United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
M. MUNLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
Gregory Gressens (hereinafter “plaintiff”) claims
Defendant Ashland Foundry & Machine Works, Inc.'s
(hereinafter “Ashland Foundry”) improperly
terminated his employment under Section 301 of the Labor
Management Relations Act (hereinafter “LMRA”).
Plaintiff further alleges Defendants United Steel, Paper and
Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial
and Service Worker's International Union, AFL-CIO-CLC,
and United Steel Workers of America Local Union 14372's
(collectively “Union”) decision to abandon
plaintiff's grievance breached the Union's duty of
fair representation under his Collective Bargaining Agreement
(hereinafter “CBA”) and the LMRA. Before the
court for disposition are Ashland Foundry and the Union's
motions to dismiss plaintiff's amended complaint. For the
reasons that follow, the court will deny these motions.
instant employment action arose from plaintiff's
employment with Ashland Foundry. Plaintiff worked full-time
at Ashland Foundry, and the Union served as plaintiff's
collective bargaining representative. (Doc. 18, Am. Compl.
(hereinafter “Am. Compl.”) ¶¶ 1-3,
early January 2016, plaintiff allegedly tested positive for
amphetamines/methamphetamines. (Id. ¶ 11).
Plaintiff claims this was his first positive drug test.
(Id. ¶ 20). Plaintiff avers his positive result
arose from taking a prescription for Adderall. (Id.
¶¶ 12-13). Plaintiff provided Ashland Foundry with
proof of his prescription for Adderall. (Id. ¶
14). Ashland Foundry, however, terminated plaintiff's
employment on January 9, 2016. (Id. ¶ 15).
grieved Ashland Foundry's decision to terminate his
employment. (Id. ¶ 22). Plaintiff argued his
purported positive test resulted from a valid
prescription. (Id. ¶¶ 12-13, 19).
Alternatively, plaintiff claimed that even if his positive
test did not result from a valid prescription, Ashland
Foundry improperly terminated his employment. Specifically,
plaintiff argues that the 2003 Drug Policy, which plaintiff
asserts covered his positive drug test, prohibited Ashland
Foundry from terminating a first time offender's
employment. (Id. ¶¶ 16-21).
February 1, 2016, the Union and Ashland Foundry denied
plaintiff's grievance. (Id. ¶ 23). The
Union also informed plaintiff that it would not represent
plaintiff any further, and the Union would not arbitrate
plaintiff's grievance. (Id.) Plaintiff attempted
to arbitrate his grievance without the Union. (Id.)
The Union, however, opposed plaintiff's attempt and
refused to allow the grievance to proceed to arbitration.
response to Ashland Foundry terminating his employment and
the Union's failure to fully grieve his termination,
plaintiff filed a complaint on June 8, 2016, and an amended
complaint on September 22, 2016. Plaintiff's two-count
amended complaint avers the following claims: Count I, breach
of contract claim pertaining to the CBA against Ashland
Foundry; and Count II, breach of fair duty of representation
claim pursuant to the LMRA against the Union. Ashland Foundry
filed a motion to dismiss, or in the alternative a motion for
summary judgment, pertaining to Count I on October 27, 2016.
(Doc. 23). The Union filed a motion to dismiss Count II on
October 28, 2016. (Doc. 27). The parties have briefed the
issues, bringing the case to the present procedural posture.
plaintiff brings suit pursuant to Section 301 of the LMRA, we
have federal question jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331 (“The district courts shall have original
jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United
Foundry and the Union filed motions to dismiss
plaintiff's amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The court tests the sufficiency of
the complaint's allegations when considering a Rule
12(b)(6) motion. All well-pleaded allegations of the
complaint must be viewed as true and in the light most
favorable to the non-movant to determine whether,
“‘under any reasonable reading of the pleadings,
the plaintiff may be entitled to relief.'”
Colburn v. Upper Darby Twp., 838 F.2d 663, 665-66
(3d Cir. 1988) (quoting Estate of Bailey by Oare v. Cty.
of York, 768 F.2d 503, 506 (3d Cir. 1985)). The
plaintiff must describe “‘enough facts to raise a
reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence
of' [each] necessary element” of the claims alleged
in the complaint. Phillips v. Cty. of Allegheny, 515
F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)). Moreover, the
plaintiff must allege facts that “justify moving the
case beyond the pleadings to the next stage of
litigation.” Id. at 234-35. In evaluating the
sufficiency of a complaint the court may also consider
“matters of public record, orders, exhibits attached to
the complaint and items appearing in the record of the
case.” Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran &
Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1384 n.2 (3d Cir. 1994) (citations
omitted). The court does not have to accept legal conclusions
or unwarranted factual inferences. See Curay-Cramer v.
Ursuline Acad. of Wilmington, Del., Inc., 450 F.3d 130,
133 (3d Cir. 2006) (citing Morse v. Lower Merion Sch.
Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997)).
Foundry and the Union move to dismiss plaintiff's LMRA
claims, arguing plaintiff's allegations fail to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiff's
amended complaint asserts a “hybrid” claim under
Section 301 of the LMRA, which authorizes “[s]uits for
violation of contracts between an employer and a labor
organization representing employees in an ...