United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Ashland
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. WLLHOIT JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon the parties' cross
motions for summary judgment. [Docket No. 16 and 17]. The
issues have been fully briefed by the parties. [Docket Nos.
16-1, 17-1, 20, 20-1 and 21]. For the reasons set forth
herein, the Court finds that the Defendant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.
case arises from the termination of Larry Brandon
Stevens' employment at CSX Transportation, Inc.
("CSXT") and the subsequent arbitration proceeding.
Stevens seeks to overturn the arbitration award which
affirmed his termination.
was hired by CSXT in 2006. He began as a Conductor and rose
through the ranks to become Yardmaster, then, Train
Dispatcher, and, eventually, Manager of Community Affairs and
Safety. [Docket No. 14, Stipulated Arbitration Record, 209].
his employment at CSX, Stevens was a member of the American
Train Dispatchers Association ("ATDA") union.
During the relevant time, CSXT and ATDA were party to a
collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") which
governs the rates of pay, rules, and working conditions of
the employees ATDA represents. SAR181-340.
24, 2014, the Kentucky State Police received a report that
Stevens had engaged in illegal sexual communications with a
17-year-old girl. SAR024, SAR053-55.
August 20, 2014, Stevens was charged with one count of
prohibited use of an electronic communication system to
procure a minor, a sex offense, two counts of the use of a
minor under 18 in a sexual performance and five counts of
possession of matter portraying sexual performance by a
minor. SAR 024-26, SAR053-55.
same day, CSXT terminated Stevens from his management
position. However, at that time, Stevens had seniority rights
as a Train Dispatcher. Therefore, he continued his employment
with CSXT in that role. SAR 178.
to the CBA, on August 29, 2014, CSX charged Stevens with
violation of CSXT Operating Rule 104.4 which prohibits
"[c]riminal conduct that may damage CSX's reputation
or that endangers CSXT property, employees, customers or the
public." SAR 052. Stevens was held out of service
pending the investigation. Id.
required CSXT to hold an on-property investigative hearing
within ten days of issuing its charges. SAR220. Pursuant to
the CBA, in the event an employee is charged with an offense
by CSX he or she shall not be disciplined without cause and
only after a fair and impartial investigation. SAR 220,
Article 12(a). In the event an employee is charged for any
offense, CSX retains the exclusive right to hold the employee
out of service pending an investigation. SAR 220, Article
12(c). Furthermore, in the event the employee is subject to a
state court action, CSX retains the exclusive right to delay
the charge and investigation until the state court has
entered a final determination. Id. Upon the
completion of a fair and impartial investigation of a rule
violation an employee is entitled to a written decision
regarding the administered discipline. SAR 220, Article
12(e). Should the employee not agree with the investigation
decision he or she may appeal the decision to CSX's
highest designated officer.2 SAR 221, Article 12(g).
Following a decision by the highest designated officer,
either party may appeal the decision to the National Railroad
Adjustment Board ("NRAB"). SAR 223, Article 12(c).
Further review is authorized under the Railway Labor Act.
Id. If any final determination exonerates the
employee he or she shall be restored to clear employment
record, reinstated with all rights unimpaired, and
compensated for all time lost less earning made in other
employment while out of service. SAR 221, Article 12(1).
if an employee is "subject to trial in the courts,"
the CBA gives CSXT the authority to delay the investigative
hearing until after the employee's trial. SAR220. At the
request of Stevens' representative, CSXT agreed to delay
the investigative hearing until after the criminal court
resolved his case. SAR045.
here that the parties' accounts diverge. Stevens states
that CSX later elected to move forward with the investigation
prior to a determination by the state court. SAR 045-048.
Stevens contends that he agreed to proceed with the
investigation due to financial hardship resulting from being
held out of service. SAR 039. According to CSXT, however, it