Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Griffith v. Lanier

March 28, 2007

CHRISTOPHER GRIFFITH, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CATHY L. LANIER, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiffs Christopher Griffith and Daniel Kim (collectively "Volunteers") are volunteer members of the District of Columbia's Metropolitan Police Department ("MPD") Reserve Corps. They bring this action against the MPD Chief of Police ("Police Chief"),*fn1 in her official capacity, for alleged unlawful rulemaking. Plaintiffs, who request class certification on behalf of all MPD Reserve Officers, allege the Police Chief deprived them of their rights under the First and Fifth Amendments, the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"), the District of Columbia Administrative Procedures Act, and the District of Columbia's Omnibus Public Safety Act of 2004, by prohibiting the Reserve Corps members from organizing for purpose of collective bargaining.

Before the court is the Police Chief's motion to dismiss [#11] and the Volunteers' motion for class certification [#17] and for partial summary judgment [#19]. Upon consideration of the motions, the oppositions thereto, and the record of the case, the court concludes that the Police Chief's motion must be granted and the Volunteers' motions must be denied.*fn2

I. BACKGROUND

Griffith and Kim are members of the MPD Reserve Corps, an organization of volunteers designed to "assist full-time, sworn police personnel in both the day-to-day and emergency delivery of law enforcement services, consistent with applicable law." D.C. Code § 5-129.51(a). Members of the Reserve Corps are "unpaid volunteers who fulfill police duties and responsibilities as determined by the Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department." Id. § 5-129.51(b); see also D.C. Code § 1-319.05(2) (defining "volunteer" as one who "donates his or her services to a specific program or department of the District of Columbia government, by his or her free choice and without payment for the services rendered."); D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 6, §4000.1.*fn3

On March 28, 2006, the Chief of MPD, at that time Charles Ramsey, issued a General Order which, among other things, prohibited Reserve Corps members from organizing for collecting bargaining purposes, allowed the Chief of Police to reduce a Reserve Corps member's rank or remove a member from the Corps without a hearing or administrative review, and limited the authority of Reserve Corps members to make arrests and issue notices of infractions. See MPD Gen. Order No. 101.3 (Mar. 28, 2006) ("General Order").

II. ANALYSIS

The Police Chief contends that the Volunteers' complaint must be dismissed, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), because plaintiffs have failed to state a claim under the NLRA, the First or Fifth Amendments. The court will consider these contentions in turn.

A. NLRA

The Volunteers contend that their rights under the NLRA are being infringed by the General Order. As the Police Chief points out, however, the NLRA does not apply to state or municipal employees. See 29 U.S.C. § 152(2) (excluding from the definition of "employer," inter alia, "the United States, or any wholly owned Government corporation . . . or any State or political subdivision thereof").*fn4 Under the NLRA, the relations between public employees and their employers is governed by local law. See id.; Jackson Trans. Auth. v. Local Div. 1285, Amalgamated Trans. Union, 457 U.S. 15, 24 (1982).

In the District of Columbia, most civil service employees are granted the right to collective bargaining by the Comprehensive Merit Personnel Act ("CMPA"). See D.C. Code § 1-617.01. Members of the Reserve Corps, however, are not covered by the CMPA because they are not employees "paid by the district . . . for [their] services." See D.C. Code § 1-319.05(1) (defining "employee"); see also LeFande v. District of Columbia, No. 04-68, slip op. at 3 (D.C. May 25, 2006) (unpublished) (recognizing that member of the Reserve Corps was not an employee).*fn5 As unpaid volunteers, members of the Reserve Corps are covered by the Volunteer Service Act, which does not provide them with the right to organize for purposes of collective bargaining. D.C. Code § 1-319.05(2); D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 6, §4000.1; see also LeFande, slip op. at 3. The applicable regulations expressly prohibit volunteers from organizing for purposes of collective bargaining. See D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 6, § 4000.8 ("persons whose services are utilized on a voluntary basis shall not be eligible for any benefits normally accruing to employees of the District of Columbia, including . . . the right to organize for collective bargaining purposes, unless such benefits are specifically provided by the laws of the District of Columbia.").

As the members of the Reserve Corps are neither employees nor otherwise provided the right to organize, they have suffered no deprivation of any right to organize under applicable labor laws and regulations.

B. Fifth Amendment

The Volunteers next contend that the MPD's authority to reduce a Reserve Corps member's rank or remove them without a hearing is a deprivation of a property right absent procedural due process or compensation, in violation of the Fifth Amendment. The Police Chief rejoins that plaintiffs have no property interest in a ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.