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Landon v. Ithaca College

United States District Court, Second Circuit

May 28, 2013

JAMES LANDON, Plaintiffs,
v.
ITHACA COLLEGE; INT'L UNION UNITED GOV'T SEC. OFFICERS OF AM.-LOCAL 507; and ROBERT HIGHTCHEW, [1] Defendants.

THE LAMA LAW FIRM, LLP LUCIANO L. LAMA, ESQ., Counsel for Plaintiff, Ithaca, NY.

JAMES M. PENDER, ESQ., MARK W. WHITNEY, ESQ., MORGAN, BROWN & JOY, LLP, Counsel for Defendants, Boston, MA.

DECISION and ORDER

GLENN T. SUDDABY, District Judge.

Currently before the Court, in this Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA") action filed by James Landon ("Plaintiff") against Ithaca College, International Union United Government Security Officers of America-Local 507 ("the Union"), and Robert Hightchew (collectively "Defendants"), is Defendant Ithaca College's motion to dismiss Count I of the Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). (Dkt. No. 7.) For the reasons set forth below, Defendant Ithaca College's motion is granted.

I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

A. Relevant Factual Allegations

Plaintiff filed a Complaint with this Court on December 5, 2012. (Dkt. No. 1 [Plf.'s Compl.].) Generally, liberally construed, Plaintiff's Complaint alleges follows.

On or about April 27, 2007, Plaintiff accepted a position with Defendant Ithaca College's Office of Public Safety as a Master Police Officer. This position was subject to a collective bargaining agreement between Defendant Ithaca College and Defendant Union. In or around April 2010, the position of Sergeant of Road patrol became vacant. Approximately six officers, including Plaintiff, applied for the position. On July 12, 2010, Plaintiff was informed that he would be promoted to Sergeant of Road Patrol. Plaintiff assumed the role of Sergeant of Road Patrol on July 19, 2010, and received compensation of an additional $3 an hour. Plaintiff was placed on the standard six-month probationary period, which he successfully completed on January 19, 2011.

At an unspecified time following Plaintiff's promotion, three other officers (who were also union members), including Defendant Hightchew, filed Grievance Number 08-11 #020 with Defendant Union, disputing this promotion. At the time of the filing Grievance Number 08-11 #020, Defendant Hightchew served as both president of Defendant Union and a representative of Defendant Union. On approximately February 17, 2012 (more than a year after Plaintiff's successful competition of probation, on January 19, 2011), Grievance Number 08-11 #020 was resolved by a Memorandum of Agreement between Defendant Ithaca College and Defendant Union. On or about February 22, 2012, Petitioner learned of, and received a copy of, this Memorandum, which provided, in pertinent part, as follows:

Robert Hightchew shall be promoted to the position of Sergeant, effective as of February 26, 2012.... James Landon shall revert to his Master Patrol Officer (MPO) position effective as of February 26, 2012 at the contractual rate of pay he would have earned had he not been promoted to Sergeant.... Mr. Landon shall receive a one time payment of $4, 500, less appropriate withholdings, to be paid in the next regular pay period following February 26, 2012.... Upon the full execution of this Memorandum of Agreement, the Union shall withdraw Grievance No. 08-11 #020 with prejudice against re-filing.

At an unspecified time after being notified of the resolution of Grievance Number 08-11 #020, Plaintiff filed a grievance with Defendant Union. (The Complaint is silent as to the resolution of Plaintiff's grievance.)

Based on these factual allegations, Plaintiff claims that Defendants violated Plaintiff's following rights in the following manner: (1) Defendant Ithaca College violated 29 U.S.C. § 158(a)(1) by breaching its collective bargaining agreement when it demoted Plaintiff from Sergeant of Road Patrol to Master Patrol Officer without justification after he had completed his probationary period without incident; (2) Defendant Union and Defendant Hightchew violated 29 U.S.C. § 158(b)(1)(A) and (B) by intentionally interfering with a contractual relationship when they ineffectively represented Plaintiff in the grievance process and unsatisfactorily settled Plaintiff's grievance to their own benefit, resulting in the dismissal of the grievance; and (3) Defendant Union violated 29 U.S.C. § 158(b)(1)(A) by breaching its duty to fairly represent its members when it devoted resources to reach a compromise with regard to Plaintiff's grievance, which injured Plaintiff and benefitted only Defendant Hightchew.

Familiarity with the factual allegations supporting these claims in Plaintiff's Complaint is assumed in this Decision and Order, which is ...


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