The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCAVOY
Plaintiff Patrick P. Ellis, a self-described "dissident" member of defendant Civil Service Employees Association ("CSEA"), brought suit against the union for alleged violations of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, 29 U.S.C. § 411 ("LMRDA"), seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint for failure to state a claim and an amended motion to dismiss for lack of standing. Plaintiff cross-moved for a preliminary injunction and a consolidated hearing.
The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO ("AFSCME") organization contains three levels: an international union, councils, and local unions. (Weinberg Aff. P 5 & Ex. 2.) In 1993, AFSCME consisted of fifty-nine chartered councils, five unchartered councils, 3,465 chartered local unions, 72 unaffiliated local unions, and a retiree chapter. (Am. Compl. P 7; Weinberg Ex. 2.)
pursuant to a 1978 trial affiliation agreement (the "Agreement"), AFSCME chartered defendant as a local union. (Weinberg Aff. P 9 & Exs. 3, 5.) A 1980 addendum to the Agreement (the "Addendum") rendered defendant's affiliation with AFSCME permanent. (Id. at P 11 & Ex. 4.) Despite its local charter and its "Local 1000" label, defendant appears to function as a council. (Id. at P 9; Am Compl. P 9.)
Plaintiff claims that the Agreement and Addendum violate Article IX, section 2 of the AFSCME Constitution because they create a de facto council status for defendant, even though defendant does not govern any autonomous AFSCME chartered local unions. (Am. Compl. P 18.) Defendant counters that as defendant and AFSCME entered the Agreement eighteen years ago and adopted the Addendum sixteen years ago, plaintiff's attempt to challenge their validity is time-barred. (D's Reply to P's Opp. to D's Mtn., at 9-10.) Plaintiff also alleges that defendant's de facto council status violates its members' equal rights, as guaranteed by 29 U.S.C. § 411(a)(1).
Plaintiff seeks a judgment declaring that the Agreement between defendant and AFSCME and its Addendum violate AFSCME's constitution, that defendant must operate as a local union unless and until it obtains legitimate council status by following the course prescribed in the AFSCME Constitution for doing so, and that its de facto council status violates its members' statutorily-guaranteed equal rights. He also seeks an order enjoining defendant from enforcing the Agreement, from effectuating the by-law amendment approved at the October 25 Delegate Convention, and from increasing or attempting to increase members' dues in any manner other than that specified in § 411(a)(3)(A) of the LMRDA.
The Court will address defendant's motion to dismiss before considering plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction.
Defendant moves pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 12(b)(6) to dismiss plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. For purposes of the 12(b)(6) motion, the Court construes the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 40 L. Ed. 2d 90, 94 S. Ct. 1683 (1974). The Court will only grant the motion if "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957).
2. Agreement and Addendum
To the extent that plaintiff's complaint challenges the propriety of the Agreement AFSCME and defendant entered in 1978 and the 1980 Addendum to that Agreement, plaintiff's claim is time-barred. Federal courts apply to LMRDA claims the statute of limitations that a state court within the federal court's district would apply to the most closely analogous state-law claims. Rodonich v. House Wreckers Union Local 95, 817 F.2d 967, 977 (2d Cir. 1987). The Rodonich court went on to hold that union democracy claims brought under the LMRDA should be subject to the relevant state's statute of limitations for personal injury actions. Id. at 977; see also Gilmore v. Local 295, 798 F. Supp. 1030, 1040 (S.D.N.Y. 1992) (stating that union violations of rights guaranteed by LMRDA are governed by applicable state statute of limitations for personal injury actions). New York's statute of limitations for personal injury actions is three years. N.Y. Civ. Prac. L. & R. § 214(5) (McKinney 1990). This statute of limitations renders plaintiff's claims concerning the legality of the Agreement and Addendum time-barred. ...