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Wirtz Corporation D/B/A/ Judge & Dolph, Ltd v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters

May 20, 2011

WIRTZ CORPORATION D/B/A/ JUDGE & DOLPH, LTD., PLAINTIFF/COUNTERDEFENDANT,
v.
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, LOCAL UNION 705, DEFENDANT/COUNTERCLAIMANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Samuel Der-yeghiayan, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the court on Plaintiff Wirtz Corporation (WC) d/b/a Judge & Dolph, Ltd.'s (LTD) partial motion for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, the court grants the partial motion for summary judgment.

BACKGROUND

LTD is a former division of WC that was previously engaged in the wholesale business of distributing wine and spirit products. Between April 1997 and March 31, 2007, LTD and Defendant International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local Union 705 (Union 705) were allegedly parties to successive collective bargaining agreements covering LTD's delivery route drivers at LTD's Elk Grove, Illinois facility.

The final collective bargaining agreement was allegedly in effect from April 1, 2003 through March 31, 2007 (CBA). In a letter dated November 16, 2006 (Letter), the Union allegedly communicated to LTD an intent to terminate the CBA. According to Plaintiff, the CBA was not renewed on March 31, 2007 and was terminated.

In June 2007, LTD allegedly terminated the employment of Timothy Garvey (Garvey) and Daryl Howell (Howell), who were members of Union 705. Union 705 allegedly filed grievances on behalf of both individuals, and the parties agreed to arbitration. The arbitrator initially ordered LTD to reinstate both Garvey and Howell. At that time, LTD was allegedly no longer conducting business and therefore could not reinstate Garvey or Howell. The arbitrator issued subsequent rulings in regard to Garvey (Final Garvey Award) and Howell (Final Howell Award), ordering that the individuals receive certain compensation and that they be reinstated.

On or about July 1, 2008, Judge & Dolph, LLC (LLC) allegedly began transacting business, and by then LTD had ceased distributing products. LLC was allegedly a joint venture between WC and one of its competitors Glazer's Distributors of Illinois, Inc. (GDI). As of about July 1, 2008, the delivery route drivers of GDI were represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 744 (Union 744) and were parties to a collective bargaining agreement. LLC allegedly hired former LTD and former GDI delivery route drivers at its Elk Grove, Illinois facility, but LLC did not at any time assume the collective bargaining obligations of LTD or GDI. On or about August 29, 2008, LLC and Union 744 entered into a collective bargaining agreement covering LLC's drivers at the Elk Grove, Illinois facility.

Plaintiff includes in its amended complaint a claim under Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (LMRA), 29 U.S.C. § 185 et seq., seeking a vacatur of the Final Garvey Award (Count I), and a claim seeking a vacatur of the Final Howell Award (Count II). In response to the amended complaint, Union 705 filed an answer and counterclaim against LTD and LLC. In the counterclaim, Union 705 includes a claim seeking to enforce the arbitration awards entered in favor of Garvey (Count I), and a claim seeking to enforce the arbitration awards entered in favor of Howell (Count II). Plaintiff now moves for summary judgment on the counterclaim, contending that Union 705 lacks standing to bring the claims in the counterclaim.

The court notes that Plaintiff in this case is WC doing business as LTD and Union 705 has filed a counterclaim not only against LTD but also against LLC. Since LLC is not a Plaintiff in this case, a counterclaim by Union 705 against LLC is improper and is stricken. Even if the counterclaim against LLC was found to be proper, the court finds its ruling in this matter equally applicable to LLC.

LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate when the record, viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, reveals that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Smith v. Hope School, 560 F.3d 694, 699 (7th Cir. 2009). A "genuine issue" in the context of a motion for summary judgment is not simply a "metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists when "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Insolia v. Philip Morris, Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 599 (7th Cir. 2000). In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must consider the record as a whole, in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; Bay v. Cassens Transport Co., 212 F.3d 969, 972 (7th Cir. 2000).

DISCUSSION

Plaintiff argues that, if reinstated Garvey and Howell will be a part of the LLC bargaining unit and Union 705 lacks standing to represent the interests of drivers that work at the LLC Elk Grove, Illinois facility (Drivers). Union ...


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