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Davis Wire Corporation v. Teamsters Local Union No 117

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

April 2, 2014

DAVIS WIRE CORPORATION, Plaintiff,
v.
TEAMSTERS LOCAL UNION NO 117, Defendant.

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS

MARSHA J. PECHMAN, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's claims under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 185. Having reviewed the motion (Dkt. No. 15), Plaintiff's response (Dkt. No. 17), Defendant's reply (Dkt. No. 18), and all related papers, the Court DENIES the motion to dismiss.

Background

This case arises out of a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") entered into by Plaintiff Davis Wire Corporation ("Davis Wire") and Defendant Teamsters Local Union No. 117 (the "Union"). (Dkt. No. 1 at 1.) The Union represents Davis Wire's employees in the bargaining unit at the company's plant in Kent, Washington. (Dkt. No. 1 at 2.) At contention here is Section 21.7 of the CBA, which provides as follows:

When the nature of a work assignment prevents an employee from being relieved from duty for a meal period, it is agreed that the employee shall have an on-duty meal period. The on-duty meal period shall be counted as time worked.

(Dkt. No. 1 at 2.)

In April 2012, two employee-union members covered by the CBA filed a class action lawsuit in King County Superior Court against Davis Wire. (Id. at 3.) Among other claims, the lawsuit seeks to end on-duty meal periods as agreed upon in the CBA. (Id.)

On or about March 21, 2013, Davis Wire discovered the Union was allegedly paying the employee-plaintiffs' attorney fees and costs in the lawsuit against the company. (Id.) On June 24, 2013, Davis Wire filed an unfair labor practice ("ULP") charge with the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB"), alleging the Union violated Section 8(b)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"), 29 U.S.C. 158(b)(3), by funding the class action "for the purpose of abrogating the provisions of Section 21.7 of the CBA." (Dkt. No.15-1 at 3.) The NLRB investigated this charge and dismissed it, finding there was "insufficient evidence to establish a violation of the Act." (Dkt. No. 15-1 at 4.)

On January 10, 2014, Davis Wire brought this case before this Court pursuant to Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA §301"), 29 U.S.C. 185, arguing the Union's ongoing funding of the class action breaches the CBA by violating Section 21.7 and violating the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. (Dkt. No. 1 at 3-4.) The Union now moves to dismiss Davis Wire's claims under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). (Dkt. No. 15).

Discussion

The Federal Rules require a plaintiff to plead "a short and plain statement of the claim, " showing entitlement to relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). "To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotations and citation omitted). A claim is plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. at 678.

I. Breach of the Collective Bargaining Agreement

LMRA §301 provides a federal cause of action in suits alleging breach of contracts such as a CBA between an employer and a labor union. 29 U.S.C. 185(a). Davis Wire fails to state a plausible claim for breach of Section 21.7 of the CBA, but successfully pleads a plausible ...


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