Ward v. Commissioner of Social Security Administration et al
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge Catherine C. Blake on 11/29/2017. (c/m 11/29/17 bas, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
VICTOR T. WARD
CIVIL NO. CCB-17-2170
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY
ADMINISTRATION, ET AL.
Plaintiff Victor Ward, representing himself, has sued the Commissioner of Social
Security Administration (“SSA”) and the American Federation of Government
Employees/AFL/CIO (“AFGE”) seeking monetary damages related to a five-day suspension
imposed on Ward by an SSA supervisor.1 He relies on the Labor Management Relations Act of
1947 (“LMRA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 141 et seq. SSA has filed a motion for judgment on the
SSA correctly argues that the court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over Ward’s
complaint. The United States and its agencies are not included in the definition of “employer”
under the LMRA. 29 U.S.C. §§ 142(3), 152(2); Bourdon v. Canterbury, 813 F.Supp.2d 104,
107-8 n.4 (D.D.C. 2011). Moreover, the government has not waived sovereign immunity over
short periods of suspension allegedly in violation of the collective bargaining agreement.
The AFGE has not filed a motion to dismiss; indeed, it may not have been properly
served. But it appears the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Ward’s complaint against
the union for the same reason it lacks jurisdiction over the complaint against SSA: the LMRA
does not include federal employees, and the AFGE does not fall within the definition of a labor
organization. 29 U.S.C. §§ 152(3), 152(5); Bourdon, 813 F.Supp.2d at 107-8 n.4.
Ward filed suit in Baltimore City Circuit Court, and the government removed the case to this court.
Accordingly, the motion to dismiss will be granted; the motion for judgment on the
pleadings will be denied; and Ward will be given 14 days to show cause why the complaint
should not also be dismissed as to the AFGE.
A separate Order follows.
November 29, 2017
Catherine C. Blake
United States District Judge
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