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COOL WIND VENTIL. v. SHEET METAL WORKERS
April 16, 2001
COOL WIND VENTILATION CORP., PLAINTIFFS,
SHEET METAL WORKERS INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION, LOCAL UNION NO. 28; JOHN HARRINGTON, PRESIDENT AND BUSINESS MANAGER OF LOCAL 28, SHEET METAL INDUSTRY LABOR MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE, BY ITS ADMINISTRATOR THOMAS DOHERTY; SHEET METAL AND AIR CONDITIONING CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK CITY, INC., SHEET METAL AND AIR CONDITIONING CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION OF LONG ISLAND, INC.; NELSON AIR DEVICE CORP. AND KARO SHEET METAL, INC., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wexler, District Judge.
Presently before the court are the motions of all Defendants,
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted. For the reasons set forth
below, the motion to dismiss the Labor Act claims against all
defendants other than the Union is granted. The motions are, in
all other respects, denied.
The facts forming the basis of Plaintiff's claims are set
forth in the complaint. Taking those allegations in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party (Plaintiff), as required
in the context of this motion directed to the pleadings, the
facts are as follows.
Cool Wind is a company that is engaged in the business of
designing, manufacturing and installing sheet metal duct work
used in heating, ventilating and air conditioning ("HVAC")
systems. Cool Wind is a union shop; it has a collective
bargaining agreement pursuant to which it employs members of the
International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local Union 1205 (the
Named as defendants here are: (1) the Sheet Metal Workers
International Association, Local Union No. 28 ("Local 28" or the
"Union") and its president and business manager, John Harrington
("Harrington"); (2) the Sheet Metal Industry Labor Management
Committee by its Administrator, Thomas Doherty (the
"Labor-Management Committee"); (3) the Sheet Metal and Air
Conditioning Contractors Association of New York City, Inc., a
multi-employer bargaining entity responsible for negotiation of
collective bargaining agreements between employers in New York
City and Local 28 ("SMACNA-NY"); (4) SMACNA-NYs Long Island
counterpart, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors
Association of Long Island, Inc. ("SMACNA-LI") (New York and
Long Island entities referred to collectively herein as
"SMACNA"); (5) Nelson Air Device Corp., a mechanical contractor
("Nelson") and (6) Karo Sheet Metal Corporation, a contractor
engaged in the same business as Cool Wind ("Karo").
B. The Business of Cool Wind and the Allegations of the
Cool Wind manufactures sheet metal duct work through which
heated or air conditioned air flows and is ventilated throughout
buildings. Cool Wind is sometimes employed directly by general
contractors but is more typically employed as a subcontractor to
HVAC mechanical contractors working on construction projects.
According to the allegations of the complaint the various
Defendants have conspired with each other to restrain trade and
monopolize the market for sheet metal duct work in large
construction projects in the New York, Nassau and Suffolk areas.
The specific relevant market identified in the complaint is
the design, manufacture and installation of sheet
metal duct work for heating, ventilation and air
conditioning applications in commercial buildings in
the geographical area of the City of New York and the
counties of Nassau and Suffolk, each such job costing
more than $150,000.
The factual allegations supporting Plaintiffs claims are
contained in a forty-eight page complaint and are highly
detailed. The court will not reiterate all facts alleged but
will only refer to those necessary to draw a brief description
of the conspiracy alleged.
As noted, Cool Wind has a collective bargaining agreement with
the Teamsters. It has no agreement with Local 28. Local 28 is
alleged to be the only sheet metal contractor that is associated
with the Building Trades Council of New York City (the
"Council"). According to Plaintiff, Local 28 takes the position
that its membership in the Council renders it the only union
that may perform sheet metal work in the City of New York.
Because of its membership in the Council, Local 28 is alleged to
be able to garner the support of other unions and employers to
bar Plaintiffs employees from working on construction projects
and to have Plaintiffs workers removed from such projects.
Plaintiff supports these allegations with, inter alia, a
description of a project at the United Nations Plaza in New York
City from which its employees were ousted.
In addition to alleging the existence of agreements between
Local 28 and other Council member unions, Plaintiff alleges
agreements between direct competitors employing Local 28 workers
(such as Defendant Karo) and Local 28, to exclude Cool Wind and
other non-Local 28 sheet metal contractors from the relevant
market. Plaintiff alleges a factual situation in which a Karo
principal is said to have threatened to remove his Local 28
workers from various jobs being performed for a particular
mechanical contractor unless that contractor removed Cool Wind
from the sole job it was performing for the contractor.
The complaint contains additional factual allegations. For
example, defendant SMACNY is asserted to be engaged in the
business of inducing employees of nonLocal 28 contractors to
leave their jobs in favor of Local 28 contractors. Plaintiff
also alleges the use of "target" funds, intended to combat
non-union competition, to quell competition with Plaintiff.
There are several other factual scenarios discussed in the
complaint which the court will not here discuss. Suffice it to
say that Plaintiff has tied defendants together, in one way or
another, to ...