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Johnson v. Local Lodge 1759, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

United States District Court, District of Columbia

June 17, 2019

EDWARD JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
LOCAL LODGE 1759, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MACHINISTS AND AEROSPACE WORKERS, AFL-CIO, et al. Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          TREVOR N. McFADDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pro se Plaintiff Edward Johnson has filed several pleadings outlining his claims against Local Lodge 1759 (“Local Lodge”) and his former employer, Allied Aviation Services (“Allied”). Even so, it is not easy to discern his claims. Allied has moved to dismiss Mr. Johnson's Complaint, and Local Lodge seeks judgment on the pleadings. For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant Local Lodge's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and grant in part and deny in part Allied's Motion to Dismiss.

         I.

         The Court has afforded Mr. Johnson ample opportunity to outline his claims against Allied and Local Lodge (collectively, “the Defendants”). His original Complaint was too vague and ambiguous for the Defendants to respond. See ECF No. 1. So the Court granted the Defendants' Motions for a More Definite Statement and instructed Mr. Johnson to file an Amended Complaint. ECF No. 17. Mr. Johnson did so, but his Amended Complaint was still difficult to interpret. See ECF No. 18. Local Lodge filed an Answer, see ECF No. 19, while Allied moved to dismiss, see ECF No. 20.

         The Court directed Mr. Johnson to respond to Allied's Motion to Dismiss. See ECF No. 21. But rather than addressing Allied's arguments, Mr. Johnson supplemented his Amended Complaint again. ECF No. 22. Local Lodge then moved for judgment on the pleadings, ECF No. 23, and the Court warned Mr. Johnson he needed to respond, ECF No. 24.[1] Rather than substantively responding, Mr. Johnson filed a two-paragraph pleading styled as a “MOTION; Showing Cause for Complaint, Complaint.” ECF No. 27.

         Although Mr. Johnson's filings are far from clear, the Court is mindful of its obligation to hold a pro se litigant's pleadings to a less stringent standard than what represented parties face. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). So the Court considers Mr. Johnson's pleadings collectively and construes them liberally. With that in mind, the following is the Court's understanding of Mr. Johnson's factual allegations and legal claims.

         Allied originally fired Mr. Johnson in March 2016, but in July 2016 he received an offer to return to work.[2] ECF No. 22 at 1-2.[3] After Mr. Johnson returned to work, he had various job performance issues, including a truck accident. See ECF No. 18 at 2. On June 20, 2017, he was “resting” and “nodding” his head during his lunch break. Id. at 2; ECF No. 22 at 2-3. Allied's Director of Human Resources, Michael Baylor, discovered Mr. Johnson and fired him for sleeping on the job. ECF No. 22 at 2-3; ECF No. 22-1 at 2. Mr. Johnson, who is Hispanic, maintains that his colleague, who is African American, was asleep nearby, but Mr. Baylor took no action against him. See ECF No. 22 at 2-3; ECF No. 22-1 at 2.

         Mr. Johnson appears to make three claims. First, he alleges that Allied discriminated against him based on his race. See ECF No. 22-1 at 2. Second, Mr. Johnson alleges that Allied terminated him in retaliation for his filing a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) over his March 2016 termination. See ECF No. 18 at 3; ECF No. 27 at 1. Finally, he alleges that Allied violated the collective bargaining agreement by terminating him without a union representative present and acting outside the disciplinary action plan. See ECF No. 1; ECF No. 18 at 3; ECF No. 27 at 1.

         Allied has moved to dismiss Mr. Johnson's Complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), ECF No. 20, and Local Lodge has moved for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c), ECF No. 23.

         II.

         To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief “plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A court must treat the complaint's factual allegations as true, “even if doubtful in fact.” Id. at 555. But a court need not accept as true legal conclusions set forth in a complaint. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). In deciding a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), a court may consider the facts alleged in the complaint, documents attached to it as exhibits or incorporated by reference, and matters about which the court may take judicial notice. Abhe & Svoboda, Inc. v. Chao, 508 F.3d 1052, 1059 (D.C. Cir. 2007). A motion for judgment on the pleadings “is functionally equivalent to a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.” Rollins v. Wackenhut Servs., Inc., 703 F.3d 122, 130 (D.C. Cir. 2012).

         III.

         A.

         Local Lodge is entitled to judgment on the pleadings. To survive a motion for judgment on the pleadings, a complaint need only provide sufficient facts, accepted as true to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. See Rollins, 703 F.3d at 130 (“Other circuits have held that Iqbal and Twombly apply to Rule 12(c) . . . and we do likewise.”). But even accepting ...


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