Knuckles v. Department of the Army

Filing 18

ORDER granting 14 Amended Motion to Dismiss. The Clerk is instructed to terminate all motions and deadlines, enter the appropriate judgment of dismissal, and close this case. Signed by Judge J. Randal Hall on 03/07/2017. (thb)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA AUGUSTA DIVISION JENIQUA IRENE KNUCKLES, * Plaintiff, * v. * * DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, CV 116-013 * Defendant. * * ORDER This suit employment arises as a out civilian of the employee termination at Fort of Plaintiff's Gordon. Plaintiff alleges that she was denied her right to arbitrate the propriety of her But removal. because She now asks Plaintiff has jurisdiction in this Court, that she is entitled Accordingly, the dismiss to failed to to compel plead arbitration. a basis for and because she has failed to plead compel GRANTS arbitration, I. Defendant's her claim amended fails. 14). (doc. Court the Court motion Background Plaintiff previously served as a civilian employee at Gordon. to While employed at Fort Gordon, Plaintiff was Fort a member of American ("AFGE"), Federation a union. Defendant were (See Doc. of Government (Doc. 1 at 5. ) parties 14-2.) to This a for employees grievances with collective-bargaining Defendant. allowed under agreement of the other if resolution "invoked only by the Plaintiff claims was (Doc. 1 was once at 5.) and eventually And dissatisfied removed certain to for delay, AFGE reorganized. 480 days." (Id.) the service, take her from was arbitration costs on [Plaintiff's] filed Court cover be which she dispute to Defendant. Defendant "improperly (Id.) And during this New officers now control AFGE, (Id. at 6.) "the new board members will invoke behalf but will not cover the (Id.) Plaintiff the . . . ." could continually and Plaintiff is no longer a member of the union. According to the complaint, outcome (Id. at 52.) however, according to Plaintiff, the arbitration with documents arbitration, documents Notably, arbitration from agreed workplace request or [AFGE]." AFGE received to But AFGE and agreement. resolve 47-53.) AFGE 2017 among other things, to at procedures. The postponed because, withheld the (Id. [Defendant] it AFGE they were improper. arbitration and Defendant Local During that time, agreement provided, procedures agreement Employees, the to cost this compel of the lawsuit arbitration arbitration. in February and to 2016. require She asks Defendant Defendant moves to to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint subject-matter because Plaintiff jurisdiction and because has failed to no Plaintiff has plead right under the collective-bargaining agreement to compel arbitration. II. Legal Standards In considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), Court tests Rhodes, all the 416 U.S. facts 232, alleged inferences in Hoffman-Pugh The legal Court, the v. sufficiency of the 236 the in (1974). complaint light Ramsey, however, most 312 only well-pleaded facts. 79 Scheuer v. The Court must accept as and construe favorable F.3d need not complaint. 1222, accept to 1225 legal Ashcroft v. the all true reasonable plaintiff. (11th the Cir. conclusions See 2002). as Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, true, 678- (2009). A complaint also must accepted as true, on its face.'" 550 U.S. 544, "factual 570 inference that alleged." Id. factual matter, 'to state a claim to relief that is plausible Id. at 678 content "contain sufficient (citing Bell Atl. (2007)). that the Corp. v. Twombly, The plaintiff is required to plead allows the defendant court is to liable draw for the the reasonable misconduct "The plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. A motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) is "decided without reference to the merits exclusive of province Corp., 323 F.3d motion may be McElmurry 1244, to 920, of a the other [the] matter hand, jurisdiction Id. in of 2007). if (1) she has to state court." attack" or A v. the Amway Rule 12(b)(1) "factual a attack." Augusta-Richmond Cty., 501 F.3d jurisdiction" sufficiently alleged a in her "the existence irrespective of complaint. A factual of the Id. attack, subject matter pleadings . . . ." (internal quotation marks omitted). moves to Discussion dismiss Plaintiff's failed to plead jurisdiction and a within Morrison (citation omitted). fact, lie 2003). plaintiff has Ill. Defendant and A facial attack requires the Court challenges (citation omitted) claim (11th Cir. "facial (alteration in original) on trial Gov't (11th Cir. subject the 924-25 Consol. "look and see underlying of either v. 1251 basis the claim. The Court complaint (2) addresses because she has these failed arguments separately below. A. Plaintiff has failed to plead jurisdiction. Defendant jurisdiction argues in this Defendant has waived sovereign immunity agencies from suit." that Plaintiff Court has failed because she has sovereign shields the immunity. Federal FDIC v. Meyer, Thus, as a federal agency, to not shown "Absent a Government 510 U.S. 471, establish that waiver, and its 475 (1994). Defendant is immune from suit unless it has waived sovereign jurisdictional, id., immunity. Sovereign Here, 9 ยง 1 not et FAA, 1249, a (11th Cir. seq. , provide subject-matter F.3d 872 see Thompson v. McHugh, 2010). Plaintiff relies only on the Federal Arbitration Act, U.S.C. "does is and it is a plaintiff's burden to show that the government has waived its immunity, 388 F. App'x 870, immunity to an support independent jurisdiction." 1253 (11th plaintiff Cir. must See F.3d 1254-57 Cir. on establish the (11th FAA is jurisdiction 2011). v. court's Grp., 320 under the based v. Accordingly, that FAA JFS Bank and the proceed to State But federal jurisdiction Cmty. thus a Bank Thus, misplaced, and for Household establish controversy. reliance basis 2003). underlying 1241, jurisdiction. she on the Strong, 651 Plaintiff's has Defendant failed has to waived immunity to this suit. B. P l a i n t i f f has failed to Alternatively, to state a arbitration Defendant claim for under state a claim for argues relief because the that she relief. Plaintiff has no collective-bargaining has failed to compel right agreement.1 As 1 Addressing this argument requires the Court to consider a document outside the complaint because Plaintiff did not attach the collectivebargaining agreement to her complaint. A court may consider materials outside of a complaint without converting a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment when the document is "(1) central to the plaintiff's claim and (2) undisputed." Day v. Taylor, 400 F.3d 1272, 1276 (11th Cir. 2005). In this sense, "undisputed" means challenge the authenticity of the document. that Id. the Here, plaintiff dispute the authenticity of the collective-bargaining agreement, central to her claim. Indeed, does not Plaintiff does not and it is she bases her alleged right to arbitration on mentioned, the collective-bargaining agreement between AFGE and Defendant established procedures for the resolution of employee grievances, including Arbitration, however, [AFGE]." arbitration. could be (See Doc. 14-2 "invoked only by at 47-53.) [Defendant] or (Id^ at 52.) Because only arbitration Defendant in for her complaint, the Agency to she she has specifically invoke no states Arbitration has initiate In that Plaintiff to plausibly allege that she is entitled to compel arbitration. concedes agreement, right to Plaintiff the had the failed fact, under and AFGE right to that she and arbitration: cover "would like the cost of arbitration per the agreement that only the agency or the union can invoke arbitration." (Doc. 1 at 6.) That is, Plaintiff wants the Court to require Defendant to invoke arbitration under the agreement because she recognizes that she does not have the right to request arbitration. Plaintiff is entitled International (2d Cir. to Association 1962) But the Court is unpersuaded that such of (concluding relief. See Machinists, that an Black-Clawson 313 F.2d aggrieved Co. 179, employee v. 183-84 had no right to compel arbitration because "the collective bargaining agreement . . . [gave] the employee ... no right to compel . . . arbitration . . . ."). the agreement. Thus, the Court is satisfied that it may consider this document without converting Defendant's motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment. In matter sum, because jurisdiction, Plaintiff and has because she has a right to compel arbitration, GRANTS The Court 14) . motions this has to not plead subject- pleaded that she her claim fails and the Court Defendant's motion to dismiss. IV. (doc. failed GRANTS Thus, Defendant's the and deadlines, Conclusion Clerk is amended motion instructed to to dismiss TERMINATE ENTER THE APPROPRIATE JUDGMENT, all and CLOSE case, ORDER ENTERED at Augusta, *7V^ Georgia this / day of March, 2017 HONORABLE J. RANDAL HALL UNITEj/ STATES DISTRICT JUDGE ffiRN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA

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