and implied contracts of continued employment by discharging her without cause. The plaintiff also alleged that defendants breached their express contract, embodied in the BRAC Constitution, concerning the plaintiff's seniority rights and her right to notice and a hearing prior to being disciplined as a member of BRAC. In addition, the plaintiff alleged that defendants' conduct constituted wrongful discharge, libel, and intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress under Pennsylvania law. Defendants removed this action to federal court on the ground that plaintiff's allegation of improper disciplinary action by a union was a claim founded upon the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), 29 U.S.C. § 401 et seq. (1975).
Although plaintiff did not originally plead an action arising under the federal labor laws, plaintiff acquiesced in the removal. Plaintiff was then granted leave to amend her complaint to allege that defendants violated plaintiff's rights under sections 101, 102, and 609 of the LMRDA, 29 U.S.C. §§ 411, 412, 529.
Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss the complaint under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), for failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted. Plaintiff asserts, inter alia, that she has stated a claim under section 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act (LMRA), 29 U.S.C. § 185, as well as a claim under the LMRDA.
In considering defendants' motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), this Court must view the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and deny the motion even if it appears on the face of the pleadings that recovery is very remote. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 94 S. Ct. 1683, 40 L. Ed. 2d 90 (1974); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 78 S. Ct. 99, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80 (1957). The Court will dismiss the complaint only if it "appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of [her] claim which would entitle [her] to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. at 45-46, 78 S. Ct. at 101-02.
Plaintiff alleges the following facts in support of her claims: In January 1977, the plaintiff was hired by BRAC and System Board to work at the offices of System Board. As a condition of her employment, the plaintiff was required to become a member of BRAC, which she did. The BRAC Constitution provided, inter alia, that the International President "shall have power to suspend, expel, or otherwise discipline a member, but only after serving such member with specific written charges stating the ground therefor, and affording the member reasonable time to prepare his defense and a full and fair hearing." In addition, plaintiff received a BRAC personnel policy statement which provided that "employees whose positions are abolished may, seniority and qualifications permitted, exercise their seniority rights over junior employees. Other employees affected may exercise their seniority in the same manner."
In 1981, plaintiff was promoted to the position of administrative assistant to the then General Chairman of System Board, Mr. Al Archual. In August of 1981, Mr. Archual became International Vice President of BRAC. From that point on, BRAC and System Board each contributed one-half of plaintiff's salary.
In September 1983, an investigation revealed that Mr. Archual was misusing union funds. BRAC and its president, Richard I. Kilroy, imposed a trusteeship on System Board. John A. Lieb served as trustee of System Board from September 7, 1983 until May 1984. Plaintiff had no knowledge of any illegal or improper activity by Mr. Archual and had not participated in any illegal or improper activity prior to September 1983, when the trusteeship was imposed. On September 7, Mr. Kilroy, the President of BRAC, told plaintiff to stay home from work until further notice. Although plaintiff continued to receive her salary and benefits, she was not permitted to visit her place of employment. Her personal belongings were delivered to her by the defendants. Plaintiff was forced to seek and obtain permission to visit the office of her dentist, which was in the same building as the offices of System Board.
On or about September 9, 1983, Mr. Kilroy and BRAC entered an agreement with Mr. Archual which provided that Mr. Archual would resign his positions with BRAC and System Board and forego any legal challenge to the imposition of the trusteeship over System Board. In return, Mr. Archual would receive retirement benefits as a former member and officer of BRAC and System Board, and BRAC and System Board would continue to employ the plaintiff. Mr. Archual resigned and subsequently pled guilty to embezzlement and income tax evasion in federal district court. Mr. Lieb, the trustee of System Board, terminated plaintiff's employment with BRAC and System Board, without explanation or hearing, effective December 9, 1983. All defendants authorized the action taken by Mr. Lieb with respect to plaintiff's termination. On December 9, 1983, the plaintiff claimed her seniority rights over other office employees, but, without explanation, defendants denied plaintiff the right to assert seniority. Mr. Kilroy and Mr. Lieb falsely accused plaintiff of involvement in the misconduct of Mr. Archual. In terminating plaintiff's employment, defendants intended to punish plaintiff for criminal activity in which they knew she had not participated, and for her association with Mr. Archual.
I. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT CLAIM
In Count IV of her complaint, plaintiff alleges that the defendants breached their express contract not to impose discipline upon plaintiff as a member of BRAC without notice of specific charges and a hearing. Plaintiff contends that the union constitution is a contract, and that she has a federal cause of action against defendants for breach of that contract under section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a), which provides:
Suits for violation of contracts between an employer and a labor organization representing employees in an industry affecting commerce as defined in this chapter, or between any such labor organizations, may be brought in any district court of the United States having jurisdiction of the parties, without respect to the amount in controversy or without regard to the citizenship of the parties.
29 U.S.C. § 185(a) (1978).
In United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry v. Local 334, 452 U.S. 615, 101 S. Ct. 2546, 69 L. Ed. 2d 280 (1981), the Supreme Court held that a suit brought by a local union against its parent international union alleging a violation of the international's constitution fell within the federal district courts' jurisdiction under section 301 of the LMRA, and that there was no requirement that a significant impact on labor-management relations be alleged. The Court characterized the international union's constitution as a contract between labor organizations. 452 U.S. at 620-21, 101 S. Ct. at 2549 (citing Coronado Coal Co. v. United Mine Workers of America, 268 U.S. 295, 304, 45 S. Ct. 551, 554, 69 L. Ed. 963 (1925) (a union constitution is a "fundamental agreement of association")). While the Journeyman Court acknowledged that the LMRA was not intended to interfere with the internal governance of union membership, the Court found "an obvious and important difference" between such interference and "enforcement by the federal courts of freely entered into agreements between separate labor organizations." 452 U.S. at 626, 101 S. Ct. at 2552. The Journeymen Court expressly declined to decide whether individual union members have a cause of action under section 301 of the LMRA against a labor organization alleging a breach of the union constitution. See 452 U.S. at 627, n.16, 101 S. Ct. at 2553, n.16 (citations omitted).
The federal courts are not in agreement as to whether Journeymen should be expanded to authorize a section 301 cause of action on the part of individual union members against a union alleging breach of the union's constitution. See Rutledge v. Aluminum, Brick and Clay Workers International Union, 737 F.2d 965, 969-70 (11th Cir. 1984) (collecting cases). Apparently, the key question is what implication should be drawn from Journeymen in light of the Supreme Court's prior decision in Smith v. Evening News Association, 371 U.S. 195, 83 S. Ct. 267, 9 L. Ed. 2d 246 (1962), holding that an individual union member had a section 301 cause of action against his employer for breach of the collective bargaining agreement. In effect, the Smith Court said that as long as there was a "contract" between an employer and a labor organization or between labor organizations, a "suit" under section 301 could be maintained by a nonsignatory to the contract. See 371 U.S. at 200, 83 S. Ct. at 270 (rejecting argument that the word "between" in section 301 refers to "suits" rather than "contracts" and that the only suit authorized by section 301 to enforce the collective bargaining agreement would be one between the labor organization and the employer).
Some courts have reasoned from Journeymen that a union constitution is a contract within section 301, and from Smith that section 301 permits enforcement by nonsignatories to the contract, and have concluded that a union member is entitled to sue a union under section 301 to enforce the union constitution. E.g., Doby v. Safeway Stores, Inc., 523 F. Supp. 1162, 1166 (E.D. Va. 1981) (citing Journeymen and Smith); E.C. Alford v. National Post Office Mail Handlers, 576 F. Supp. 278, 284-86 (E.D. Mo. 1983) (adopting Doby's approach but disallowing suit based on violation of local union's constitution). See also Kinney v. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, 669 F.2d 1222, 1229 (9th Cir. 1981) (Journeymen does not change previous Ninth Circuit position that individual union member may sue union on basis of union constitution under section 301); Alexander v. International Union of Operating Engineers, 624 F.2d 1235, 1238 (5th Cir. 1980) (collecting Journeymen cases); Abrams v. Carrier Corp., 434 F.2d 1234, 1247 (2d Cir. 1970), cert. denied sub nom United Steelworkers of America v. Abrams, 401 U.S. 1009, 91 S. Ct. 1253, 28 L. Ed. 2d 545 (1271) (Smith authorizes suit by individual members vs. union).
Other courts, however, have not understood Smith and Journeymen to authorize suits by individual union members against unions for breach of the union constitution. See Frenza v. Sheet Metal Workers' International Association, 567 F. Supp. 580, 584-85 (E.D. Mich. 1983) (Sixth Circuit rule that individual union members cannot maintain an action for breach of a union constitution was not changed by Journeymen) (citing Trail v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 542 F.2d 961 (6th Cir. 1976). In Trial, the Sixth Circuit held that Smith's authorization of section 301 suits by individual union members should be limited to the enforcement of collective bargaining agreements :
Smith v. Evening News Association dealt with an action by individual union members against their employer based on the collective bargaining agreement. Over the years there has been the judicial creation of a Federal common law in the area of collective bargaining. This was expressly recognized in Textile Workers Union v. Lincoln Mills of Alabama, 353 U.S. 448 [77 S. Ct. 912, 1 L. Ed. 2d 972] (1957). There has not been, however, this same tradition of Federal resolution of intra-union disputes and no Federal common law has developed in this area. Indeed, Congress in LMRD has provided statutory guidelines as to areas of intra-union affairs which the Federal courts would concern themselves with. In Amalgamated Association of Street, Electric Railway and Motor Coach Employees of America, et al. v. Lockridge, 403 U.S. 274 [91 S. Ct. 1909, 29 L. Ed. 2d 473] (1971), the Supreme Court, in discussing Section 301(a) jurisdiction limited the applicability of Smith v. Evening News Association to contracts between unions and employers in stating: