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SHAW v. RUSSELL TRUCKING LINE

June 30, 1982

John L. SHAW, Jr., Plaintiff,
v.
RUSSELL TRUCKING LINE, INC. and Medusa Cement Company, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MANSMANN

This matter is before the court on Motions to Dismiss and Motions to Strike filed by Defendants Russell Trucking Line, Inc. (hereinafter "Russell Trucking") and Medusa Cement (hereinafter "Medusa"). Plaintiff, John L. Shaw, Jr., brought this action as a result of his discharge by his employer, Russell Trucking. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motions to Dismiss are denied in part and granted in part, and their Motions to Strike are denied.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

 The facts of this case, accepting the averments of the Complaint as stating the facts, *fn1" may be summarized as follows:

 Plaintiff was formerly employed by Russell Trucking as a truck driver with the responsibility of transporting cement from Russell's terminal at Medusa's plant in Wampum, Pennsylvania, to Medusa's customers, most of whom are located in Ohio. Plaintiff alleges that the trucks were loaded in Pennsylvania at the full weight permitted by Ohio which was, at that time, greater than the weight permitted by Pennsylvania. Thus, the trucks he was assigned to drive were "overloaded" for the 15 to 20 mile distance from the Wampum terminal to the Ohio border.

 In April or May 1980, Plaintiff refused to drive an overweight load to Ohio. He attempted to persuade other drivers to do the same and informed Russell Trucking of his possible intention to notify the Pennsylvania State Police if the practice continued. At least two of Russell Trucking's trucks, carrying Medusa's cement, were subsequently stopped by the Pennsylvania State Police and fined for being overweight. Medusa then informed Russell Trucking that Plaintiff was no longer permitted on Medusa's property. Thereupon Russell Trucking notified Plaintiff that they could no longer use his services.

 On or about May 8, 1980, Plaintiff filed a grievance pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement between Russell Trucking and Local Union No. 261 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America (hereinafter "Union"). The grievance proceeded to arbitration and, in a decision dated July 20, 1981, the arbitrator found in favor of the Company. *fn2"

 Defendants have moved to dismiss each count of the Complaint, contending that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim for relief on any basis. This Court will consider the challenges to each count separately and will resolve them accordingly.

 I. CLAIMS AGAINST RUSSELL TRUCKING

 Defendants contend that Plaintiff's action for breach of contract against Russell Trucking is barred by the applicable statute of limitations. In this regard, Defendants maintain that Pennsylvania's 30-day statute of limitations for actions seeking to vacate an arbitration award is the applicable limitations period for § 301 actions. Plaintiff maintains that the 30-day limitations period is not the most appropriate in § 301 actions. Rather, Plaintiff submits that the 90-day limitations period which previously existed for actions to vacate arbitration awards is more appropriate. Alternatively, Plaintiff suggests the longer limitations periods applicable to tort and common law contract actions.

 The United States Supreme Court has held that the appropriate state statute of limitations is to be used in determining the timeliness of a suit brought under § 301. International Union, UAW v. Hoosier Cardinal Corp., 383 U.S. 696, 704-05, 86 S. Ct. 1107, 1112-13, 16 L. Ed. 2d 192 (1966). In Liotta v. National Forge Co., *fn3" 629 F.2d 903 (3d Cir. 1980), cert. denied, 451 U.S. 970, 101 S. Ct. 2045, 68 L. Ed. 2d 348, 101 S. Ct. 2046 (1981), the Third Circuit determined that the appropriate limitations period for § 301 actions was the statute of limitations applicable to suits seeking to vacate an arbitration award. Pennsylvania law, as recently changed, provides a limitations period of 30 days for actions to vacate an arbitration award. 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 7314 (Purdon 1981).

 Thus, an action to vacate an arbitration award under § 301 must be brought within 30 days after delivery of a copy of the award to the person challenging the award. 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 7314(b) (Purdon 1981). Plaintiff concedes that he received a copy of the award several days after its issuance. The new 30-day period was effective in December 1980, 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 7301 (Purdon 1981), more than seven months prior to the arbitration award here in question. Plaintiff's contention that the 30-day statute is not applicable since the grievance was filed when the three months statute was in effect is without merit.

 Accordingly, the 30-day statute of limitations controls in this case. Other courts within this Circuit have also applied the 30-day limitations period in § 301 actions. See Fedor v. Hygrade Food Products Corp., 533 F. Supp. 269 (E.D.Pa.1982); General Teamsters v. DeBolt Transfer, Inc., 525 F. Supp. 1238 (W.D.Pa.1981).

 Plaintiff argues that a 30-day statute of limitations is far too short a time for an aggrieved party to prepare and file an action under § 301. The Third Circuit, however, has conclusively determined that the appropriate limitations period for § 301 actions is the state statute of limitations applicable to suits seeking to vacate an arbitration award. In this case, that limitations period is 30 days. The 30-day ...


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