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Washington v. Alliedbarton Security Services, LLC

United States District Court, District of Columbia

February 5, 2018



          COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, United States District Judge

         This case returns to the Court on remand from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”), with instructions to consider whether Plaintiff's lawsuit can go forward under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act (“LMRA”). The gravamen of Plaintiff's Complaint in this case is that he was treated unfairly when his employment as a security guard with the Defendant, AlliedBarton Security Services, LLC (“AlliedBarton”), was terminated. He also complains about various other issues both pre- and post-dating his termination. Plaintiff initially brought his case as one for breach of contract under District of Columbia law, which the Court dismissed because it was preempted by the Section 301 of the LMRA. The D.C. Circuit affirmed the Court's decision in-part, in that it agreed that Plaintiff's state law claims were preempted. However, the D.C. Circuit remanded the case for this Court to decide whether Plaintiff's pleadings could be viewed as stating a claim under Section 301.

         Now before the Court is Defendant's [37] Second Motion to Dismiss. Defendant argues that Plaintiff fails to state a claim under Section 301 because any such claim would be untimely. The Court agrees. Plaintiff's allegations, although somewhat difficult to understand, are best characterized as asserting what is known as a “hybrid § 301/fair representation claim.” A six month statute of limitations applies to such a claim, and Plaintiff's Complaint was filed far outside of this statutory period. Accordingly, upon consideration of the pleadings[1], the relevant legal authorities, and the record for purposes of this motion, the Court GRANTS Defendant's Motion and once again DISMISSES this case.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Allegations in Plaintiff's Pre-Remand Pleadings

         The Court begins by recounting the allegations in Plaintiff's pleadings as they existed before the remand in this case. For the purposes of the currently-pending motion, 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 thus far in this case. 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.”).

         As the Court noted in its November 15, 2016 Memorandum Opinion, Plaintiff's allegations are not a model of clarity. Nonetheless, the Court can discern the following: Plaintiff was hired by Defendant as a security officer in 2012. See Pl.'s Opp'n to Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 15, 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. 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 violated 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 has indicated that he filed a grievance against AlliedBarton with his union, the Service Employees International Union (“SEIU”), based on the above allegations, but that the SEIU refused to arbitrate his claims because it determined that they lacked merit. See Pl.'s Suppl. Brief, ECF No. 22, at 1. Plaintiff appealed this decision, but his appeal was denied. Id. at 2. Plaintiff apparently then filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”), challenging the SEIU's refusal to arbitrate against AlliedBarton. Plaintiff has attached to one of his pleadings a letter from the NLRB denying Plaintiff's appeal from a Regional Director's refusal to issue a complaint asserting that the SEIU failed to fairly represent him in the processing of his grievance. Id. at 8.

         B. Dismissal, Remand and Subsequent Pleadings

         On June 30, 2016, Defendant moved to dismiss this case on the grounds that Plaintiff's claim, which was styled as one for breach of contract under District of Columbia law, was completely preempted by Section 301 of the LMRA. See Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 6. On November 15, 2016, the Court issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order granting Defendant's motion and dismissing this case. See Nov. 15, 2016 Mem. Op. and Order, ECF Nos. 23, 24. The Court found that Plaintiff's state law claims were preempted by Section 301 because they were not meaningfully independent of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) that was in place between the SEIU and AlliedBarton during Plaintiff's employment. See Berry v. Coastal Int'l Sec., Inc., 968 F.Supp.2d 104, 110 (D.D.C. 2013) (“section 301 completely preempts any action predicated on state law if that action is either: (1) founded upon rights created by a collective bargaining agreement; or (2) substantially dependent upon analysis of that agreement.”).

         On August 2, 2017, the D.C. Circuit affirmed-in-part this Court's Order dismissing this case, in that it held that the Court correctly concluded that Plaintiff's state law claims were preempted by the LMRA because they depended on the meaning of the CBA. See Washington v. AlliedBarton Sec. Servs., LLC, No. 16-7147, 2017 WL 4180147 (D.C. Cir. Aug. 2, 2017). Accordingly, the court held that “appellant's claims must be brought, if at all, under Section 301.” Id. The D.C. Circuit ordered that this case be remanded to determine whether Plaintiff's pleadings could be viewed as stating a claim under that statute. Id. Because Plaintiff's Complaint asserted a state law cause of action for breach of contract, and Plaintiff had not previously asserted a claim under ...

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