Ordahl v. Local 1140 IUE-CWA
ORDER granting 19 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Senior Judge David S. Doty on 9/21/2015. (DLO)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
Civil No. 14-1305(DSD/HB)
Dennis J. Ordahl,
Dennis J. Ordahl, 908 West 80 ½ Street, Bloomington, MN 55420,
Richard L. Kaspari, Esq., Metcalf, Kaspari, Engdahl & Lazarus,
P.A., 2356 University Avenue, West, #230, St. Paul, MN 55114,
counsel for defendant.
This matter is before the court upon the motion for summary
judgment by defendant IUE-CWA Local 1140 (Union).
Based on a
review of the file, record, and proceedings herein, and for the
following reasons, the court grants the motion.
This employment dispute arises out of pro se plaintiff Dennis
Ordahl’s eventual termination from The Toro Company.
working as a machinist for Toro on August 4, 2004.
Ordahl has poor blood circulation in his legs due to a
medical condition known as venous stasis.
Kaspari Aff. Ex. 1, at
16-17. Ordahl requested an accommodation for this condition in the
form of a ten-minute walking break every two hours, which Toro
Williams Aff. ¶ 7; id. Ex. 2.
Ordahl’s first two
positions with Toro involved a steady amount of standing, walking,
and lifting while working with heavy machinery production. Kaspari
Aff. Ex. 1, at 19-22.
In June 2007, Ordahl became a tool and die
maker, which was less physically strenuous and did not involve the
heavy machinery production of his previous positions.
Aff. ¶ 8; Kaspari Aff. Ex. 1, at 23-24.
On April 20, 2010, Toro and the Union met with Ordahl and
informed him that one tool and die maker position was being
eliminated for economic reasons.
Williams Aff. ¶ 11.
Ordahl was the least senior employee in the tool and die maker
position, he was required to leave the position.1
Id. ¶¶ 10-11,
Ordahl asked that he be allowed to retain the position as an
accommodation for his medical condition under the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA).
Id. ¶ 12.
The Union reiterated to Ordahl
that, pursuant to the CBA, he was required to leave the position.
Id. ¶ 13.
Nevertheless, the Union and Toro tried to find a
reasonable alternative method of accommodation for Ordahl and met
The Union and Toro are parties to a Collective Bargaining
Agreement (CBA), which provides that, if Toro determines to reduce
the number of employees working in a job classification, employees
shall be reduced from the classification in inverse order of
seniority. Williams Aff. ¶¶ 6, 10; id. Ex. 1, Art. VIII § 2(B), at
with him several additional times.2
See id. ¶¶ 12-13, 16.
Union and Toro told Ordahl that he could exercise his right to bump
a junior employee in another position for which he was qualified.3
Id. ¶¶ 10-14.
Id. ¶ 14.
Ordahl, however, refused to exercise this right.
Under the CBA, if an employee does not exercise his
right to bump a junior employee, Toro may assign that employee to
any open position for which he is qualified.
Art. VIII § 2(B), at 35.
Id. ¶ 10; id. Ex. 1,
Consequently, consistent with the CBA,
Toro assigned Ordahl to a vacant machinist position that he had
Id. ¶ 14.
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which he cross-filed with
the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR), alleging that he
Williams Aff. ¶ 32; id. Ex. 15.
He also alleged that
Toro denied his reasonable accommodation request to remain in the
tool and die maker position.
Id. Ex. 15.
However, Toro alerted
Ordahl to a job posting for an open position as a tool and die
maker on March 1, 2012. Id. Ex. 5. Still, Ordahl declined to submit
The CBA requires the parties to “meet and discuss
alternative methods of accommodation that will both satisfy the
requirement of the [ADA and the Minnesota Human Rights Act] and the
spirit and intent of the collective bargaining agreement.”
Williams Aff. Ex. 1, Art. XX § 2, at 90.
This right to bump a junior employee is established under
the CBA in Art. VIII § 2(B), at 33-35. Williams Aff. ¶ 10; id. Ex.
a bid slip for the position.4
Id. Ex. 5.
The MDHR determined that
the charge lacked probable cause on March 29, 2013, and the EEOC
dismissed Ordahl’s charge as untimely on March 11, 2014.
Ordahl v. Toro, No. 14-CV-1687, 2015 WL 4569161, at *1 (D. Minn.
July 28, 2015); Compl. at 7.
Toro placed Ordahl on short-term disability on March 14, 2012.
Williams Aff. ¶ 24; id. Ex. 9.
On February 20, 2013, Toro notified
Ordahl by letter that his personal leave of absence would exhaust
on March 14, 2013, but invited Ordahl to submit updated information
in order to determine whether accommodations could be made.
¶ 27; id. Ex. 10.
This letter also notified Ordahl that his
employment would be terminated on March 14, 2013, if Ordahl took no
Id. ¶ 27.
Id. ¶ 27; id. Ex. 10.
Ordahl provided no documentation.
Toro terminated Ordahl’s employment effective March 14,
2013, by a letter dated April 10, 2013.
Id.; id. Ex. 11.
On April 15, 2013, the Union filed a grievance challenging
Toro’s termination of Ordahl.
Id. ¶ 28; id. Ex. 12.
On July 9,
2013, the Union sent Ordahl a letter explaining that it would have
no means to effectively challenge the termination unless Ordahl
could provide documentation evidencing that he gave Toro the
required medical documentation.
Id. ¶ 29; id. Ex. 13.
At oral argument, Ordahl provided a partial copy of Toro’s
seniority list, and noted that the individual hired for the new
tool and die maker position was junior to him. That fact does not
alter the analysis of this case, particularly given Ordahl’s
failure to submit a bid slip for the position.
finally responded on August 26, 2013, in a letter confirming that
he had not provided the necessary medical documentation to Toro.
Id. ¶ 30; id. Ex. 14.
Consequently, the Union withdrew its
grievance challenging Toro’s termination of Ordahl.
Id. ¶ 30.
Ordahl commenced the instant action on April 28, 2014. Ordahl
alleged minimal facts supporting his complaint, but attached the
EEOC’s dismissal of his charge.
On May 28, 2014, Ordahl filed an
amended complaint asserting claims for disability discrimination
and reprisal under the ADA.
The Union now moves for summary
Standard of Review
“The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact 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 (1986).
A fact is material only when its resolution affects the outcome of
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
A dispute is genuine if the evidence is such that it could
cause a reasonable jury to return a verdict for either party.
On a motion for summary judgment, the court views all evidence
and inferences in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
Id. at 255.
The nonmoving party, however, may not rest upon mere
denials or allegations in the pleadings but must set forth specific
facts sufficient to raise a genuine issue for trial.
U.S. at 324.
A party asserting that a genuine dispute exists - or
cannot exist - about a material fact must cite “particular parts of
materials in the record.”
Fed R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(A).
plaintiff cannot support each essential element of a claim, the
court must grant summary judgment because a complete failure of
proof regarding an essential element necessarily renders all other
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23.
Ordahl brings two claims that raise issues of timeliness.
First, Ordahl alleges that Union violated the ADA by discriminating
against him in his efforts to remain assigned to the tool and die
maker position. Second, Ordahl alleges that the Union failed to
satisfy its duty to fairly represent him in enforcing the CBA.
Claims Based on the ADA
The Union argues that Ordahl’s claim under the ADA, which was
presented to and dismissed by the EEOC, should be dismissed as
Under the ADA, an employee must file a charge of
discrimination — including failure to accommodate — within 300 days
of the alleged discrimination. See 42 U.S.C. § 12117 (applying the
300–day statute of limitations listed in 42 U.S.C. § 2000e–5(e) to
Discrete acts of alleged discrimination, including
transfer and termination, trigger the running of the limitations
Nat’l R.R. Passenger Corp. v. Morgan, 536 U.S. 101, 114
Later effects of an allegedly discriminatory act do not
lengthen the limitations period, but may constitute additional
Dring v. McDonnell Douglas Corp., 58 F.3d 1323,
1327-28 (8th Cir. 1995).
Ordahl filed his charge with the EEOC on May 27, 2011.
that charge, Ordahl’s sole claim is that the Union discriminated
against him in his efforts to remain assigned to the tool and die
maker position as an accommodation for his disability.
transferred Ordahl from the tool and die maker position on April
That very day, Toro and Union representatives told
Ordahl that a tool and die maker position was not available as an
That served as Ordahl’s notice that the Union
would not be filing a grievance on his behalf, and is the sole
discrete act alleged by Ordahl in his charge to the EEOC.
Ordahl’s filing of the charge to the EEOC occurred 402 days after
the events of April 20, 2010, the charge was untimely.
result, the Union is entitled to summary judgment in its favor with
respect to this claim.
Effectively, Ordahl asked that he be able to bump a more
senior employee out of the position and have his pick of jobs as an
accommodation for his disability. That request was not supported
by the CBA.
Claims Based on a Duty to Fair Representation
Ordahl alleges that the Union failed to satisfy its duty to
fairly represent him in enforcing the CBA. The Union argues that it
satisfied its duty when it met with Ordahl on April 20, 2010, and
that his claim is untimely in any event.
The court need not
determine whether the Union satisfied its duty to fairly represent
Ordahl, however, because the court agrees the claim is untimely.
An employee’s action alleging that his union violated its duty
to fairly represent him in enforcing a collective bargaining
six-month statute of limitations. DelCostello v. Int’l Bhd. of
§ 160(b)). An employee’s cause of action for breach of the duty of
fair representation accrues when the union decides not to file a
grievance for the employee’s discharge. Cook v. Columbian Chems.
Co., 997 F.2d 1239, 1241 (8th Cir. 1993).
In the present matter, the Union told Ordahl on April 20,
2010, that he would not be able to remain in the tool and die maker
Ordahl asked that he be allowed to stay in the position
as an accommodation.
The Union told him that was not possible and
that it would not file a grievance on his behalf.
Ordahl’s cause of action for this issue accrued on April 20, 2010.
Therefore, the statute of limitations for Ordahl to file a claim
against the Union expired on October 20, 2010. Because Ordahl took
no action against the Union on this issue until he commenced this
lawsuit more than four years after the cause of action accrued, the
statute of limitations has expired.
As a result, the Union is
entitled to summary judgment with respect to that claim.
III. Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
The Union argues that Ordahl’s remaining claims are barred
given his failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
not dispute that he did not bring all of his claims before
administrative bodies, but seeks to pursue them here anyway.
An employee alleging a claim for unlawful discrimination under
the ADA in federal court must first file an administrative charge
with respect to “the alleged unlawful employment practice.”
U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)(1); see also Shelton v. Boeing Co., 399 F.3d
909, 912 (8th Cir. 2005) (“Exhaustion of administrative remedies is
a condition precedent to the filing of an action under the [ADA] in
federal court.”); Walton v. U.S. Dep’t of Agric., No. 02-CV-163,
2007 WL 1246845, at *8 (E.D. Mo. Apr. 30, 2007) (“If Plaintiff did
not obtain a ‘final decision’ by the EEOC with regard to her claims
[against her union and employer], she has not yet exhausted her
administrative remedies with regard to these claims.”).
actionable “unlawful employment practice” within the meaning of the
charge-filing requirement of Title VII.
Richter v. Advance Auto
Parts, Inc., 686 F.3d 847, 850-52 (8th Cir. 2012).
Ordahl’s administrative charge to the EEOC, filed on May 27,
2011, focuses solely on the Union’s alleged failure to represent
him in obtaining reasonable accommodation for his disability.
makes no mention of retaliation, harassment, or any other alleged
Ordahl never filed a charge with respect to his
placement on medical leave in 2012 or his termination in 2013.
Because the charge to the EEOC addresses only the Union’s alleged
failure to represent Ordahl in obtaining an accommodation, and
Ordahl has failed to allege his various other claims in a charge to
the EEOC, he may not now litigate those other claims. As a result,
Ordahl’s claims not addressed in his charge to the EEOC must be
dismissed for his failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
Accordingly, based on the above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the
motion for summary judgment [ECF No. 19] is granted.
LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.
September 21, 2015.
s/David S. Doty
David S. Doty, Judge
United States District Court
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?