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Larm v. IBEW Local 191

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

May 15, 2019

LEWIS LARM, Plaintiff,
IBEW LOCAL 191, Defendant.


          Honorable Richard A. Jones, United States District Judge.

         Honorable Richard A. Jones This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Lewis Larm's (“Plaintiff”) Motion to Continue Discovery Cutoff and Related Calendared Events (Dkt. # 29), and Defendant IBEW Local 191's (“IBEW”) Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. # 32). Both Motions are opposed. For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion and GRANTS IBEW's Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Defendant IBEW runs a hiring hall for the dispatch of electricians to signatory contractors pursuant to the referral rules contained in the collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) between the Union and the Cascade Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (“NECA”). Dkt. # 32-2 at 28-31. Generally, IBEW dispatches members to contracted jobs based on a “first-in, first-out” basis, with a few exceptions for foreman name calls, special skills and abilities, and others. Id. The CBA creates an Appeals Committee “to consider any complaint of an employee or applicant for employment” arising out of the Union's administration of the contractual referral rules. Id. The “Appeals Committee shall have the power to make a final and binding decision on any such complaint.” Id.

         Plaintiff was a member of IBEW in 2014. Dkt. # 32-2 at 61. On January 31, 2014, IBEW dispatched a number of contractors to VECA Electric in Moses Lake, but did not dispatch Plaintiff, who had superiority over these contractors. Dkt. # 33-2. On May 5, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Dispatch Appeal complaining that he had been improperly skipped over for a job in violation of IBEW's policy. Dkt. # 32-2 at 67-68, 85-86. In July 2014, Plaintiff sent follow-up letters to IBEW and NECA inquiring about the status of his Dispatch Appeal. Id. at 69-72, 87-88.

         IBEW's newly-elected Business Manager, Joe Lorenzo, received the Dispatch Appeal on August 1, 2014. Dkt. # 32-2 at 92. Mr. Lorenzo then contacted Plaintiff to discuss the matter, and “[a]lmost immediately” called Cindy Austin, the NECA Executive Manager, to inform her of the appeal. Id. On August 25, 2014, Mr. Lorenzo and Ms. Austin called Plaintiff to discuss his appeal. Dkt. # 32-2 at 3-4, 94-96. In this call, Mr. Lorenzo and Ms. Austin explained that because Plaintiff had already taken another contract, they “could not fix what had happened on January 31st, ” and that they would not give him compensation. Id. This was the only conversation Plaintiff had with Mr. Lorenzo and Ms. Austin regarding his Dispatch Appeal. Id. at 74.

         Over two years passed without further communication or activity. Dkt. # 32-2 at 74-78. On October 20, 2016, Plaintiff sent a letter to the Union, inquiring why “I was denied or it was thought of by those in discussion that I didn't need or deserve any compensation” for the challenged dispatch. Id. at 75-76, 89. Plaintiff stated that the “discussion” that he referenced was the August 25, 2014 phone call. Id. at 75-76. On October 27, 2016, Mr. Lorenzo responded with a letter, stating that Plaintiff made the decision in the phone call to drop the appeal, and that the case was closed. Id. at 90.

         On January 30, 2017, Plaintiff brought suit against IBEW in Snohomish County Superior Court under Section 301 of the Fair Labor Management Relations Act, and for failure to represent. Dkt. # 1-2 at 3, ¶ 3.1. IBEW removed to this Court. Dkt. # 1. On January 16, 2018, this Court granted IBEW's motion to dismiss on the grounds that Plaintiff's lawsuit was not filed within the applicable federal six-month statute of limitations. Dkt. # 17 at 3-4. The Court granted Plaintiff leave to file an amended pleading, which Plaintiff filed on January 31, 2018. Dkt. # 18. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint alleges a violation of IBEW's duty of fair representation “arising out of Section 9(a) of the NLRA.” Dkt. # 18, ¶ 3.1.


         A. Plaintiff's Motion to Continue (Dkt. # 29)

         Plaintiff has moved for a continuance of 45 days to “allow his attorney the opportunity to take the deposition of VECA.” Dkt. # 29 at 1. Plaintiff blames the tardiness of this request on VECA's non-responsiveness to his previous requests for information, [1]and the workload of Plaintiff's counsel. Dkt. # 29 at 2.

         The Court may order such a change “only for good cause.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4). The Court agrees with IBEW that grounds identified by Plaintiff do not demonstrate the good cause necessary to modify the case schedule. Dkt. # 30 at 3. Plaintiff has already been provided multiple extensions to the discovery cutoff, and has been on notice of the need to depose VECA for many months. Dkt. ## 25-28. Moreover, the Court finds that permitting a further extension for Plaintiff to seek additional information from VECA would be pointless, as this information is not germane to the statute of limitations issue that results in the dismissal of Plaintiff's case.

         Accordingly, the Court will DENY Plaintiff's request. Dkt. # 29.

         B. IBEW's Motion for Summary ...

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