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Jacque v. Rochester Carpenters Local Union 85

May 26, 2009

HARVEY L. JACQUE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROCHESTER CARPENTERS LOCAL UNION 85, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael A. Telesca United States District Judge

DECISION and ORDER

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Harvey L. Jacque ("Jacque"), a former member of defendant Rochester Carpenters Local Union 85 ("the Union") brings this action pursuant to the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA") and New York State law claiming that the defendant breached its duty of fair representation by failing to file and pursue a grievance on his behalf in connection with his termination from employment by an employer which was a party to a Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA") with the Union. Specifically, plaintiff, who was employed by the Rochester Convention Center Management Corporation, (the "Convention Center") and who was terminated from his employment with the Convention Center under a charge of misconduct, contends that the Union, as the sole representative and collective bargaining agent of employees employed at by the Convention Center, failed to carry out its obligation to file a grievance on his behalf and seek reinstatement of his employment.

By Decision and Order dated March 7, 2007, I dismissed plaintiff's State-law claims against all defendants on grounds that those claims are preempted by the LMRA. Accordingly, plaintiff has one remaining claim--for failure to represent--against defendant Local Union 85.

Local Union 85 now moves for summary judgment against the plaintiff on grounds that because the plaintiff failed to exhaust his Union remedies by challenging the Union's alleged failure to prosecute the grievance on his behalf, he is precluded from proceeding in this court on a claim of failure to represent. For the reasons set forth below, I grant defendant's motion for summary judgment.

BACKGROUND

The facts of this case were set forth in my March 7, 2007, Decision and Order. Specifically, plaintiff Harvey Jacque worked for the Convention Center in Rochester, New York, for an unspecified time beginning on a date prior to October 2004. As an employee of the Convention Center, plaintiff was subject to a collective bargaining agreement negotiated between the Convention Center and the defendant Union. Under the terms of the CBA, no employee could be fired from his or her employment absent "just cause."

On January 3, 2005, plaintiff was fired from his employment at the Convention center on grounds that he had violated work rules.

Jacque denies violating work rules, and contends that there was no basis for the termination of his employment. Jacque contends that certain union members made false accusations about him to Convention Center management for the purpose of getting him fired. He further claims that on January 5, 2005, he demanded from his Union Shop Chairman that a grievance be filed on his behalf. According to Jacque, the Union failed to file a grievance on his behalf, and failed to inform him that no grievance had been filed.

DISCUSSION

I. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment

Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that summary judgment "should be rendered if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." When considering a motion for summary judgment, all genuinely disputed facts must be resolved in favor of the party against whom summary judgment is sought. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, ; 127 S.Ct. 1769, 1776 (2007) . If, after considering the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, the court finds that no rational jury could find in favor of that party, a grant of summary judgment is appropriate. Scott, 550 U.S. at ; 127 S.Ct. at 1776 (citing Matsushita Elec. Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-587 (1986).

II. Plaintiff Failed to Exhaust his Union Remedies with Respect to the Union's Alleged Failure to Represent

Jacque alleges that the Union violated its obligation under the LMRA to fairly and adequately represent him in connection with his termination from employment. Specifically, he claims that the Union failed to file a grievance with the employer on his behalf ...


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