Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

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.


May 28, 2004.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICHARD CASEY, District Judge


Tonia Campbell originally filed this action in state Supreme Court, New York County, January 22, 2002 against the above-named defendants ("Defendants"). The case was removed to this Court on March 4, 2002. Plaintiff now moves to remand the case to state court; Defendants oppose the motion and move to dismiss the complaint in its entirety. For the reasons set forth below, the motion to remand is DENIED and the motions to dismiss are GRANTED.


  This dispute arises out of Plaintiff s employment with The Rihga Hotel and her union's representation of her with respect to a grievance against the hotel. In relation to this dispute, Plaintiff has brought suit against the following parties: Kane Kessler, P.C., the law firm that serves as labor counsel to the Hotel Association of New York City, Inc.; Lois M. Traub, an associate of Kane Kessler; Righa International ("Rihga"), doing business as The Rihga Hotel ("the Hotel"), the hotel at which Plaintiff was employed; John Quirke, Rihga's Comptroller until May 2002; Lisa Lichtenstein, Rihga's Assistant Director of Human Resources until February 2001; Marriott International ("Marriott"), a corporation that has owned and operated The Rihga Royal Hotel since about February 2001; Donna Cabibi, Marriott's Director of Human Resources at Hotel since February 2001; the Hotel and Restaurant Union, Local 6, Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees International Union, AFL-CIO ("Local 6"), a labor union representing employees performing various trades in the New York City hotel and restaurant industry; Herrick Feinstein, LLP, a law firm retained as counsel to represent Local 6 and the New York Hotel & Motel Trades Counsel, AFL-CIO, in connection with the grievance challenging Plaintiff's discharge from the Hotel; and Joseph Farelli, an attorney associated with Herrick, Feinstein, LLP, who was assigned to handle Plaintiff's grievance and arbitration against the Hotel.

  Plaintiff was employed by the Rihga Hotel until her termination on November 15, 2000. During her employment at the Hotel, Plaintiff was a member of Local 6, an affiliated local of the New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council, AFL-CIO (collectively, "the Union"). The terms and conditions of her employment were governed by a collective bargaining agreement (the "Industry-Wide Agreement" or "IWA") between the Union and the Hotel Association of New York City, Inc. ("the Association"), a multi-employer trade association representing approximately 175 hotels in the New York City area. (Traub Aff ¶ 20).

  Article 26 of the IWA contains a grievance and arbitration clause, which provides, in part:
All complaints, disputes or grievances arising between the parties hereto involving questions or interpretation or application of any clause of this Agreement, or any acts, conduct or relations between the parties, directly or indirectly, which shall not have been adjusted by and between the parties involved shall be referred to a permanent umpire known as the Impartial Chairman, and his decision shall be final and binding upon the parties.
(Traub Aff, Ex. C.)

  Article 27 of the IWA provides that the employer may discharge any employee, but that the Union has the right to question whether such discharge was for just cause. (Id.) If the dispute is not adjusted pursuant to the grievance procedure, it shall be submitted for adjudication to the Impartial Chairman pursuant to Article 26. (Id.)

  Upon Plaintiff's termination on November 15, 2000, the Union filed a grievance on Plaintiff's behalf, claiming that her discharge was not for just cause. (Traub Aff. ¶¶ 23-24.) In February 2001, several months after Plaintiff was discharged but before the date of her arbitration, Rihga sold its interest in the Hotel to Marriott. (Id. at ¶ 25.)

  An arbitration was scheduled before the Office of the Impartial Chairman for May 1, 2001. (Id. at ¶ 26.) On that date, Traub and Cabibi appeared on behalf of Rihga and Marriott, respectively, and Farelli appeared on behalf of Plaintiff. (Id. at ¶ 27-28.) Prior to the commencement of arbitration proceedings, Traub and Farelli engaged in settlement negotiations. (Id. at ¶ 30.) Pursuant to these discussions, the parties entered into a Voluntary Settlement Agreement ("Settlement Agreement"), which provided, inter alia, that Rihga would pay Plaintiff the sum of $32,500, less usual statutory deductions and that the Hotel would provide Plaintiff with a neutral letter of reference upon request by a potential employer. (Id., Ex. D.) The Agreement further contained an acknowledgment by Plaintiff that the Union had represented her fully and fairly throughout the grievance procedure, arbitration and negotiation of the Settlement Agreement. (Id.) Plaintiff claims that the Settlement Agreement contains an illegal waiver of her right to unemployment and workers compensation benefits. (See Compl. ¶¶ 14, 36.)

  On October 25, 2001, Plaintiff traveled to Philadelphia to interview for a chef de partie position at the Ritz-Carlton. (Id. ¶ 21.) After four hours with the sous chef discussing the position, Plaintiff was confident of being hired for the position. (Id. ¶ 22.) While Plaintiff was completing an application for employment, she became aware that the Ritz-Carlton was owned by and/or affiliated with Marriott. (Id. ¶ 23.) The next business day, Plaintiff contacted the sous chef to inform him that she would be unable to accept the position. (Id. ¶ 24.) Upon identifying herself, Plaintiff was "immediately aware that the Sous Chef had knowledge of her termination and Settlement Agreement." (Id. ¶ 25.) Immediately after Plaintiff's conversation with the sous chef, Plaintiff contacted her sister and requested that she call the Marriott and request an employment reference for Plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 26.) Plaintiff was informed by her sister that she had spoken to a woman named "Donna" and was told that there was no record of employment pertaining to Plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 27.) Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff called Marriott, requested the same information, and received the same response. (Id. ¶ 28.)

  Upon contacting both Marriott and the Union about the situation, Plaintiff received a written verification of employment from Ms. Cabibi. (Id. ¶ 37.) After receiving the employment verification, Plaintiff informed Marriott and the Union that the verification was insufficient to remedy their breach of contract. (Id. ¶¶ 37-39.)

  Plaintiff filed this action on January 22, 2002. Her complaint sets forth three claims: Count One asserts a claim for breach of contract; Count Two asserts a claim of fraud and deceit; and Count Three asserts a claim for defamation.


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.