United States District Court, D. New Jersey
L. LINARES CHIEF JUDGE
matter comes before the Court by way of Defendants
International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and
Transportation Workers Smart-Transportation Division
("International"), John Previsich, Smart/United
Transportation Union Local 759 ("Local 759"), and
Calvin Studivant's (collectively referred to as
"Union Defendants") Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs
Third Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). (ECF No. 45). Plaintiff has submitted
Opposition to said Motion (ECF No. 48), to which Union
Defendants have replied. (ECF No. 52). The Court decides this
matter without oral argument pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 78. For the reasons set forth below, the
Court grants the Motion to Dismiss.
who is a New Jersey resident, brings this action against his
union, Defendant Local 759, as well as Defendant
International. (See generally Plaintiffs Third
Amended Complaint, ECF No. 33 ("TAC") ¶¶
8-9). Defendant John Previsich is the President of Defendant
International, and Defendant Studivant is the Vice President
of the Bus Department of Defendant Local 759. (TAC
was employed by now-dismissed Defendant Community Coach, Inc.
("Community") for 18 years and has 25 years of bus
driver experience. (TAC ¶ 12). On July 18, 2015,
Plaintiff was driving a bus from North Carolina to New
Jersey. (TAC ¶ 13). While driving through Maryland, he
was pulled over for failing to stop at a weigh station.
(Id.). Plaintiff was cited for that violation as
well as driving while fatigued. (Id.). The summons
for driving while fatigued was dismissed, and the weigh
station violation resulted in a fine. (Id.).
Plaintiff presented the summonses to his employer, as was
required by "Part I Attachment, Section 11, Article 1 of
the Collective Bargaining Agreement" ("CBA").
(TAC ¶ 14).
August 13, 2015, Plaintiff appeared for a disciplinary
hearing where Defendant Studivant, as well as Stanley
Fairconnetue, who is a hearing officer and assistant manager
with Community, attended. (TAC ¶ 15). The purpose of the
hearing was to determine the ultimate discipline Plaintiff
should receive for his traffic violations, with termination
of employment possible. (Id.). Stanley Fairconnetue
determined that the appropriate discipline for Plaintiff was
to complete one hour of computer based training. (TAC ¶
17). Union Defendants objected to the discipline claiming
that Community did not comply with Article 24 of the CBA.
(TAC ¶ 18). On or about August 18, 2015, Community's
manager Newel Scoon and Defendant Studivant engaged in a
conversation regarding whether Plaintiff would be required to
perform the training. (TAC ¶ 19). Union Defendants took
the position that Community failed to meet the time limits
for such a hearing under the CBA. (Id.). According
to Plaintiff, Union Defendants never consulted with him
regarding the discipline decision. (TAC ¶ 60).
Plaintiff was terminated by way of a "Hearing Decision
letter" on August 20, 2015, which was five business days
after the completion of the hearing, despite the fact that
the CBA required said letter to be issued within two business
days after the completion of the hearing. (TAC ¶¶
20-22). The "hearing was held prior to the determination
of the District Court of Maryland for Cecil County ... as to
the guilt or innocence of Plaintiff regarding the two
citations he received." (TAC ¶ 24). This fact,
Plaintiff avers, was "in violation of the CBA"
because Plaintiffs employer did not have all the necessary
information to ascertain whether termination was appropriate.
(TAC ¶¶ 25-26).
appealed the termination, through Union Defendants, on August
21, 2015. (TAC ¶ 27). On September 3, 2015,
Community's General Counsel Jazmine Estacio heard the
appeal. (TAC ¶ 28). Plaintiff claims that the citations
were minor infractions, and the citation for driving while
fatigued was based on his own statement to the police
officers and not any observations by the police. (TAC
¶¶ 29-31). On September 13, 2015, Community
provided Newel Scoon and Defendant Studivant with a draft
letter of reinstatement, which converted Plaintiffs
termination to a suspension and final warning. (TAC ¶
34). It further noted that Plaintiff would receive back pay
if the pending motor vehicle charges against him were
dismissed, and also required him to complete the
aforementioned computer training. (TAC ¶ 34). In
exchange, Plaintiff had to agree that if he violated any
company policies for one year he would be immediately
terminated. (TAC ¶ 35). The agreement was never signed
because Union Defendants and Plaintiff felt that the
agreement was a violation of Plaintiff s due process rights.
(TAC ¶ 36).
through Union Defendants, requested that this issue be
arbitrated. (TAC ¶ 38). Prior to arbitration, Plaintiff
requested that Union Defendants provide him with an attorney
experienced in union grievances. (TAC ¶ 39). Defendant
Studivant told Plaintiff "that he 'didn't think
it was a big deal' and he 'would handle it
himself" (Id.). The matter proceeded to
arbitration on November 17, 2015, where Defendant Studivant,
rather than counsel, represented Plaintiff. (TAC ¶ 40).
Plaintiff generally claims Defendant Studivant, lacked the
requisite skills to properly represent him, but, once again,
does not provide any additional allegations to support this
contention. (TAC¶41). On January 11, 2016, Plaintiff
received the arbitration opinion which found that he was
discharged for just cause and denied his grievance.
Defendant Studivant advised Plaintiff that Union Defendants,
by way of their Cleveland, Ohio office, had already filed an
appeal of the arbitration award with the New Jersey Superior
Court, Appellate Division. (TAC ¶ 42). When Plaintiff
requested a copy of the appeal, Defendant Studivant advised
Plaintiff that the Cleveland office of the Union Defendants
was supposed to file it but never did, and that Defendant
Studivant was aware that the appeal had not been filed when
he told Plaintiff that the appeal was going to be filed. (TAC
¶¶ 43-44). Defendant Studivant then told Plaintiff
he would have to handle the appeal pro se if he
wanted to pursue same. (TAC ¶46).
Defendants provided Plaintiff with a letter dated March 3,
2016 in response to Defendant Studivant's request to
Union Defendants to review Plaintiffs case to see if there
was a basis to set the arbitration award aside. (TAC ¶
On March 27, 2016, Plaintiff wrote to Defendant Previsich
regarding Union Defendants' assistance in appealing the
award. (TAC ¶ 47). Thereafter, Union Defendants gave
Plaintiff $250.00 to cover the cost of the appeal, and
instructed him, once again, to proceed pro se. (TAC
¶ 48). On March 30, 2016, Plaintiff attempted to file an
appeal, but it was ...