United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Ashland
BRADLEY W. TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
AK STEEL CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
HENRY R. WILHOIT, Jr., District Judge.
This matter is before the Court upon United Steel Workers of America, Local Union 1865 and Michael Hewlitt's Motion to Dismiss Complaint [Docket No. 20]. The motion has been fully briefed by the parties [Docket Nos. 24, 26 and 28]. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that the Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted as to these Defendants and should be dismissed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.Proc. 12(b)(6).
This case arises from Plaintiff Bradley Taylor's union membership during his employment at AK Steel's Ashland Coke Plant in Ashland, Kentucky. In his Complaint, he states that his union was "previously identified as USW Local 523 but is now knows as United Steel Workers of America District 8 - Local Union # 1865." [Complaint, Docket No.1, ¶ 5]. The Court notes that United Steel Workers of America, Local Union 1865 and Michael Hewlitt ("the Union") dispute Taylor's allegation that they were parties either to the collective bargaining agreement governing his employment with AK. Steel or to the Pension Agreement referenced in the Complaint. They state that Local 1865 represents only employees at AK. Steel's Ashland West Works, and as Taylor worked at AK. Steel's Ashland coke plant, not the West Works, he was never a member of Local 1865. They further state that when the facility closed in 2011, workers there were represented by United Steelworkers Local 523. However, they state that Local 523 was not merged into Local 1865. Plaintiff has not responded directly to this factually dispute.
The Union states in the motion that "for purposes of a motion to dismiss, it is proper to assume the facts as pleaded in the Complaint." Therefore, the Court will address the merits of te Union's motion.
In Counts V-IX of the Complaint, Taylor alleges that the Union Defendants breached their fiduciary duty to Taylor, engaged in civil conspiracy and bad faith, breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and were negligent in their handling of Taylor's grievance arbitration and failure to assist him in obtaining retirement benefits.
The Union seeks dismissal as to all the claims alleged against it herein.
III. STANDARD OF REVIEW
The purpose of a motion to dismiss is to allow a defendant to test whether, as a matter of law, the plaintiff is entitled to legal relief. See Mayer v. Mylod, 988 F.2d 635, 638 (6th Cir. 1993). "To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim that is plausible on its face." Erie City v. Morton Salt Inc., 702 F.3d 860, 867 (6th Cir. 2012) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).
The Union argues that Taylor's state law claims are preempted and his federal claims barred by the pertinent state of limitations.
A. Taylor's Claims are Preempted.
Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA") governs disputes arising from contracts between an employer and a labor organization representing employees. It vests district courts with original jurisdiction. As a result, § 301 generally preempts state law claims alleging that a party has violated a provision of a collective bargaining agreement as well as state law claims which require interpretation of the terms of a collective bargaining agreement. As the Sixth Circuit has explained, "Section 301's sphere of complete preemption extends to state law claims that are substantially dependent on analysis of a collective bargaining agreement, ' but does not reach claims that only tangentially involve CBA provisions.'" Alongi v. Ford Motor Co." 386 F.3d 716, 724 (6th Cir.2004) (quoting Fox v. Parker Hannifin Corp., 914 F.2d 795, 799-800 (6th Cir.1990)). In other words, "state courts may evaluate state law claims involving ...