Almoghrabi v. Gojet Airlines, LLC et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER... IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant Local 618's motion to dismiss is denied. (Doc. No. 3 ). Signed by District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig on 10/27/2014. (NEB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
GOJET AIRLINES, LLC, et al.,
Case No. 4:14CV00507 AGF
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the motion of Defendant International
Brotherhood of Teamsters Local Union No. 618 (“Local 618”) to dismiss Plaintiff’s
complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth
below, the motion to dismiss shall be denied.
On March 19, 2014, Plaintiff Alaa Almoghrabi filed a pro-se complaint against
Defendants GoJet Airlines, LLC (“GoJet”) and Local 618, alleging employment
discrimination based on race and religion in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq., and the Missouri Human Rights Act
(“MHRA”), Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 213.010 et seq. Plaintiff alleged that he was terminated
from his job as a pilot on October 16, 2012 by GoJet. Plaintiff thereafter attended a pilot’s
hearing with two Local 618 representatives, and on October 26, 2012, Plaintiff received a
letter informing him that the decision of GoJet was confirmed. On November 2, 2012,
Plaintiff called Defendant Local 618 to file a grievance, but Local 618 told Plaintiff that
“religion, culture, accent, race, or threatening behavior was inconsequential . . . and what
mattered was that Plaintiff had pushed Hernandez.” (Doc. No. 1 at 7). Plaintiff
thereafter received a letter from Local 618 denying his request for a grievance. In
addition, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Local 618 declined to aid Plaintiff in obtaining
other employment. Plaintiff alleges that he timely filed a written complaint of
discrimination with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (“MCHR”) and the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), and that he received a Right-to-Sue
(“RTS”) letter on December 19, 2013.
Defendant Local 618 has filed this motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s complaint under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Defendant’s sole argument in support of
dismissal is that the six-month statute of limitations for a breach of duty of fair
representation claim under the Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. §§ 151–188, should apply to
this case, and Plaintiff failed to bring this action within six months of learning his
grievance was denied, in violation of the statute of limitations.
In response,1 Plaintiff argues that he did not raise a duty of fair representation
claim, but a Title VII claim, and his lawsuit was timely under Title VII.
When considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the complaint’s
material allegations are taken as true and liberally construed in the plaintiff’s favor. Rucci
v. City of Pacific, 327 F.3d 651, 652 (8th Cir. 2003). Plaintiff’s allegations “must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
After Local 618 filed its motion to dismiss, counsel entered on behalf of Plaintiff and
filed a response to the motion.
face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted). In addition, the
complaint was filed while Plaintiff was appearing pro se, and the Court is mindful that a
pro se complaint is held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers and therefore must be liberally construed. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94,
Title VII creates a cause of action against labor organizations for unlawful
employment practices under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(c).2 Jennings v. Am. Postal Workers
Union, 672 F.2d 712, 715 (8th Cir. 1982). “[A] plaintiff may bring an action under Title
VII and the Missouri Human Relations Act (MHRA) if his union, for discriminatory
reasons, breaches its duty to represent him fairly in the handling of his complaints and
Maegdlin v. Int’l Ass’n of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, Dist. 949, 309
F.3d 1051, 1053 (8th Cir. 2002). The “mere use of the phrase ‘breach of duty of fair
representation’ in his original complaint does not, in and of itself, necessarily signify that
[a plaintiff] intended to bring his action under the Labor Management Relations Act
(LMRA).” Id. In order to bring a suit under Title VII for employment discrimination, an
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(c) provides:
It shall be an unlawful employment practice for a labor organization—
(1) to exclude or to expel from its membership, or otherwise to discriminate
against, any individual because of his race, color, religion, sex, or national
(2) to limit, segregate, or classify its membership or applicants for
membership, or to classify or fail or refuse to refer for employment any
individual, in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual
of employment opportunities, or would limit such employment opportunities
or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee or as an applicant for
employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or
national origin; or
(3) to cause or attempt to cause an employer to discriminate against an
individual in violation of this section.
employee must bring a civil action within 90 days of receiving his RTS letter. See 42
U.S.C. § 2000e–5(f)(1). Likewise, any action brought in court under the MHRA “shall be
filed within ninety days from the date of the commission's notification letter to the
individual but no later than two years after the alleged cause occurred or its reasonable
discovery by the alleged injured party.” Mo. Rev. Stat. § 213.111.
Plaintiff has explicitly classified his claim under Title VII and the MHRA, not the
Railway Labor Act. 3 Defendant Local 618 does not dispute that Plaintiff has timely filed
a written complaint of discrimination with the MCHR and the EEOC, or that Plaintiff filed
his civil complaint with this Court within 90 days after receiving his RTS letter and, for
purposes of the MHRA, not more than two years after the alleged cause occurred or could
be reasonably discovered. Plaintiff’s complaint for employment discrimination under
Title VII and the MHRA was thus timely filed.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant Local 618’s motion to dismiss is
denied. (Doc. No. 3).
AUDREY G. FLEISSIG
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 27th day of October, 2014.
For this reason, Defendant Local 618’s reliance on DelCostello v. Int’l Brotherhood
of Teamsters, 462 U.S. 151 (1983) is misplaced. In DelCostello, the Court held that the
six-month limitations period in the National Labor Relations Act for filing unfair labor
practice charges is the statute of limitations applicable to an employee’s action for breach
of the collective bargaining agreement and breach of the duty of fair representation, in that
such action has no close analogy in state law. Id. at 169-172. DelCostello does not deal
with a Title VII claim for employment discrimination.
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?