Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 134, An v. Brian Cunningham

April 29, 2013

INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS, LOCAL 134, AN UNINCORPORATED ASSOCIATION,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
BRIAN CUNNINGHAM,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Virginia M. Kendall

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 134 filed a three-count complaint against Defendant Brian Cunningham alleging that the Defendant unlawfully accessed its "Labor Power" database, obtained the e-mail addresses of the Plaintiff's members, and e-mailed Plaintiff's members in an effort to foment discord within the union and cause the union to breach its contract with the Chicago Public School System. Defendant has now moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. For the reasons set forth below, the motion to dismiss is granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are taken from the Plaintiff's Complaint and are assumed to be true for purposes of the Motion to Dismiss. See Voelker v. Porsche Cars North America, Inc., 353 F.3d 516, 520 (7th Cir. 2003); Murphy v. Walker, 51 F.3d 714, 717 (7th Cir. 1995). Plaintiff is a "labor organization" within the meaning of Section 2(2) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 152. (Doc. 12, Amended Complaint, at ¶ 6.) Its principal place of business is located at 600 West Washington Boulevard in Chicago, Illinois. (Id. at ¶ 5.) Plaintiff maintains an electronic database on its computer network and servers known as the "Labor Power" database. (Id. at ¶ 9.) This database contains the personal and confidential information of the Plaintiff's thirteen thousand members. (Id.) Such information includes members' names, addresses, social security numbers and e-mail addresses. (Id.)

On or around May 10, 2012, Plaintiff's members and signatory contractors received an e-mail from an entity referring to itself as the "Local 134 Transparency Times." (Id. at ¶ 10.) The Local 134 Transparency Times sent subsequent blast e-mails to Plaintiff's members and contractors on June 6, 2012, July 23, 2012, September 11, 2012 and September 14, 2012. (Id. at ¶ 12.) The subject of each of the e-mails was "Local 134 Transpareancy [sic] Times -- Letting our fellow brothers and sisters know what is really going on at 600 Washington." (Id. at ¶ 13.) The September 11, 2012 e-mail encouraged Plaintiff's members not to cross the picket lines established by the Chicago Teachers' Union ("CTU") during a strike the CTU commenced in September, 2012. (Id. at ¶ 15.) The e-mail also directed Plaintiff's members to report any member of any union who crossed the CTU's picket line to a union steward so that they may notify "officials at the Hall." (Id.)

Defendant Brian Cunningham is alleged to be the individual behind the "Transparency Times" e-mails. (Id. at ¶¶ 1, 12, 14-15.) Cunningham allegedly accessed the Plaintiff's computer network and obtained the e-mail addresses maintained in the Labor Power database. (Id. at ¶¶ 1, 22-23, 28-29.) He then engaged the services of a social media delivery service to send the "Transparency Times" mass e-mails. (Id. at ¶ 8.) After the e-mails were sent, Plaintiff's members complained that they had never provided their e-mail addresses to Transparency Times. (Id. at ¶ 10.) Similarly, LNK Technologies, LLC, an electrical contractor that entered into a contract with the Plaintiff, complained that it received an e-mail from Transparency Times but had never provided its e-mail address to Transparency Times. (Id. at ¶ 11.) As a result, Plaintiff engaged a computer forensic firm to conduct an investigation. (Id. at ¶ 31.) That firm discovered that Cunningham had remotely accessed Plaintiff's computers and servers. (Id.)

Prior to this, Plaintiff executed a Project Labor Agreement with the Chicago Public Schools. (Id. at ¶ 16.) The Agreement contains a "no strike" clause. (Id.) Pursuant to this clause, Plaintiff agreed that neither it nor "any of its members, officers, stewards, agents, representatives or employees shall instigate, authorize, support, sanction, maintain or participate in any strike..." (Id.) The Agreement also contains language giving the Chicago Public Schools the right to discharge or discipline any employee who violates the Agreement. (Id. at ¶ 18.)

Plaintiff has now filed a three-count complaint against Cunningham. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Cunningham violated the Stored Wire and Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2701, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030, by unlawfully accessing the Labor Power database and obtaining the e-mail addresses. Plaintiff also alleges that Cunningham tortiously interfered with its contractual relationship with the Chicago Public Schools by implicitly threatening Plaintiff's members who crossed the CTU picket line. Defendant has now moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).

LEGAL STANDARD

When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) the Court accepts as true all of the well-pled facts alleged in the complaint and construes all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. See Killingsworth v. HSBC Bank Nevada, N.A., 507 F.3d 614, 619 (7th Cir. 2007) (citing Savory v. Lyons, 469 F.3d 667, 670 (7th Cir. 2006)); accord Murphy, 51 F.3d at 717. To state a claim upon which relief can be granted a complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). "Detailed factual allegations" are not required, but the plaintiff must allege facts that, when "accepted as true . . . state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)) (internal quotations omitted). In analyzing whether a complaint meets this standard the "reviewing court [must] draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. When the factual allegations are well-pled the Court assumes their veracity and then determines if they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief. See id. at 679. A claim has facial plausibility when the factual content pled in the complaint allows the Court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. See id. at 678.

DISCUSSION

I. The Complaint States a Claim for a Violation of the Stored Wire and Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2701 Congress passed the SCA to protect privacy interests in personal and proprietary information. See Bloomington-Normal Seating Co. v. Albritton, No. 09-1073, 2009 WL 1329123, at *4 (C.D. Ill. May 13, 2009) (citing Kaufman v. Nest Seekers, LLC, No. 05 C 6782, 2006 WL 2807177, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 26, 2006)). The statute provides a cause of action when an individual or entity "intentionally accesses without authorization a facility through which an electronic communication service is provided" or "intentionally exceeds an authorization to access that facility" and "thereby obtains...a wire or electronic communication while it is in storage in such system..." 18 U.S.C. § 2701(a). The statute defines an "electronic communication service" as "any service which provides to users thereof the ability to send or receive wire or electronic communications." 18 U.S.C. § 2510(15). "Electronic storage" is defined as "any temporary, intermediate storage of a wire or electronic communication incidental to the electronic transmission thereof; and [] any storage of such communication by an electronic communication incidental to the electronic transmission thereof; and [] any storage of such communication by an electronic communication service for purposes of backup protection of such communication." 18 U.S.C. § 2510(17)(A), (B).

Cunningham argues that this claim should be dismissed because the Plaintiff failed to: (1) allege that Cunningham obtained unauthorized access to the Labor Power database; (2) allege the dates when Cunningham accessed the database; and (3) allege the existence of a computer or facility through which an electronic communication service is provided. The Court will address these in turn.

First, the Complaint clearly alleges that Cunningham used remote means to access the Labor Power database maintained on Plaintiff's computer network and servers. The Complaint alleges that Cunningham did this to obtain the e-mail addresses of the Plaintiff's members. The Complaint further alleges that Cunningham was not authorized to access the database. These allegations are ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.