The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sifton, District Judge.
This is an action filed by plaintiff, Olga Lapir, against her
former employer, defendant Maimonides Medical Center ("MMC"),
and her union, defendant Local 1199, Drug, Hospital and Health
Care Employees Union, RWDSU, AFL-CIO, pursuant to section 301
of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a).
Plaintiff's "hybrid" section 301 complaint alleges that the MMC
breached the collective bargaining agreement between the
hospital and the union by terminating plaintiff's employment
without good cause and that the union's failure to process
plaintiff's grievance through arbitration constitutes a breach
of its duty of fair representation. This matter is now before
the Court on defendants' motions for summary judgment. For the
following reasons, these motions are granted.
The following background information is essentially undisputed
except as noted Plaintiff was employed by MMC as a blood bank
technician from April 1984 until July 1987, when her employment
was terminated as a result of an incident that occurred on July
10, 1987. On that day, Lapir was working an 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
shift in the main blood bank, where her job was to cross-match
blood samples of patients with donated blood. At some point
between 5 and 7 p.m., a Dr. Stanley Sprecher came to the blood
bank requesting that special blood be set aside for his father,
who was a patient at MMC and who had undergone surgery.
Sprecher, who was not his father's doctor, identified himself
as a member of a blood donor club, Bikur Cholim, who wished to
locate some blood from this group for his father. Sprecher was
told by the blood bank desk clerk or receptionist that she was
unable to grant this request. At Sprecher's insistence, the
clerk referred the matter to the lead technician on duty, a Mr.
Bernard, who also advised Sprecher that his request could not
Although by her own admission, plaintiff at this point
concluded that, granting Dr. Sprecher's request would violate
hospital rules concerning the anonymity of donated blood and
the confidentiality of blood donors, Lapir nevertheless sent
Sprecher to the blood donor room, where lists of donors and
kept. At the donor room, Sprecher told the clerk on duty. Ms.
Lombardi, that a blood bank technician needed the Bikur Cholim
donor list. Lombardi, after some deliberation with the nurse on
duty, went to the blood bank to determine which technician
needed this list. Lapir identified herself as the technician
and took the list from the clerk. Lapir now claims that she
concluded from the fact that the blood bank had produced the
list that complying with Sprecher's request would not violate
Although in possession of the list, Lapir did not know how to
access the computer to find an available unit of Bikur Cholim
blood. According to Lapir's deposition, she and Sprecher went
to the computer room and asked the technician, Brenda Jackman,
for assistance. Jackman explained how to get a unit according
to the desired blood type. Lapir then used the list and her own
code to access the blood bank computer to get additional
information about Bikur Cholim donors who had donated recently.
Lapir then went to the blood bank refrigerator to find the
units from Bikur Cholim donors identified by the computer.
Lapir located one available unit, took the unit from the shelf,
and reserved it for the patient by placing a card on the unit
and placing it on another shelf next to three units that had
been specifically directed for the patient's use in the case of
emergency. Sprecher was present while Lapir located the unit of
According to Lapir, her assistant supervisor, Mr. Matellus, was
present in the blood bank during this entire series of events
and never told her to stop. At the same time, plaintiff
acknowledged that she never spoke to him or asked for guidance
or direction. Plaintiff's own papers give contradictory
accounts as to the duration of the entire incident.*fn1
Plaintiff was fired shortly thereafter as a result of this
incident. In an employee warning notice dated July 23, 1987,
the MMC characterized Lapir's decision to allow Sprecher to
accompany her to the computer room, to the computer, and to the
blood bank refrigerator as:
"[a] direct violation of all Blood Bank procedures as
communicated to you and all other Blood Bank personnel at
departmental meetings. Your action jeopardized the
confidentiality of our Blood Bank procedures and therefore
jeopardized our entire Blood Bank program."
The MMC's policies mandate that all blood donations be handled
in a confidential manner. Thus, when blood is collected from
donors, the donors are assigned a numerical code. This code and
the blood type and pH factor are the only identifying marks put
on the blood containers. To further enhance confidentiality,
the MMC uses a different staff member to collect the blood than
the staff member who matches and tests the blood. Blood is not
identified by the donor's name either during storage or when
given to the recipient. According to the MMC, assurances of
confidentiality are essential to elicit candid responses from
donors about their current health and past exposure to disease,
such as AIDS or syphilis.
Moreover, MMC believes that, if it could not assure the
confidentiality of donor names and test results, many current
donors would not donate.
Once donated, blood is generally stored in a common
refrigerator until needed and is not identified by race,
religion, ethnic origin or any other non-medical
classification. The MMC asserts that the policy of generally
accepting only homologous, anonymous blood and not allowing any
segregation based on race, religion or other grouping is
essential to ensure an adequate blood supply to all patients in
On June 16, 1986, MMC's blood bank adopted a written policy and
procedure to permit designated blood donations as an exception
to the general policies outlined above. The new policy dictated
that blood can only be segregated if it is either a
self-donation or a donation by a family member or friend to a
designated patient who the donor knows is in need of blood.
Called "a directed donation," such a donation exists only if at
the time of donation the donor directs that his blood be used
for that specific patient. This blood is then labeled, so as
not to be confused with the generic, "homologous" blood pool.
MMC's written procedure states that designated donors must
donate their blood at least three days prior to use and are
subject to all other routine practices of the blood bank.
According to David Bryan, the supervisor of the blood bank
during plaintiff's employment there, all blood bank employees
have been made aware of the policies with respect to blood
donor confidentiality, which have been reemphasized with the
advent of AIDS testing of all donated blood. At two meetings,
July 31, 1985 and June 30, 1987, at which Lapir was present,
these matters were called to the attention of blood bank
employees. With respect to the prohibition against sequestering
blood, Bryan also states that all blood bank employees were
informed that only blood specifically designated for a
particular patient may be set aside for that patient.
Two of Lapir's co-workers at the blood bank, Shirley Willoughby
and Emmanuel Toussaint, state that they were made aware of the
rules relating to confidentiality and designated blood either
orally or in writing by either their supervisor or director.
Toussaint confirms that Lapir was present at the July 1985
meeting at ...