United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
BETHANY LASPINA, on behalf of herself and others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
SEIU PENNSYLVANIA STATE COUNCIL, et al., Defendants
MALACHY E. MANNION UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the court is the motion to dismiss the second amended
complaint (“SAC”), (Doc. 66), of plaintiff
Bethany LaSpina filed by defendant union SEIU Pennsylvania
State Council (“State Council”), (Doc. 53), for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) since she was not
a member of this union and, for failure to have Article III
standing to pursue class action claims on behalf of members
and former members of this union pursuant to 12(b)(1). State
Council also contends that its affiliation with the union
defendant to which she paid fees is not sufficient to confer
on plaintiff standing to sue it or to state a claim against
it. For the reasons that follow, State Council's motion
to dismiss will be GRANTED and
plaintiff's federal claims against this defendant will be
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
claims that she was unconstitutionally required to pay union
dues and, in Counts 1, 2 and 3 of her SAC, she raises federal
claims against all defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§1983. In particular, plaintiff alleges that her
First Amendment rights were violated when Local 668 continued
to take dues from her paycheck after she resigned her
membership in the union, based on the
Janus decision, and after she told her employer
(i.e., Scranton Public Library) to “halt the payroll
deduction of union-related fees.” With respect to the
union defendants other than Local 668, plaintiff alleges that
they “enforced unconstitutional agency shops before the
Supreme Court's ruling in Janus and violated the
constitutional rights of the plaintiff class members by
tapping their paychecks against their will.”
plaintiff seeks relief under the Declaratory Judgment Act, 22
U.S.C. §2201, requesting a permanent injunction
enjoining defendants from accepting dues or fees unless the
employees have given their consent to join the unions.
also raises state law claims against all defendants for
conversion, trespass to chattels, replevin, restitution, and
addition to SEIU Pennsylvania State Council, remaining
defendants in this case are Local 668, Lackawanna County
Public Library System, and Scranton Public
alleges that State Council “coordinates and unifies the
collective political, administrative, and communication
structures of all SEIU locals and districts throughout
Pennsylvania.” Plaintiff also alleges that the other
four union defendants were “affiliated with”
State Council. Additionally, plaintiff purports to bring
claims on behalf of public employee members and former
members of the defendant union affiliates of State Council
alleging that they were unconstitutionally required to pay
union dues and fair share fees. She seeks to raise First
Amendment claims and state law claims on behalf of public
employees who were allegedly forced to pay dues and fair
share fees to the defendant union affiliates of State
further purports to bring claims on behalf of all employees
in bargaining units represented by affiliates of State
Council who were subjected to union-related payroll
deductions to which they did not knowingly consent.
relief, plaintiff seeks a refund of all of the dues she paid
to Local 668. Plaintiff also seeks to require the defendant
unions to refund all dues and fees they received from her.
Additionally, plaintiff seeks punitive damages for herself
and for members of all defendant unions who resigned from the
unions or requested that the unions stop taking dues or fees
after the Janus decision and who continued to have
dues or fees withdrawn from their pay. Further, plaintiff is
seeking injunctive relief on her own behalf and behalf of
class members who were subjected to union-related payroll
deductions without their consent, and she requests the court
to enjoin “[State Council] and its affiliates from
taking money from any public employee until the union obtains
a freely given and fully informed waiver of the
employee's constitutional rights under
is proceeding on her SAC filed January 28, 2019. (Doc. 66).
On January 14, 2019, State Council filed its original motion
to dismiss. (Doc. 53).
motion to dismiss of State Council has been briefed. (Docs.
55, 74 & 78).
court has jurisdiction over this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§1331 and 28 U.S.C. §1343(a) because plaintiff
avers violations of his rights under the U.S. Constitution.
The court can exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
plaintiff's state law claims under 28 U.S.C. §1337.
Venue is appropriate in this court since the alleged
constitutional violations occurred in this district. See 28