United States District Court, D. New Jersey
WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D J.
matter arises out of a labor dispute between Plaintiff Ritz
Hotels Services, LLC ("Plaintiff) and Defendants
Brotherhood of Amalgamated Trades Local Union 514
("Local 514") and its president, Joshua Gottlieb
(with Local 514, "Defendants"). The matter comes
before the Court upon Defendants' motion to dismiss for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction. ECF No. 23. For the
reasons set forth below, the motion is
facts of this case are set forth in the Court's June 28,
2019 opinion ("June Opinion"), familiarity with
which is assumed. ECF No. 18. In short, while Defendants
attempted to organize Plaintiffs employees into Local 514,
they published statements accusing Plaintiff of
"commit[ing] numerous unfair labor practices."
Amend. Compl. ¶ 13, ECF No. 20 ("AC")
(emphasis omitted). As a result, Plaintiff sued for
defamation (Count 1), defamation per se (Count Two), false
light invasion of privacy (Count Three), trade libel (Count
Four), tortious interference with contract (Count Five),
tortious interference with contractual relations (Count Six),
and tortious interference with prospective economic advantage
June Opinion, the Court granted Defendant's motion to
dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction but provided
Plaintiff with leave to amend its complaint. Id.
Plaintiff filed the AC on July 15, 2019. Now before the Court
is Defendant's second motion to dismiss pursuant to FRCP
12(b)(1). ECF No. 23; Def. Mem. in Support, ECF No. 26
challenge to subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1)
may be either a facial or a factual attack. The former
challenges subject matter jurisdiction without disputing the
facts alleged in the complaint." Davis v. Wells
Fargo, 824 F.3d 333, 346 (3d Cir. 2016). Courts
"accept the Plaintiffs' well-pleaded factual
allegations as true and draw all reasonable inferences from
those allegations in the Plaintiffs' favor." In
re Horizon Healthcare Servs. Inc. Data Breach Litig.,
846 F.3d 625, 633 (3d Cir. 2017). In contrast, factual
challenges attack "the factual allegations underlying
the complaint's assertion of jurisdiction."
Davis, 824 F.3d at 346 (cleaned up).
Defendants appear to launch both facial and factual attacks
on the Court's subject matter jurisdiction. While
Defendants regurgitate the Court's previous articulation
of the legal standard for a facial attack and cite to outside
evidence, see Def. Mem. at 5, 12, most of
Defendants' argument relates to deficiencies in the AC,
id. at 10-12. Thus, the Court will analyze both the
facial and factual sufficiency of its subject matter
Garmon Preemption Generally
move to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction
because the Court's jurisdiction is preempted by the
National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"), 29 U.S.C.
§ 151 et seq., and the claims are subject to
the exclusive jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations
Board ("NLRB"). Pursuant to San Diego Building
Trades Council v. Garmon, 359 U.S. 236, 245 (1959),
"if a cause of action implicates [Section 7 or 8] of the
NLRA, the cause of action is preempted" (hereinafter,
"Garmon Preemption"). Voilas v. Gen.
Motors Corp., 170 F.3d 367, 378 (3d Cir. 1999). Thus,
state "causes of action are presumptively preempted if
they concern conduct that is actually or arguably either
prohibited or protected by [Sections 7 or 8]."
Court previously explained, the conduct at issue here
"arguably falls within the jurisdiction of the
NLRB." June Op. at 4. Defendants "sought to
persuade [Plaintiffs] employees to join Local 514 and exerted
economic pressure on [Plaintiffs] customers. Such conduct is
entitled to protection under the NLRA." Id.
Thus, Garmon Preemption applies. Id.
Exceptions to Garmon Preemption
Preemption is not unlimited. As the Court previously
explained, "conduct that actually or arguably falls
under Sections 7 or 8 may escape NLRB's primary
jurisdiction if the claim touches interests  deeply rooted
in local feeling and responsibility. Examples include claims
involving violence or threats of violence and malicious
libel." Id. at 3 (cleaned up). Thus, for a
defamation claim to escape Garmon Preemption,
plaintiffs must allege defendants acted with malice.
Id. Further, other causes of action predicated on
allegedly defamatory statements require the same level of
culpability as direct defamation claims. See Compuware
Corp. v. Moody's Inv'rs Servs., Inc., 499 F.3d
520, 529-30 (6th Cir. 2007) (discussing tortious interference
and breach of contract claims). ...