moving
party bears the burden of showing that no claim has been
stated. Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750
(3d Cir. 2005). In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6), a court must take all allegations in the complaint
as true and view them in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. See Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 501
(1975); Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, Inc. v. Mirage
Resorts Inc., 140 F.3d 478, 483 (3d Cir. 1998).
a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations,
“a plaintiff's obligation to provide the
‘grounds' of his ‘entitlement to relief'
requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555 (2007). Thus, the factual allegations must be sufficient
to raise a plaintiff's right to relief above a
speculative level, such that it is “plausible on its
face.” See Id. at 570; see also Umland v.
PLANCO Fin. Serv., Inc., 542 F.3d 59, 64 (3d Cir. 2008).
A claim has “facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
556). While “[t]he plausibility standard is not akin to
a ‘probability requirement' . . . it asks for more
than a sheer possibility.” Id.