Saylor v. Dana Sealing Manufacturing, LLC et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER: Defendant International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, Local Union No. 3062's motion for summary judgment [Record No. 29 ] is GRANTED. Signed by Judge Danny C. Reeves on 11/17/21.(JLM)cc: COR
Case: 5:20-cv-00421-DCR-MAS Doc #: 33 Filed: 11/18/21 Page: 1 of 9 - Page ID#: 474
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY
DANA SEALING MANUFACTURING,
LLC, et al.,
Civil Action No. 5: 20-421-DCR
*** *** *** ***
As exclusive bargaining representatives, unions owe their members a duty of fair
representation. Plaintiff Michelle Saylor claims that her former union, Defendant International
Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America,
Local Union No. 3062 (“UAW” or “Local 3062”), violated this duty by putting the interests
of her employer above her own. [See Record No. 8, pp. 7–8.] Denying this accusation, Local
3062 denies this accusation and moves for entry of summary judgment in its favor. [Record
No. 29] It argues that Saylor has failed to establish either showing required for her claim to
proceed and that her suit is barred by the statute of limitations. [Record No. 29-1, pp. 9–14]
Saylor has responded.1 [Record No. 32]
The pending motion will be granted because Saylor’s claim is both deficient and timebarred.
Saylor’s response invites the Court to set this matter for oral arguments and to refer the
parties to arbitration. [Record No. 32, p. 2] The Court denies both requests.
Case: 5:20-cv-00421-DCR-MAS Doc #: 33 Filed: 11/18/21 Page: 2 of 9 - Page ID#: 475
Dana Sealing Manufacturing, LLC (“Dana”), operates a manufacturing plant in
Danville, Kentucky. It produces gaskets for combustible engines. [Record No. 32-3, pp. 7–8]
Dana and Local 3062 are parties to a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) which covers
hourly-rated employees at the Danville facility. [See Record No. 29-2.] Saylor began working
for Dana as a gasket maker on April 9, 2012. [Record No. 32-3, p. 7] Gasket makers are
essentially machine operators responsible for handling approximately 23 different pieces of
equipment which are used to stamp gaskets from various raw materials. [Id., p.10] Gasket
makers are not assigned to a particular piece of equipment. They must be able to work on any
of the machines at any given time, as the need arises. [Id., p. 9] Gasket makers are also
regularly required to lift weights ranging from 5 pounds to 75 pounds, depending on their
assignment. [Id., pp. 12–20]
Saylor was injured during a workplace accident on May 24, 2018. [Record No. 32, p.
4] While undergoing treatment, Dana placed her on “light duty” performing clerical work.
[Record No. 29-4, p. 2] On January 14, 2020, Saylor’s physician advised her that nothing
more that could be done to improve her condition and assigned her permanent physical
restrictions. [Record No. 32-3, pp. 50, 101] According to those restrictions, Saylor may not
lift more than 10 pounds with her left arm, no more than 25 pounds up to her waist, may not
repetitively push or pull anything within that weight range nor lift anything overhead. [Id., p.
On January 15, 2020, Saylor was called into a meeting with Katrina Wainscott, Dana’s
Human Resources Manager, Ron Holetsky, President of Local 3062, and Sandra Grubbs, the
union’s first shift steward. [Id., p. 50–51] Wainscott informed those present that, based on
Case: 5:20-cv-00421-DCR-MAS Doc #: 33 Filed: 11/18/21 Page: 3 of 9 - Page ID#: 476
Saylor’s permanent restrictions, she would not be able to meet the physical requirements for
any available job. [Record No. 29-4, p. 2] Wainscott then gave Saylor three options: (1) quit
and file for unemployment (which Dana would not contest); (2) take the 48-month medical
leave available under the CBA; or (3) find a job at Dana that she could perform with her
restrictions. [Record No. 32-3, pp. 50–51] Saylor expressed interest in the third option and
the meeting was adjourned until the next day. [Id., p. 52]
The meeting was reconvened on January 16, 2020. [Id.] Saylor suggested several jobs
that she believed she could perform, even with her restrictions. [Id., pp. 52–53] However,
Wainscott responded that none of her suggestions were acceptable and she must either quit or
take medical leave. [Id., pp. 53–54] Saylor refused to quit and, as a result, Dana placed her
on medical leave. [Id., 53–56] Based on these events, Saylor allegedly requested that Holetsky
file a grievance against Dana on her behalf. [Id., pp. 56, 64] Notwithstanding this request,
Saylor never received any communication from union officials. [Id., p. 64, 75] Saylor herself
also failed to follow-up on the matter. [Id., p. 75] Ultimately, the requested grievance was
Saylor filed this action on September 18, 2020, or roughly eight months after Dana
placed her on medical leave. [See Record No. 1.] She and Dana eventually reached a
“favorable” settlement agreement. [Record No. 32, p. 8] Only Saylor’s claims against Local
3062 remain. [See Record No. 28.]
Summary judgment is appropriate if there are no genuine disputes regarding any
material facts and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a);
see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322–23 (1986). A material fact is one that “affect[s]
Case: 5:20-cv-00421-DCR-MAS Doc #: 33 Filed: 11/18/21 Page: 4 of 9 - Page ID#: 477
the outcome of the suit.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute
over a material fact is “genuine” if a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party. Id. at 247-48.
The moving party bears the initial burden to demonstrate that it is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 317. This burden is met by showing that there
is an absence of evidence on an issue which the nonmoving party has the ultimate burden of
proof. Id. at 325. Once the moving party satisfies its burden, the nonmoving party must come
forward with “specific facts” indicating there is a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324; Bass v.
Robinson, 167 F.3d 1041, 1044 (6th Cir. 1999).
In deciding whether to grant summary judgment, the Court views all the facts and
inferences drawn from the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986).
Saylor brings this action against Local 3062 under § 301 of the Labor Management
Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185. [Record No. 8, pp. 7–8] To succeed on a § 301 claim, the
plaintiff must prove that: (1) their employer breached the collective bargaining agreement; and
(2) their union breached its duty of fair representation. Vencl v. Int’l Union of Operating
Eng’rs, Local 18, 137 F.3d 420, 424 (6th Cir. 1998) (citing White v. Anchor Motor Freight,
Inc., 899 F.2d 555, 559 (6th Cir. 1990)). Failure to establish either of these showings “dooms
the cause of action in its entirety.” Ely v. Newell-Rubbermaid, Inc., 50 F. App’x 681, 686 (6th
Section 301 actions are subject to a six-month statute of limitations. DelCostello v.
Int’l Brotherhood of Teamsters, 462 U.S. 151, 154 (1983). The limitations period begins to
Case: 5:20-cv-00421-DCR-MAS Doc #: 33 Filed: 11/18/21 Page: 5 of 9 - Page ID#: 478
run when the employee discovers, or through reasonable diligence should have discovered, the
alleged violation. Robinson v. Central Brass Mfg. Co., 987 F.2d 1235, 1239 (6th Cir. 1993)
(citing Adkins v. Int’l Union of Elec., Radio & Mach. Workers, 769 F.2d 330, 335 (6th Cir.
Breach of the CBA
Local 3062 argues that summary judgment is appropriate because Saylor has neither
alleged nor established that Dana violated the CBA. [Record No. 29-1, pp. 9–11] But Saylor
contends that she is not required to make this showing because she and Dana reached a
“favorable” settlement agreement. [Record No. 32, pp. 8, 12] As a fallback position, she also
identifies for the first time specific CBA provisions that she claims Dana breached. [Id., p. 9]
Regarding her second position, it is well-established that “a plaintiff may not introduce
a new claim or theory—one not found in the complaint—in response to a motion for summary
judgment.” Ohio Ass’n of Elementary Sch. Adm’rs v. Educ. Impact, Inc., No. 2:11-cv-068,
2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34748, at *27 (S.D. Ohio Mar. 13, 2013) (quoting San Francisco
Residence Club, Inc. v. Baswell-Guthrie, 897 F. Supp. 2d 1122, 1200 (N.D. Al. Sept. 13,
Here, Saylor did not include any of these theories of breach in her Amended
Complaint.2 [See Record No. 8.] And she may not now amend that pleading simply by placing
these new allegations in her response. Hubbard v. Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc., No. 16-cv
Despite Saylor’s claim that she “squarely address[ed] the ‘contract’ in her amended
complaint,” the isolated references that do appear in that pleading clearly relate to claims
against UAW. [Record No. 32, p. 8 n.16] They do not allege that Dana breached the CBA.
[Record No. 8, ¶¶ 32, 49 (“Plaintiff, as a union member, is entitled per contract to training, job
placement, and assistance in disputes against the company, which the union failed to provide;
. . . the [union] negotiated a cont[r]act with Dana that . . . is unfair.”) (emphasis added)]
Case: 5:20-cv-00421-DCR-MAS Doc #: 33 Filed: 11/18/21 Page: 6 of 9 - Page ID#: 479
11455, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139533, at *8 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 30, 2017). To allow such
would be fundamentally unfair to Local 3062, which submitted its motion on the premise that
Saylor’s amended complaint is the sole source of her claims. Id. at 9. Accordingly, she must
rely on her main contention: that she is not required to show breach.
Both Supreme Court and Sixth Circuit authority foreclose Saylor’s argument. See, e.g.,
DelCostello v. Int’l Brotherhood of Teamsters, 462 U.S. 151, 165 (1983). In fact, the very
case Saylor cites in support of her position directly refutes it. See Vencl, 137 F.3d at 425;
[Record No. 32, p. 12] In Vencl, the Sixth Circuit explained that, even though Vencl settled
his claim against his employer, he was nevertheless required to prove breach of the CBA to
recover against the union. Vencl, 137 F.3d at 425. This is consistent with the Supreme Court’s
guidance that “the case [the plaintiff] must prove is the same” whether he sues the union, the
employer, or both. DelCostello, 462 U.S. at 165. Saylor has failed to raise a genuine dispute
regarding breach of the CBA.
Breach of Duty of Fair Representation
The Court has determined previously that Saylor did not raise a genuine dispute
regarding breach of the CBA. This finding entitles Local 3062 to judgement as a matter of
law. Swanigan v. FCA US LLC, 938 F.3d 779, 784 (6th Cir. 2019) (“[W]ithout a plausible
allegation that [the employer] violated a specific provision of the collective-bargaining
agreement, plaintiff[’s] § 301 claim fails as a matter of law.”). As a result, the Court “need
not consider the second prong of the test.” Jones v. Interlake S.S. Co., No. 20-2210, 2021
U.S. App. LEXIS 2552, at *12 (6th Cir. Aug. 23, 2021) (citing Swanigan, 938 F.3d at 786).
Case: 5:20-cv-00421-DCR-MAS Doc #: 33 Filed: 11/18/21 Page: 7 of 9 - Page ID#: 480
Saylor’s Claim is Time-Barred
Although Saylor’s claim fails on the merits, UAW independently argues that it is barred
by the applicable six-month statute of limitations. [Record No. 29-1, pp. 12–13] Saylor
responds that the limitations period is subject to equitable tolling because she “attempted in
good faith to exhaust her internal union remedies before filing suit.”3 [Record No. 32, p. 16]
Saylor’s claim is untimely because tolling does not apply under the facts presented.
As discussed, a six-month limitations period begins to run when an employee discovers,
or reasonably should have discovered, the alleged violation. Robinson, 987 F.2d at 1239.
Saylor discovered UAW’s alleged violation at the January 16, 2020, meeting with Dana. [See
Record No. 32-3, pp. 64–67, 75–76 (Saylor discussing UAW’s deficient representation at the
However, even if she was unaware at that time, the subsequent lack of
communication from union officials regarding her requested grievance should have made the
alleged violation clear. [See id., pp. 56, 64, 75 (lack of contact from the union regarding
grievance).] At the latest, Saylor reasonably should have discovered the alleged violation in
late January 2020.4 However, she did not file suit until September 18, 2020, or nearly eight
Saylor also argues against the application of the six-month statute of limitations
entirely. [Record No. 32, pp. 14–15 (“The Kentucky statute of limitations for actions based
upon written contracts, like the CBA, provides a fifteen-year statute of limitations (KRS
413.090), and applies to this action.”)] Because Supreme Court and Sixth Circuit precedents
reject this argument, it need not be addressed further. DelCostello, 462 U.S. at 154; Adkins,
769 F.2d at 334–35.
Although her brief on this point is difficult to follow, Saylor makes several additional
arguments regarding exhaustion and why it should be excused. [Record No. 32, pp. 15–16]
However, Local 3062 has not raised the issue of exhaustion in its motion, and the Court does
not consider it as a basis for its summary judgment ruling.
Opposing this conclusion, Saylor contends that the limitations period did not begin
running until either “May 4, 2020, the date her unemployment claim was approved; or . . . May
Case: 5:20-cv-00421-DCR-MAS Doc #: 33 Filed: 11/18/21 Page: 8 of 9 - Page ID#: 481
months later. [Record No. 1-1] Thus, her claim is time-barred unless tolling applies. See
DelCostello, 462 U.S. at 154.
A movant is entitled to equitable tolling by demonstrating that she has been pursuing
her rights diligently and that some extraordinary circumstance prevented timely filing. Hall
v. Warden, Lebanon Corr. Inst., 662 F.3d 745, 749 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Holland v. Florida,
560 U.S. 631, 649 (2010)). Saylor has failed to make either showing. There is no evidence to
support her claim that she “attempted in good faith to exhaust her internal union remedies
before filing suit.” [Record No. 32, p. 16] To the contrary, after initially requesting a
grievance, Saylor made no effort to check on its status or to contact union officials. [See
Record No. 32-3, p. 75.] This does not demonstrate diligence. Moreover, she does not allege
that any extraordinary circumstance prevented timely filing of her claim. Saylor is not entitled
to equitable tolling and her claim is time-barred. See Hall, 662 F.3d at 749.
Based on the foregoing analysis and discussion, it is hereby
ORDERED that Defendant International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and
Agricultural Implement Workers of America, Local Union No. 3062’s motion for summary
judgment [Record No. 29] is GRANTED.
12, 2020, the day her workers’ compensation claim was resolved.” [Record No. 32, p. 1
(footnotes omitted)] However, she offers neither legal nor factual support for this position. As
a result, this line of argument is waived. McPherson v. Kelsey, 125 F.3d 989, 995–96 (6th Cir.
1997) (quoting Citizens Awareness Network v. U.S. Nuclear Regul. Comm’n, 59 F.3d 284,
293–94 (1st Cir. 1995)) (“Issues adverted to in a perfunctory manner, unaccompanied by some
effort at developed argumentation, are deemed waived.”)
Case: 5:20-cv-00421-DCR-MAS Doc #: 33 Filed: 11/18/21 Page: 9 of 9 - Page ID#: 482
Dated: November 17, 2021.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?