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Johnson v. National Mediation Board

March 22, 2006

DALONNO JOHNSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge George M. Marovich

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Dalonno Johnson ("Johnson") filed a complaint challenging an arbitration decision made under the Railway Labor Act. Two motions are before the Court. First, defendant the National Mediation Board (the "Board") has moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that it is not a proper defendant. Second, plaintiff has moved for leave to file an amended complaint. For the reasons described below, the Court grants defendant's motion to dismiss and denies plaintiff's motion for leave to amend.

I. Background

According to the allegations in plaintiff's complaint and the arbitration decision attached to plaintiff's complaint, CSX Transportation, Inc. ("CSX") once employed Johnson, who was a member of the United Transportation Union. After an investigation and hearing, CSX terminated Johnson's employment due to "his excessive absenteeism for the period of January 21, 2004 through March 30, 2004."

It seems that the Union filed a grievance on Johnson's behalf and that the grievance was taken to arbitration before the Public Law Board. The Public Law Board concluded, among other things:

Based on the record in its entirety, it is the finding of this Board that Carrier has presented sufficient evidence to justify its decision that claimant was guilty of the charge against him.

Inasmuch as Carrier has followed the procedures set forth in its discipline policy, the Board is not inclined to attempt to interfere with Carrier's final decision to dismiss claimant from service. (Public Board Award No. 386 at 2-3).

Plaintiff filed suit in this Court challenging the Public Board's award. Plaintiff alleged, among other things, that the Public Law Board was partial to CSX and failed to preserve fairness in violation of the Railway Labor Act and the collective bargaining agreement.

II. Standard on a Motion to Dismiss

The Court may dismiss a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure if the plaintiff fails "to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In considering a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded factual allegations and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. McCullah v. Gadert, 344 F.3d 655, 657 (7th Cir. 2003). On a motion to dismiss, the "issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims." Cole v. U.S. Capital, Inc., 389 F.3d 719, 724 (7th Cir. 2004) (quoting Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974)). As the Seventh Circuit recently admonished:

Plaintiffs need not plead facts; they need not plead law; they plead claims for relief. Usually they need do no more than narrate a grievance simply and directly, so that the defendant knows what he has been accused of. . . . Any district judge (for that matter, any defendant) tempted to write "this complaint is deficient because it does not contain . . ." should stop and think: What rule of law requires a complaint to contain that allegation.

Doe v. Smith, 429 F.3d 706, 708 (7th Cir. 2005).

In considering a motion to dismiss, a court may not consider matters outside the pleadings without converting the motion to a motion for summary judgment. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b). The pleadings include ...


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