Vaught v. Bi-State Development Agency et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER. (See Full Order.) IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that defendants' motions to dismiss [ 10 , 13 ] are granted, and plaintiff's complaint is dismissed. A separate Judgment is entered this same date. Signed by District Judge Catherine D. Perry on 4/4/2016. (CBL)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
BI-STATE DEV. AGENCY, d/b/a
METRO, et al.,
Case No. 4:15 CV 1499 CDP
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before me on unopposed motions to dismiss. The motions
will be granted.
Plaintiff was a bus driver for defendant Bi-State Development Agency
(“Metro”) until he was terminated for having too many accidents. Plaintiff was a
member of defendant Amalgamated Transit Union Division 788 and covered by a
collective bargaining agreement between the union and Metro. Plaintiff filed a
grievance objecting to his discharge, but the union did not pursue it.
In this lawsuit, plaintiff alleges that Metro violated Section 301 of the LaborManagement Relations Act of 1947 (LMRA), 29 U.S.C. § 185, by firing him in
violation of the collective bargaining agreement. He also alleges that the union
breached its duty of fair representation under the LMRA by not grieving his
Metro and the union move for dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint under Rules
12 (b)(1) and (6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure1 because Metro is not an
“employer” covered by the LMRA. The National Labor Relation Act’s (NLRA)
definitions apply to the LMRA. 29 U.S.C. § 142(2). Because the NLRA
specifically excludes “any State or political subdivision thereof” from the
definition of “employer,” Section 301 of the LMRA does not apply to employers
which are political subdivisions. 29 U.S.C. § 152(2). 2 Metro is an interstate
compact between Missouri and Illinois formed in 1949. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 70.370;
45 Ill. Comp. Stat. 100/1. It is a “political subdivision” excluded from coverage
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) provides that a party may move to dismiss an action
based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(1) is appropriate when
subject matter jurisdiction is successfully challenged on the face of the complaint or on the facts.
Titus v. Sullivan, 4 F.3d 590, 593 (8th Cir. 1993). “Because at issue in a factual 12(b)(1) motion
is the trial court’s jurisdiction – its very power to hear the case – there is substantial authority
that the trial court is free to weigh the evidence and satisfy itself as to the existence of its power
to hear the case.” Osborn v. United States, 918 F.2d 724, 730 (8th Cir. 1990). The purpose of a
Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is to test the legal sufficiency of a
complaint so as to eliminate those actions “which are fatally flawed in their legal premises and
deigned to fail, thereby sparing the litigants the burden of unnecessary pretrial and trial activity.”
Young v. City of St. Charles, 244 F.3d 623, 627 (8th Cir. 2001). “To survive a motion to dismiss,
a claim must be facially plausible, meaning that the ‘factual content . . . allows the court to draw
the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.’” Cole v.
Homier Dist. Co., Inc., 599 F.3d 856, 861 (8th Cir. 2010) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009)). The Court must “accept the allegations contained in the complaint as true and
draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party.” Id. However, “[t]hreadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements,” will not
pass muster. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
The NLRA also excludes “any individual employed . . . by any other person who is not an
employer as herein defined” from its definition of covered “employee.” 29 U.S.C. § 152(5).
under the LMRA. Amalgamated Transit Union Div. 788 v. Bi-State Dev. Agency
of Missouri-Illinois Metropolitan Dist., Case No. 4:15CV455 (AGF), 2015 WL
3645513, at *3 (June 10, 2015); Amalgamated Transit Union, AFL-CIO v. Kansas
City Area Transp. Auth., 485 F. Supp. 856, 859 (W.D. Mo. 1980) (bi-state Kansas
City Area Transportation Authority is a “political subdivision” and therefore not an
employer within the meaning of the LMRA); Int’l Union of Operating Engineers,
Local 542 v. Delaware River and Bay Auth., 2014 WL 1882430, at *3 (D.N.J. May
12, 2014) (“[B]i-state agencies such as the [Delaware River Bay Authority] are not
‘employers’ within the meaning of the LMRA, because they are ‘political
subdivisions.’”); Nobles v. Metropolitan Transit Authority, 1994 WL 24874, at *4*5 (5th Cir. Jan. 11, 1994) (transit authority is political subdivision under the
LMRA and exempt from federal jurisdiction created by section 301 of the LMRA).
Plaintiff’s LMRA claims against Metro must accordingly be dismissed.
Because the LMRA does not apply to Metro, plaintiff’s claims against the
defendant union must also be dismissed. The duty of fair representation does not
apply to plaintiff as a public employee of Metro. See Paulsen v. Local No. 856 of
Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters, 377 Fed. Appx. 706, 707 (9th Cir. 2010) (“Plaintiffs
cannot state a claim against IBT or Local No. 856 for violating any federal duty of
fair representation, because the federal labor statutes do not apply to plaintiffs as
public employees of a political subdivision of a state.”); Anderson v. Mercer
County Sheriff’s Dept., 2015 WL 404473, at *2-*3 (D.N.J. Jan. 29, 2015)
(“[E]mployees of . . . political subdivisions cannot bring claims under Section 301
for breach of the duty of fair representation because such entities fall outside the
definition of ‘employer’ under the LMRA.”); Reid v. Prince George’s County Pub.
Schools, 2011 WL 5513221, at *4 (D. Md. Nov. 10, 2011) (“[T]he judicially
created duty of fair representation under the NLRA does not apply to employees
like Plaintiff who were employed by public employers such as the School
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that defendants’ motions to dismiss [10, 13]
are granted, and plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed.
A separate Judgment is entered this same date.
CATHERINE D. PERRY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 4th day of April, 2016.
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