United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
DAVID W. TAYLOR Plaintiff,
AMERICAN POSTAL WORKERS UNION AFL-CIO PHILADELPHIA, PA AREA LOCAL 89 Defendant.
Darnell Jones, II J.
before the court is Defendant American Postal Workers Union,
AFL-CIO, Philadelphia, PA Area Local 89's (“APWU
Local”) Motion to Dismiss, or in the alternative,
Motion for Summary Judgment. Defendant's Motion shall be
treated as one for summary judgment and for the reasons that
follow, shall be granted in part and denied in part.
pro se, Plaintiff filed his original Complaint on
August 28, 2015. After several rounds of motions to dismiss,
Plaintiff filed a Third Amended Complaint in June 2016.
Defendants subsequently filed a Motion to Dismiss,
Motion to Strike, or in the Alternative, Motion for Summary
Judgment. This Court granted one portion of Defendants'
Motion, resulting in dismissal of all individually-named
defendants and APWU National from the case.
engaging in protracted discovery and mediation proceedings,
Plaintiff motioned for leave to file yet another Amended
Complaint on September 4, 2018. Said Motion was assigned to
United States Magistrate Judge Lynne A. Sitarski for
disposition, and because Defendant did not oppose
Plaintiff's Motion, Judge Sitarski granted Plaintiff
leave to amend. Plaintiff's Fourth Amended Complaint was
filed of record, followed by the instant Motion to Dismiss
for failure to state a claim “pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6) or in the alternative, for Summary Judgment pursuant
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56.” (Def.'s Br. Supp. Mot. Dismiss
1, ECF No. 129-1.) Defendant's Brief also contains a
Motion to Strike Punitive Damages. (Def.'s Br. Supp. Mot.
is an employee of the United States Postal Service and a
member of the APWU Local. (SUF ¶ 1; CSUF ¶ 1.) The
Constitution and Bylaws of the American Postal Workers Union
AFL-CIO, as amended July 25, 2014, provide in pertinent part
that “All locals and area locals will be members of
their APWE state organization under the criteria established
by the respective state constitution.” (Def.'s Mot.
Summ. J. Ex. B, Art. 20, § 1.) The constitution
applicable to the American Postal Workers Union Philadelphia
PA Area Local, AFL-CIO provides in pertinent part that
“[t]his local Union shall meet on the third Thursday of
each month, except July, August and December, at such time
and place as the Executive Board may decide.”
(Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. Ex. A, Art. XIII, §
Said constitution further provides that “[w]henever the
financial need arises, a dues increase will be recommended by
the Executive Board and must be approved by a majority vote
by secret ballot at a general membership meeting. Such action
must be in compliance with the Landrum-Griffin Law.”
(Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. Ex. A, Art. XII, § 3.)
February 19, 2015, at a general meeting held on the third
Thursday of the month,  a vote by secret ballot was held to
increase Union dues by $2.00 per pay period. (Def.'s Mot.
Summ. J. Ex. E.) On March 11, 2015, a letter was sent to all
Union members informing them of the dues increase.
(Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. Ex. E.) Plaintiff commenced a civil
action in this Court on or about August 28, 2015, challenging
the February 19, 2015 dues increase on the bases of lack of
notice to the Union members and improper voting procedures.
(SUF ¶ 8; CSUF ¶ 8.) On or about October 29, 2015,
the Union sent out a letter informing members that on
November 19, 2015, at the next General Membership Meeting,
the Union would be voting on the previously approved dues
increase of two dollars ($ 2.00) per pay period, retroactive
to U.S. Postal Pay Period 07-2015. (SUF ¶ 11, Ex. F;
CSUF ¶ 11.)
commencing suit four years ago, the parties have engaged in
extensive motion practice and Plaintiff has amended his
Complaint numerous times. Currently, Count 1 of
Plaintiff's Fourth Amended Complaint sets forth a claim
for the “Violation of Labor Management Reporting and
Disclosure Act Definitions Section 3(k) Secret Ballot by
APWU-Local.” Count 2 sets forth a claim for the
“Violation of Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure
Act Title I. Bill of Rights Section 101(a)(3)(A) by
APWU-Local.” (Fourth Am. Compl. 4-5.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
noted above, Defendant has filed the instant Motion as one
for dismissal for failure to state a claim pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), or alternatively, one for summary
judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. Rule 12(d) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a motion to dismiss
to be converted to one for summary judgment if a court
considers matters outside the pleadings. When reviewing a
motion to dismiss, “courts generally consider only the
allegations contained in the complaint, exhibits attached to
the complaint and matters of public record.”
Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus.,
998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993) (internal citations
omitted). Courts “may consider ‘legal arguments
presented in memorandums or briefs and arguments of
counsel' when deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss
without invoking Rule 56 summary judgment.”
Fastener Sys. v. MBNA Am., 48 Fed.Appx. 418, 420 (3d
Cir. 2002) (quoting Pryor v. NCAA, 288 F.3d 548, 560
(3d Cir. 2002)). Additionally, the court may consider
documents attached to the Complaint without converting a
motion to dismiss into one for summary judgment.
Pryor, 288 F.3d at 560.
case, exhibits were relied upon that were not referenced in,
or attached to, Plaintiff's Fourth Amended Complaint, and
were not of public record. As such, this Court gave Plaintiff
notice that the motion was being treated as one for summary
judgment, and provided him with additional time to respond to
the motion as such. (ECF No. 138.) Plaintiff has done so.
(ECF No. 142.)
Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a court
shall grant summary judgment “if the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there
is no genuine [dispute] as to any material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of
law.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
322 (1986); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “If the moving party
meets its burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to
go beyond the pleadings and come forward with specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Santini v. Fuentes, 795 F.3d 410, 416 (3d Cir. 2015)
(internal citations and quotation marks omitted). Therefore,
in order to defeat a motion for summary judgment, the
non-movant must establish that the disputes are both (1)
material, meaning concerning facts that will affect the
outcome of the issue under substantive law, and (2) genuine,
meaning the evidence must be such that a reasonable jury
could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
Summary judgment is mandated “against a party who fails
to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an
element essential to that party's case, and on which that
party will bear the burden of proof at trial.”
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. “At the summary
judgment stage of proceedings, courts do not ‘weigh the
evidence or make credibility determinations,' but,
instead, leave that task to the fact-finder at a later trial
if the court denies summary judgment.” Halsey v.
Pfeiffer, 750 F.3d 273, 287 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting
Petruzzi's IGA Supermarkets v. Darling-Del. Co.,
998 F.2d 1224, 1230 (3d Cir. 1993)).
asserting that a fact is genuinely disputed must support the
assertion by citing to particular parts of materials in the
record, which may include affidavits. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 56(c)(1). However, “conclusory, self-serving
affidavits are insufficient to withstand a motion for summary
judgment.” Kirleis v. Dickie, McCamey &
Chilcote, P.C., 560 F.3d 156, 161 (3d Cir. 2009) (citing
Blair v. Scott Specialty Gases, 283 F.3d 595, 608
(3d Cir. 2002)) (internal quotation marks omitted). Instead,
an affiant must set forth specific facts that reveal a
genuine issue of material fact. Id. If a party fails
to properly address another party's assertion of fact, a
court may consider the fact undisputed and grant summary
judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2)-(3); see
also Judge C. Darnell Jones II Chambers Policies and
Procedures (rev'd Dec. 2, 2016),
(“The Court will not consider any description of a fact
that is not supported by citation to the record. Statements
of Material Facts in support of or in opposition to a motion
for summary judgment must include specific and not general
references to the parts of the record that support each of
the statements, such as the title of or numbered reference to
a document, the name of a deponent and the page(s) of the
deponent's deposition, or the identity of an affidavit or
declaration and the specific paragraph relied upon. Pinpoint
citations are required.”) With this standard in mind,
this Court shall address each dispute in turn.
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