Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

SHAFII v. BRITISH AIRWAYS

August 26, 1992

SEYED N. SHAFII, Plaintiff, against BRITISH AIRWAYS and INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MACHINISTS AND AEROSPACE WORKERS, AFL-CIO, DISTRICT LODGE 100, Defendants.

Bartels


The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN R. BARTELS

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

 This is an action to review an arbitration decision rendered pursuant to the Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. § 151 et. seq. ("RLA"). The plaintiff ("Shafii") seeks to amend his complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.p. 15(a) and the defendant ("British Airways") cross-moves for sanctions pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 11 and/or 28 U.S.C. § 1927 for the filing of this motion.

 I. Background

 On or about December 19, 1988, Shafii, then a reservations sales agent with British Airways, filed a charge of criminal harassment pursuant to N.Y. Penal Law § 240.28 against British Airways General Supervisor Jean Hendry in the Criminal Court of the City of New York following an argument with her. On January 3, 1989, Shafii and Hendry, who was represented by a British Airways attorney, submitted their dispute to mediation at the Queens; Mediation Center and signed a Mediation Agreement which terminated the criminal complaint. See N.Y. Jud. Law Article 21-A (McKinney 1992). The Mediation Agreement recites Shafii's promise to drop all criminal "claims" against Hendry in exchange for British Airways' promise "not to pursue any claims arising out of the case" filed by him. It also states that Shafii's dispute should be treated as a work-related grievance subject to the IAM agreement.

 On August 7, 1990, Shafii filed a Verified Petition in the U.S. District Court, Nothern District of New York, seeking to vacate the arbitration award pursuant to the RLA. The case was then transferred to this court. Shafii now seeks to add two causes of action to his complaint despite this court's statement to his counsel during a status conference that such a motion would most likely be a wasteful pretrial activity. The two proposed causes of action are the following: [1] breach of Mediation Agreement; and [2] violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981. British Airways opposes and moves for sanctions. Shafii's motion turns out to be a wasteful pretrial activity for the reasons discussed infra.

 II. Discussion

 1. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a) Standard

 "Generally, permission to amend should be freely granted . . . . [but] the court plainly has discretion . . . to deny leave to amend where the motion is made after an inordinate delay, and the amendment would prejudice the defendant." Cresswell v. Sullivan & Cromwell, 922 F.2d 60, 72 (2d Cir. 1990). While Shafii's motion to amend is made nearly two years after the filing of his Verified Petition, British Airways does not claim prejudice from this delay. Rule 15(a) also authorizes the court to "review the . . . [amended] . . . pleading for adequacy and . . . [to] . . . not allow its filing if it does not state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Ricciuti v. N.Y.C. Transit Authority, 941 F.2d 119, 123 (2d Cir. 1991). British Airways asserts that Shafii's proposed causes of action are futile and cannot survive a motion to dismiss as required under Ricciuti.

 2. Breach of Mediation Agreement

 Shafii's proposed second cause of action is premised on an imaginative interpretation of British Airways' promise not to pursue any claims arising out of his filing a criminal charge against Hendry. Shafii reads into this promise a pledge by British Airways to forbear from exercising any of its powers as employer until his work-related grievance was resolved. Even assuming arguendo that Shafii obtained such a standstill pledge through the Mediation Agreement, this court lacks jurisdiction over the cause. The reason for this holding is that RLA arbitration procedures are mandatory and provide the exclusive forum for the resolution of disputes "growing out of grievances or out of the interpretation of application of agreements concerning rates of pay, rules, or working conditions. . . ." 45 U.S.C. § 153, First (i); Conrail v. Railway Labor Executives' Assn, 491 U.S. 299, 304, 105 L. Ed. 2d 250, 109 S. Ct. 2477 91989). Shafii must seek relief exclusively through arbitration because the purported standstill provision would modify and is intertwined with operation of the employer's right to discharge an employee for cause and employee grievance procedures, both of which were previously secured through collective bargaining in the IAM agreement. *fn1" The existence, if at all, and scope of any standstill provision substantially depends on interpretation of the IAM agreement and squarely falls under the scope of § 153 First (i). See Andrews v. Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company, 406 U.S. 320, 322-325, 32 L. Ed. 2d 95, 92 S. Ct. 1562 91972); see also Hodges v. A. T. & S.F.R. Co., 728 F.2d 414, 416-17 (10th Cir. 1984), cert. den. 469 U.S. 822, 83 L. Ed. 2d 43, 105 S. Ct. 97 91984); Local 553, Transport Workers v. Eastern Air Lines, 695 F.2d 668, 673 (2d Cir. 1982).

 In contrast, Shafii's proposed § 1981 claim involves rights secured independently by a separate federal statute. While the Supreme Court has not passed on the issue, Johnson v. Railway Express Agency, Inc., 421 U.S. 454, 456-57, 44 L. Ed. 2d 295, 95 S. Ct. 1716 n.3 (1975), at least one circuit has held that the RLA does not repeal or preempt claims under § 1981. McAlester v. United Air Lines, Inc., 851 F.2d 1249, 1252-54 (10th Cir. 1988); see also Coppinger v. Metro-North Commuter R.R., 861 F.2d 33, 37 (2d Cir. 1988). Consequently, following McAlester (which is approvingly cited by the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.