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Washington v. Alliedbarton Security Services, LLC

United States District Court, District of Columbia

November 15, 2016



          COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY United States District Judge.

         This is a breach of contract suit in which Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, alleges that Defendant AlliedBarton Security Services LLC (“AlliedBarton”) violated certain contractual promises in relation to the manner in which Defendant terminated Plaintiff's employment as a security guard. Plaintiff alleges that he was terminated for allowing an unauthorized person to enter the school at which he was stationed. Plaintiff claims that this charge is inaccurate because he recognized this person as a parent of one of the students at the school.

         Before the Court is Defendant's [6] Motion to Dismiss. Defendant argues that Plaintiff's claim is preempted by Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act (“LMRA”). Upon consideration of the pleadings, [1] the relevant legal authorities, and the record for purposes of this motion, the Court GRANTS Defendant's Motion. The Court agrees that Plaintiff's claim is not meaningfully independent from the Collective Bargaining Agreement that was in place during his employment, and is accordingly preempted by Section 301.

         I. BACKGROUND

         For the purposes of the motion before the Court, the Court accepts as true the well-pleaded allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint. The Court does “not accept as true, however, the plaintiff's legal conclusions or inferences that are unsupported by the facts alleged.” Ralls Corp. v. Comm. on Foreign Inv. in U.S., 758 F.3d 296, 315 (D.C. Cir. 2014). Further, because Plaintiff proceeds in this matter pro se, the Court must consider not only the facts alleged in Plaintiff's Complaint, but also the facts alleged in the various other documents Plaintiff has filed in response to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. See Brown v. Whole Foods Mkt. Grp., Inc., 789 F.3d 146, 152 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (“a district court errs in failing to consider a pro se litigant's complaint ‘in light of' all filings, including filings responsive to a motion to dismiss”) (quoting Richardson v. United States, 193 F.3d 545, 548 (D.C. Cir. 1999)); Fillmore v. AT & T Mobility Servs. LLC, 140 F.Supp.3d 1, 2 (D.D.C. 2015) (“the Court, as it must in a case brought by a pro se plaintiff, considers the facts as alleged in both the Complaint and Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.”). Although Plaintiff's pleadings are far from a model of clarity, the Court can ascertain the following:

         Plaintiff was hired by Defendant as a security officer in 2012. Pl.'s Second Opp'n at 4. Before being employed by Defendant, Plaintiff worked for a company called U.S. Security Associates Inc. Id. While working for U.S. Security, Plaintiff complained to his superiors, including a Major Jenkins, that assignments were not being made on the basis of employees' seniority. Id. at 4, 8. Plaintiff also complained about his superiors' refusal to allow Plaintiff to see the company's “seniority list, ” which Plaintiff alleges must be given to a new contractor within ten days when a contract changes hands. Id. at 4-5. Plaintiff alleges that his superiors retaliated against him for making these complaints. Id.

         After being hired by Defendant in 2012, Plaintiff was stationed at Johnson Middle School in Washington D.C. Id. at 4. Plaintiff alleges that Major Jenkins was responsible for this placement, and that she placed Plaintiff there in retaliation for Plaintiff's previous complaints while at U.S. Security. Id. at 5. Plaintiff alleges that this placement was wrongful because his seniority demanded that he be given a better assignment. Id.

         In 2013, Plaintiff was fired for allowing an unauthorized individual to enter the school. Id. at 4. Plaintiff alleges that his termination was wrongful, because the individual was a parent of one of the students at the school and therefore authorized to enter. Id. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant lied on a Disciplinary form that states that Plaintiff allowed an unauthorized person on to school premises. Id. at 4, 6. Plaintiff also takes issue with the fact that the Disciplinary form was unsigned. Id. at 6.

         Plaintiff suggests that these actions violate a number of policies or documents. Primarily, Plaintiff refers to a “disciplinary policy” or “progressive disciplinary policy” and a “Dos and Don'ts” list prepared by a company hired by Defendant to handle employment issues. Id. at 3, 6. Plaintiff also makes reference to a collective bargaining agreement, in the context of arguing that he has a right to bypass its grievance procedures. Id. at 3.

         Plaintiff also makes various other miscellaneous allegations of wrongdoing, such as allegations that Defendant violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act by not posting security guards at broken doors at the Middle School at which he worked, which allowed students to come and go freely, and various other references to unspecified “DC Laws.”

         Plaintiff filed this lawsuit in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia and Defendant removed it to this Court.[2] Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1 at ¶ 1. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that Plaintiff's claims were completely preempted by Section 301(a) of the LMRA. Def.'s Mot. at 2. The Court granted Plaintiff leave to file two oppositions to Defendant's Motion.


         Under Rule 12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss a complaint on the grounds that it “fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). “[A] complaint [does not] suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007)). Rather, a complaint must contain sufficient factual allegations that, if accepted as true, “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         III. ...

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