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SCHWADRON v. TWA

May 31, 1984

GARY E. SCHWADRON, Plaintiff,
v.
TRANS WORLD AIRLINES, INC., Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: COHILL

 This matter is presently before us on a Motion by Defendant Trans World Airlines, Inc. ("TWA") to Dismiss, or alternatively, for Summary Judgment.

 Plaintiff, Gary Schwadron, originally brought this action in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania against defendant TWA for the tort of negligent misrepresentation. The action was removed to this court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441 by reason of diversity of citizenship.

 The complaint alleges that plaintiff, a mechanic employed by TWA but on lay-off status, obtained interim employment at Greater Pittsburgh Aircraft Maintenance, Inc. ("Greater Pitt"). The complaint further alleges that on January 31, 1983, while on layoff and employed by Greater Pitt, plaintiff filed a bid with TWA, pursuant to TWA procedures, for a job at the Cleveland, Ohio TWA terminal. TWA employees are represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers ("IAM"); Article 10 of the TWA - IAM Collective Bargaining Agreement ("the Agreement") governs layoffs and recalls and provides that vacancies shall be filled by order of seniority from among employees having bids on file. (Agreement, Art. 10).

 On February 16, 1983 TWA allegedly informed plaintiff that he was being recalled immediately for work at the Cleveland, Ohio terminal, and that he was to report on February 28, 1983. Plaintiff thereupon terminated his employment with Greater Pitt. Subsequently, plaintiff was notified that his recall was ineffective because TWA had ascertained that another employee was entitled to the job. Plaintiff attempted to notify Greater Pitt, but his job had already been filled.

 Plaintiff then filed a grievance through his union, the IAM, against TWA and proceeded through two steps of a four-step grievance procedure. At both stages, plaintiff's grievance was denied for the stated reason that there had been no violation of the collective bargaining agreement. At the third stage, the union withdrew plaintiff's grievance. Plaintiff then filed this action for negligent misrepresentation, seeking damages for the loss of income and benefits from his job at Greater Pitt.

 Defendant TWA has moved to dismiss the Complaint, or, alternatively, for summary judgment, on the grounds that this Court's jurisdiction is preempted by the provisions of the Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. § 151 et seq. We will dismiss the Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction since we find that the provisions of the Railway Labor Act, providing a scheme of exclusive administrative grievance procedures and remedies, preempts plaintiff's state tort action for negligent misrepresentation.

 The Railway Labor Act

 In 1936, Congress extended coverage of the Railway Labor Act to the air transportation industry. 45 U.S.C. § 181 et seq. Section 151 of the Act provides, in part, that its purpose shall be

 
(4) to provide for the prompt and orderly settlement of all disputes concerning rates of pay, rules, or working conditions; (5) to provide for the prompt and orderly settlement of all disputes growing out of grievances or out of the interpretation or application of agreements covering rates of pay, rules, or working conditions.

 45 U.S.C. § 151a.

 Section 3 of the Act requires that all disputes between a railroad employee and carrier growing out of grievances or out of the interpretation or application of agreements concerning rates of pay, rules, or working conditions be submitted to the National Railroad Adjustment Board, or a system board if one is established. 45 U.S.C. § 153. Section 204 of the Act provides for mandatory air carrier system boards of adjustment as the method for resolving "minor disputes" between airline employees and air carriers. 45 U.S.C. § 184. These so-called "minor disputes" were defined by the United States Supreme Court as [those]

 
involving grievances, [which] affect the smaller differences which inevitably appear in the carrying out of major agreements and policies or [which] arise incidentally in the course of an employment. They represent specific maladjustments of a detailed or individual quality . . . because of their comparatively minor character and the general improbability of their causing interruption of peaceful relations and of traffic, the 1934 Act sets them apart from the major disputes and provides for very different treatment.

  Elgin, Joliet & Eastern R. Co. v. Burley, 325 U.S. 711, 724, 65 S. Ct. 1282, 89 L. Ed. 1886 (1945). The arbitration provisions for minor disputes are mandatory, and preempt state remedies. Andrews v. Louisville & ...


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