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Jenkins v. Transport Workers Union

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

January 6, 2020





         The Court previously granted Defendant Transport Workers Local #234 's Motion to Dismiss, without prejudice, and signed an Order that included instructions for Pro se Plaintiff Angelique Jenkins to follow if she chose to file an amended complaint. ECF No. 19. Jenkins filed her Amended Complaint (ECF No. 20) and, now, before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), and failure to join a party under Rule 19, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(7). ECF No. 21. Jenkins did not file a response.

         Despite the Court's instruction that the "[a]mended [c]omplaint shall be a complete document that does not rely on the initial [c]omplaint or other papers filed in this case to state a claim ... [w]hen drafting the [a]mended [c]omplaint, Plaintiff should be mindful of the Court's reasons for dismissing the claims in the initial [c]omplaint as explained in the Court's Memorandum," see ECF No. 19, Jenkins' Amended Complaint, see ECF No. 20, is styled as a narrative letter to the Court. Jenkins' Amended Complaint does not include additional facts or new information. Accordingly, Jenkins has failed to correct the deficiencies in her initial complaint. Nevertheless, because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court liberally construes her pleading. Higgs v. Atty. Gen. of the U.S., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).


         In the first paragraph of Jenkins' Amended Complaint, she mentions "Title VII the Defendants [sic] Duty of Fair Representation and the Civil Rights Act of 1964." ECF No. 20 at 2. She alleges, "[i]t is the defendant's obligation to enforce the Collective Bargaining [sic]." Id. Jenkins gives a cursory recitation of the Last Chance Agreement she entered with her employer, SEPTA, and the violation that resulted in her termination. Id. According to Jenkins, the Defendant's decision to not "take [her] case to arbitration [...] [was] intentional and discriminatory because of [her] decision to run in upcoming election [sic] against them." Id. at 3.

         When liberally construing Jenkins' Amended Complaint, the Court interprets that Jenkins was party to a Last Chance Agreement and she suffered a subsequent violation that resulted in her termination. Jenkins alleges Defendant violated its duty of fair representation when it refused to pursue arbitration, which, according to Jenkins, was fixed by her candidacy in an upcoming union election.

         Defendant contends that the Amended Complaint "does nothing more than restate the allegations and arguments advanced in her dismissed Complaint." ECF No. 21-2 at 1. Defendant relies on its previous memorandum and adds an argument under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(7) that "this Court cannot compel SEPTA to arbitrate Plaintiffs termination unless SEPTA is joined as a party." Id. at 7.

         The Court dismisses Jenkins' Amended Complaint, with prejudice, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim.


         A. Standard of Review

         In evaluating "the sufficiency of a pro se complaint, the court must be mindful to construe it liberally in favor of the plaintiff." Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). The Court "accept[s] as true all allegations in plaintiffs complaint as well as all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from them, and [the court] construes them in a light most favorable to the non-movant." Tatis v. Allied Interstate, LLC, 882 F.3d 422, 426 (3d Cir. 2018) (quoting Sheridan v. NGK Metals Corp., 609 F.3d 239, 262 n.27 (3d Cir. 2010)).

         To survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), the complaint must allege enough facts to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is plausible on its face when the factual content allows the court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the alleged conduct. Id.

         On the other hand, a motion to dismiss will be granted if the plaintiff has not articulated enough facts "to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. It is not enough for a plaintiff to allege mere "labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. "The plausibility determination is 'a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common ...

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