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Johnson v. CSX Transportation

August 7, 2007

DALONNO JOHNSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CSX TRANSPORTATION, AND UNITED TRANSPORTATION UNION, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Dalonno Johnson ("Johnson") filed an amended complaint against defendants CSX Transportation and United Transportation Union. Defendant United Transportation Union (the "Union") moves to dismiss plaintiff's amended complaint against it. For the reasons described below, the Court denies defendant's motion to dismiss.

I. Background

According to the allegations in plaintiff's amended complaint and the arbitration decision attached to plaintiff's amended complaint, CSX Transportation, Inc. ("CSX") once employed Johnson, who was a member of the United Transportation Union. CSX terminated Johnson's employment for alleged excessive absenteeism.

The Union filed a grievance on Johnson's behalf, and 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 asserts a number of problems with the grievance process and with the representation the Union provided him throughout the proceedings. Plaintiff asserts that defendants violated his due process rights by, among other things, failing to provide proper notice of the investigation and failing to allow him to obtain representation of his choosing. In addition, he challenges the final decision of the Public Board.

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). A complaint must "give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombley, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). A complaint need not provide detailed factual allegations, but mere conclusions and a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action" will not suffice. Twombley, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-1965. A complaint must include enough factual allegations to "raise a right to relief above a speculative level." Twombley, 127 S.Ct. at 1965.

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 documents attached to the complaint. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c).

III. Discussion

A. Whether the Union is a Proper Party

The Union argues that it should be dismissed from this suit because it is not a proper party. The Union argues that only the employer can be a party to a suit to challenge an arbitration ...


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