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Anthony St. Martine v. Keystone Freight Corporation

February 28, 2012

ANTHONY ST. MARTINE
v.
KEYSTONE FREIGHT CORPORATION, NATIONAL RETAIL SYSTEM, INC., AND INTERNATIONAL LONGSHOREMEN'S ASSOCIATION UNION, LOCAL 1964



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Norma L. Shapiro, J.

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff, Anthony St. Martine ("St. Martine"), brings this action under § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 against his former employers, Keystone Freight Corporation*fn1 ("Keystone") and National Retail System, Inc.*fn2 ("NRS"), and his former union, International Longshoremen's Association Union, Local 1964 ("Union"). He argues Keystone and NRS violated the terms of the applicable collective-bargaining agreement (the "CBA"), and the Union breached its duty of fair representation. Defendants have filed motions for summary judgment and petitions for expenses for responding to St. Martine's motion to compel discovery. St. Martine moved for leave to amend his complaint eleven months after pretrial motions were due.

For the reasons discussed below, the court will deny the Motion for Leave to File an Amended Pleading (paper no. 82), the Keystone and NRS Application for Fees and Costs (paper no. 77), and the Union Petition for Expenses Incurred (paper no. 76). The court will grant the Keystone and NRS Motion for Summary Judgment (paper no. 54) and the Union Motion for Summary Judgment (paper no. 61).

I. Background

Keystone provides retail transportation and distribution services throughout the United States, and operates a terminal on Sandmeyer Lane in Northeast Philadelphia (the "Philly Terminal"). NRS is Keystone's parent company. The CBA defines both Keystone and NRS as the "Employer." See CBA (paper no. 54, ex. 3, p. 5). The Union represents employees of the Philly Terminal and other locations.

St. Martine was a Union shop steward at the Philly Terminal and held "super seniority" status. He was employed as a truck driver from 2003 to August 25, 2009. During his employment, he received no warnings or discipline. On June 16, 2009, Keystone indefinitely suspended St. Martine from his job servicing Marmaxx stores (the "Marmaxx route"). Marmaxx had requested St. Martine's removal because they "[found] him to be a very disruptive force to store operations." See Am. Compl. (paper no. 22) ¶¶ 17, 27.

Following his suspension, St. Martine was offered a position in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; he declined because it involved a longer commute, less pay, overnight travel, weekend work, and less seniority. St. Martine also declined a position in North Bergen, New Jersey. See Arb. Op. (paper no. 66, ex. A) at 6 n.6.

The parties attended an arbitration hearing on August 25, 2009. The arbitrator found St. Martine had been terminated for cause in accordance with the CBA because St. Martine had abandoned his job by rejecting the positions offered by Keystone and NRS.

In his amended complaint, St. Martine alleged that Keystone and NRS breached the CBA by: (1) failing to provide St. Martine 48-hours notice of the reason for his suspension, Am. Compl. (paper no. 22)¶ 82; (2) failing to provide St. Martine and the Union two written warnings prior to his termination, see id. ¶¶ 81, 83; (3) suspending and terminating St. Martine for reasons not enumerated in the CBA, id. ¶ 83; and (4) terminating St. Martine for "job abandonment" without offering him a comparable position to the one he had, id. ¶ 84. St. Martine alleged that the Union, through its business agent Tom Caula ("Caula"), breached its duty of fair representation by failing to: (1) tell the arbitrator about Keystone's breaches of the CBA, id. ¶ 129; (2) tell the arbitrator about other jobs in Cinnaminson, New Jersey, id. ¶ 130; (3) require Keystone and NRS to provide a reason for St. Martine's suspension, id. ¶ 136; (4) prepare for issues discussed at the arbitration hearing, id. ¶134; (5) require Keystone and NRS to adhere strictly to the CBA, id. ¶ 135; and (6) prevent the termination of its shop steward for reasons unrelated to his performance, id. ¶ 139.

II. Motion for leave to file a second amended complaint

St. Martine sought leave to amend his complaint to add a retaliation count against Keystone and NRS eleven months after pretrial motions were due. See Order (paper no 45); Mot. Leave (paper no. 82). St. Martine provided no reason for the delay.

"A district court may deny leave to amend a complaint if a plaintiff's delay in seeking amendment is undue, motivated by bad faith, or prejudicial to the opposing party." Cureton v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 252 F.3d 267, 272--73 (3d Cir. 2001). Although "delay alone is an insufficient ground to deny leave to amend[,] . . . [d]elay may become undue when a movant has had previous opportunities to amend a complaint." Id. at 273. When considering a motion for leave to amend that could place an unwarranted burden on the district court or prejudice an opposing party, a district court must "articulate the prejudice caused by the delay and . . . balance those concerns against the reasons for delay." Id. at 276.

In Cureton, the Court of Appeals considered whether the district court abused its discretion by denying the plaintiffs' motion to alter or amend summary judgment and for leave to file a second amended complaint. The plaintiffs, a putative class of African-American student-athletes, challenged the NCAA minimum standardized-test score requirement for athletic participation and claimed it had a disparate impact on African-American student-athletes. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment, and the district court granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs. The Court of Appeals remanded the action with direction to enter judgment for the NCAA, and the plaintiffs then moved to alter or amend summary judgment and for leave to amend their complaint to allege intentional discrimination. The district court denied the motion for leave to amend as untimely, prejudicial to the NCAA, and futile. The Court of Appeals affirmed the district-court judgment and held, inter alia, that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the plaintiffs' motion. The district court had analyzed the amended complaint, plaintiffs' reasons for delay, and prejudice to the NCAA, and had "concluded that the new claim fundamentally altered the proceeding and could have been asserted earlier." Id. at 274.

In In re Madera, 586 F.3d 228 (3d Cir. 2009), the Court of Appeals reviewed the district court's affirmance of the bankruptcy court's denial of the plaintiffs' motion to amend their complaint. The plaintiffs, having defaulted on two loans, sued the creditor of the second loan under the Truth in Lending Act. The defendant moved for summary judgment. The plaintiffs then moved for leave to amend their complaint. The bankruptcy court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment and denied the plaintiffs' motion to amend. The Court of Appeals found that granting the motion to amend would have prejudiced the defendant by "requiring it to reopen discovery and respond to ...


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