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.

United Transportation Union v. National Railroad Passenger Corp.

December 9, 2009

UNITED TRANSPORTATION UNION AND CARMEN J. FAMULARE, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES,
v.
NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION (AMTRAK), DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Defendant-appellant National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) appealsfrom an order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York (Lawrence E. Kahn, Judge), granting plaintiffs-appellees United Transportation Union and Carmen J. Famulare's motion for summary judgment, denying defendant-appellant's motion for summary judgment, and setting aside an award issued by a special adjustment board constituted pursuant to the Railway Labor Act. The district court found that the Board failed to comply with the Railway Labor Act by upholding the termination of plaintiff-appellee Famulare. We reverse, and find that under the narrow scope of judicial review afforded to the labor board decision in this matter, the Board acted properly in issuing its award.

Reversed and Remanded.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard J. Sullivan, District Judge

Argued: April 3, 2009

Before: CABRANES and HALL, Circuit Judges, and SULLIVAN, District Judge.*fn1

National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) appealsfrom an order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York (Lawrence E. Kahn, Judge) granting United Transportation Union and Carmen J. Famulare's motion for summary judgment, denying Amtrak's motion for summary judgment, and setting aside an award issued by Public Law Board No. 6865 (the "Board"), a special adjustment board constituted pursuant to the Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. § 151 et seq. (the "RLA").*fn2

This case raises what appears to be a novel question in this Circuit involving the interpretation of the RLA and the scope of judicial review of a labor board's compliance with 45 U.S.C. § 152 Third ("§ 152 Third") under 45 U.S.C. § 153 First (q) ("§ 153 First (q)"). Put less obliquely, we must determine whether the Board failed to comply with the RLA or exceeded its jurisdiction under the RLA when it held that Amtrak was permitted to discipline an employee for conduct that occurred while that employee was functioning as a union representative. The district court found that such a holding by a labor board fails to comply with the RLA, and did not reach the jurisdictional question. For the reasons stated below, we reverse, and find both that the Board's decision complied with the RLA and that the Board acted within the proper scope of its jurisdiction.

I. BACKGROUND

Carmen J. Famulare began working as a conductor for Amtrak in 1994. At the time relevant to this case, Famulare also served as the local chairman of the United Transportation Union, the labor union authorized to represent certain classes of Amtrak employees. On February 4, 2005, Famulare represented an Amtrak employee at a disciplinary hearing, during which Famulare allegedly attempted to bribe a witness by offering free transportation on Amtrak trains between Poughkeepsie, New York, and Buffalo, New York. Amtrak subsequently charged Famulare with violating its "Service Standards for Train Service and On-Board Service Employees," as well as interfering with the contractual disciplinary process between Amtrak and the United Transportation Union. Although Famulare denied the allegations, after a formal investigation initiated by Amtrak, an Amtrak hearing officer found Famulare guilty of the alleged conduct. In so finding, the hearing officer determined that "[t]he mere suggestion that any employee of [Amtrak], while acting in the capacity as a union representative could, with complete immunity, engage in acts of bribery or dishonesty for the purpose of influencing the outcome of a disciplinary investigation is simply not tenable." J.A.8 (Decision of Hearing Officer Ronald Nies, dated March 17, 2005, Case No. 05-066). Amtrak immediately terminated Famulare's employment, effective March 17, 2005.

The United Transportation Union pursued an appeal on Famulare's behalf through binding arbitration before the Board. After reviewing the record, the Board concluded that Famulare was guilty as charged. The Board rejected the argument that Amtrak was not permitted to discipline Famulare while he was acting within the scope of his union duties, explaining that "[w]e have considered all the evidence, arguments[,] awards[,] and cases presented by the parties and conclude that significant latitude is provided to employee-representatives when functioning as such. However, that latitude falls far short of being a 'cloak of immunity,' and does not cover activities such as that involved in this case." Nat'l R.R. Passenger Corp. (Amtrak) v. United Transp. Union, Award No. 10, Case No. 24 (Mar. 9, 2006) (Johnson, Arb.).

The United Transportation Union and Famulare next appealed the Board's decision to the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, pursuant to § 153 First (q).*fn3 Ruling on cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court vacated the Board's decision, finding that the RLA "does not provide employers with any say over the conduct of the employees' representative while the representative is engaged in his or her representative capacity; in fact, the Act forbids it." United Transp. Union v. Nat'l R.R. Passenger Corp., No. 06 Civ. 503 (LEK), slip op. at 12 (N.D.N.Y. Feb. 4, 2008). Accordingly, the district court set aside the Board's award, granting the United Transportation Union and Famulare's motion for summary judgment, and denying Amtrak's motion for summary judgment. Id. at 13-14.

This appeal followed.*fn4

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

We review a grant of summary judgment under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure de novo, applying the same standard as the district court. Parks Real Estate Purchasing Group v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 472 F.3d 33, 41 (2d Cir. 2006). In a motion for summary judgment, the moving party bears the burden of showing that he or she is entitled to summary judgment. See Huminski v. Corsones, 396 F.3d 53, 69 (2d Cir. 2005). Pursuant to Rule 56(c), summary judgment is appropriate "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." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); see also Matican v. City of New York, 524 F.3d 151, 154 (2d Cir. 2008). "A dispute about a 'genuine issue' exists for summary judgment purposes where the evidence is such that a reasonable jury ...


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.