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GHARTEY v. SAINT JOHN'S QUEENS HOSP.

September 21, 1990

JUSTINA GHARTEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SAINT JOHN'S QUEENS HOSPITAL AND LOCAL 1199, DRUG, HOSPITAL AND HEALTH CARE EMPLOYEES UNION, RWSDSU, AFL-CIO, MARY KELLY QUINN AND WINIFRED PAUL, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Nickerson, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff brought this action following her termination from employment. The defendants are Saint John's Queens Hospital (the Hospital), Local 1199, Drug, Hospital and Health Care Employees Union, RWSDSU, AFL-CIO (the Union), and two individuals, Mary Kelly Quinn and Winifred Paul.

Plaintiff, a member of the Union, alleges she was employed as a nurse by the Hospital and was involved in an altercation with Quinn, another Hospital nurse. Five days after the incident the Hospital discharged plaintiff for unprofessional behavior.

The matter went to an arbitration hearing at which Quinn and Paul, another Hospital employee, testified unfavorably to plaintiff. Thereafter the arbitrator upheld the Hospital's discharge.

This suit followed, alleging as a first claim a wrongful discharge by the Hospital and a breach of duty of fair representation by the Union. As a second and pendent claim plaintiff asserted that Quinn and Paul had intentionally interfered with her employment relationship with the Hospital in violation of state law.

By Memorandum and Order dated May 27, 1988 this court dismissed the first claim as untimely and the second claim for lack of jurisdiction.

The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the claims were timely and that this court should focus on the second claim in light of the reversal of the dismissal of the first claim. Ghartey v. St. John's Queens Hosp., 869 F.2d 160 (2d Cir. 1989).

By Memorandum and Order dated December 15, 1989, this court then dismissed the claim against Quinn and Paul under state law for tortious interference with contract, holding that neither 29 U.S.C. § 185(a) (section 301(a) of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947) nor 28 U.S.C. § 1337(a) (granting jurisdiction over actions under a federal act regulating commerce) conferred pendent party jurisdiction over Quinn and Paul in a state law claim. 727 F. Supp. 795.

Plaintiff now moves to amend her complaint to reallege the claim against Quinn and Paul and assert federal common law as a basis for jurisdiction. The Hospital applies to the court to reconsider its December ruling permitting plaintiff to seek punitive damages against the Hospital.

Familiarity with the previous decisions of this court and of the Court of Appeals is assumed.

I.

As the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recognized in Baylis v. Marriott Corp., 843 F.2d 658, 664 (2d Cir. 1988) (Baylis I), the federal courts have "the power to develop a uniform body of federal law in the process of construing and enforcing collective bargaining agreements covered by § 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act," citing Textile Workers Union v. Lincoln Mills, 353 U.S. 448, 456-57, 77 S.Ct. 912, 917-18, 1 L.Ed.2d 972 (1957). Section 301(a) extends the jurisdiction of a District Court to "suits for violation of contracts between an employer and a labor organization representing employees . . . or between any such labor organizations."

The Supreme Court has said that § 301 is not to be given a narrow reading and has directed the courts "to formulate and apply federal law to suits for violation of collective bargaining contracts." Smith v. Evening News Ass'n, 371 U.S. 195, 199, 83 S.Ct. 267, 270, 9 L.Ed.2d 246 (1962).

The Supreme Court has also held that when resolution of a state law claim is substantially dependent upon interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement that claim must either "be treated as a § 301 claim" or "dismissed as preempted by federal labor-contract law." Allis Chalmers Corp. v. Lueck, 471 U.S. 202, 220, 105 S.Ct. 1904, 1916, 85 L.Ed.2d 206 (1985). Plaintiff cannot establish the alleged tortious inducement to breach the collective bargaining agreement without establishing the meaning of that agreement and its breach by the Hospital. See Baylis v. Marriott Corp., 906 F.2d 874, 877 (2d ...


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