United States District Court, W.D. Washington
Davis Wire Corporation, Plaintiff: Douglas Edward Smith,
Jennifer S Pirozzi, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Ryan Paul Hammond,
Breanne M. Sheetz, LITTLER MENDELSON (WA), SEATTLE, WA; Harry
R Stang, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, BRYAN CAVE (CA), SANTA
Teamsters Local Union No 117, Defendant: Christie J Fix,
Clifford Freed, FRANK FREED SUBIT & THOMAS, SEATTLE, WA;
Spencer Nathan Thal, TEAMSTERS LOCAL UNION NO 117, TUKWILA,
GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
J. Pechman, United States District Judge.
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant Teamsters Local
Union No. 117's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkt. No.
37.) Having reviewed the motion, Plaintiff Davis Wire
Corporation's response, (Dkt. No. 43), and the related
record, the Court hereby GRANTS Defendant's motion.
Davis Wire Corporation operates a plant in Kent, Washington
for the manufacture of wire for agriculture, construction and
utilities, among other things. (Dkt. No. 1 at 2) (Complaint
(" Compl." ) ¶ 3.) Defendant Teamsters Local
Union No. 117 represents a group of employees who perform
work at the plant. (Dkt. No. 1 at 2) (Compl. ¶ 5).
and Defendant are signatories to successive collective
bargaining agreements (" CBAs" ). (Dkt. No. 1 at 2)
(Compl. ¶ 6.); (Dkt. No. 26 at 2) (Answer ("
Ans." ) ¶ 6.) The most recent CBA is the September
1, 2012 through August 31, 2016 agreement (the "
2012-2016 Agreement" ) which covers work performed by
union members for Plaintiff at its Kent, Washington plant.
(Id.) The prior CBA between the parties had
effective dates from December 1, 2008 through November 30,
2011. (Dkt. No. 1 at 3) (Compl. ¶ 8.); (Dkt. No. 26 at
2) (Ans. ¶ 8.)
21.7 of the 2012-2016 Agreement provides " [w]hen the
nature of a work assignment prevents an employee from being
relieved of 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. 39-1
at 13) (Declaration of Spencer Nathan Thal in Support of
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (" Thal
Decl." ), Ex. A.) The language of Section 21.7 was
identical in the CBA immediately preceding the 2012-2016
Agreement. (Dkt. No. 1 at 3) (Compl. ¶ 8); (Dkt. No. 26
at 2) (Ans. ¶ 8.)
2011, before the 2008-2011 CBA expired, the parties engaged
in negotiations for a new agreement. (Dkt. No. 1 at 3)
(Compl. ¶ 9); (Dkt. No. 26 at 2) (Ans. ¶ 9.)
Negotiations between the parties broke down in the spring and
summer of 2012. (Dkt. No. 39 at 2) (Thal Decl. ¶ 6.);
(Dkt. No. 43 at 4.) The 2012-2016 Agreement was executed by
Plaintiff in October 2012 and by Defendant in November 2012.
(Dkt. No 39 at 2) (Thal Decl. ¶ 7); (Dkt. No. 1 at 3)
(Comp. ¶ 9.)
early 2012, Defendant informed Dmitri Iglitzin, an attorney,
that workers at Plaintiff's Kent plant " believed
they were not getting the rest or meal period breaks to which
they were entitled under law." (Dkt. No. 38 at 2)
(Declaration of Dmitri Iglitzin (" Iglitzin Decl."
) in Support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment,
¶ 3); (Dkt. No. 43 at 7.) Mr. Iglitzin advised Defendant
of his opinion that Plaintiff's practices deprived the
workers of the meal and rest breaks they were entitled to
under Washington law, among other things. (Dkt. No. 38 at 2)
(Iglitzin Decl. ¶ 5.) He also agreed to represent the
workers in a suit against Plaintiff. (Id. at 3)
(Iglitzin Decl. ¶ 7.)
about April 30, 2012, Robert Bruner and Cecil Markley, two
employees of Plaintiff who are members of the union and are
covered by the 2012-2016 Agreement, filed a class action
lawsuit (the " Bruner lawsuit" ) against Plaintiff
in King County Superior Court. (Dkt. No. 1 at 3) (Compl
¶ 11); (Dkt. No. 26 at 2) (Ans. ¶ 11.) Defendant
was not a party to the lawsuit. (Id.) Among other
things, plaintiffs in the Bruner lawsuit alleged that
Plaintiff violated Washington law by failing to provide
" plaintiffs and class members with thirty-minute meal
periods . . ." (Dkt. No. 38-2 at 7) (" Third
Amended Complaint" ¶ 8.2.)
April 2012, Defendant agreed to advance expenses Mr.
Iglitzin's firm was likely to incur in the Bruner
lawsuit, subject to reimbursement from any award of costs the
plaintiffs might receive. (Dkt. No. 39 at 3) (Thal Decl.
¶ 9.) The agreement was not reduced to writing at that
time. (Id.) The parties dispute whether Defendant
agreed to pay litigation costs or both litigation costs and
attorney's fees. (Dkt. No. 1 at 3) (Compl. ¶ 12);
(Dkt. No. 26 at 2-3) (Ans. ¶ 12.) The parties also
dispute whether Defendant subsequently agreed, in writing, to
pay all litigation costs associated with the Bruner lawsuit,
i.e. after the 2012-2016 Agreement was executed. (Dkt. No. 38
at 3) (Iglitzin Decl. ¶ 8); (Dkt. No. 43 at 8.)
January 9, 2015, following a six-week bench trial, King
County Superior Court Judge Dean Lum found that
Plaintiff's meal break practices violated the Washington
Industrial Welfare Act, RCW 49.12 and WAC 296-126-092. (Dkt.
No. 38 at 6) (Iglitzin Decl. ¶ 20); (Dkt. No. 43 at 6.)
The total judgment for the class in the Bruner lawsuit,
including backpay and prejudgment interest, was $794,126.95.
(Dkt. No. 38 at 6) (Iglitzin Decl. ¶ 20.)
24, 2013, Plaintiff filed an unfair labor practice ("
ULP" ) charge with the National Labor Relations Board
(" NLRB" ), alleging Defendant violated Section
8(b)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act ("
NLRA" ), 29 U.S.C. § 158(b)(3), by funding the
Bruner lawsuit without disclosing this fact to Plaintiff.
(Dkt. No. 15-1 at 3) (" Charge Against Labor
Organization or its Agents." ) The N.L.R.B. investigated
the charge and dismissed it on January 22, 2014, finding