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Milk Wagon Drivers & Dairy Employees v. Elmhurst Dairy, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. New York

April 17, 2014

MILK WAGON DRIVERS & DAIRY EMPLOYEES, Plaintiffs,
v.
ELMHURST DAIRY, INC., et al., Defendants

Page 91

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 92

For Milk Wagon Drivers and Dairy Employees, Plaintiff: Rene Myatt, LEAD ATTORNEY, The Law Office of Rene Myatt, Hollis, NY.

For Elmhurst Dairy, Inc., Defendant: Dennis A. Lalli, Robert A. Doren, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC, New York, NY; Mark A. Moldenhauer, LEAD ATTORNEY, Bond Schoeneck & King, PLLC, Buffalo, NY.

For Local 584, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Defendant: Eugene S. Friedman, William Anspach, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Jae W. Chun, Friedman & Anspach, New York, NY.

OPINION

Page 93

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

I. Leo Glasser, Senior United States District Judge.

Plaintiffs, a group of former employees of Elmhurst Dairy, Inc. (" Elmhurst" ), bring this action against Elmhurst and Milk Wagon Drivers and Dairy Employees, Local 584, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the union representing certain employees of Elmhurst (the " Union," and together with Elmhurst, " Defendants" ), seeking to vacate the award issued in an arbitration between Elmhurst and the Union. Specifically, plaintiffs assert that Elmhurst violated its collective bargaining agreement with the Union, that the Union failed to fairly represent plaintiffs at the arbitration, and that Defendants colluded to mislead the arbitrator and manipulate the arbitration process. Currently before the court are motions from each of the Defendants to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons that follow, both of the motions are GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

I. Facts & Procedural History

Except where otherwise noted, the following facts are taken from Plaintiffs' verified petition, Dkt. No. 1. Ex. A (the " Petition" ), and other documents the Court may consider, and are accepted as true for purposes of deciding this motion. Plaintiffs are 42 former senior employees of Elmhurst and members of the Union. Petition ¶ ¶ 1-2.[1] Plaintiffs were laid off by Elmhurst on September 16, 2012. Petition ¶ 11; Award and Opinion of Arbitrator Jeffrey B. Tener, dated May 28, 2013 [Dkt. No. 16-2] (the " Arbitrator's Decision" ) at 7. The Union challenged the layoffs in arbitration for violating the seniority provisions of the collective bargaining agreement between Elmhurst and the Union (the " CBA" ). Arbitrator's Decision at 1. The arbitration resulted in a decision in favor of Elmhurst. Id. at 18.

At the heart of the Petition is Plaintiffs' allegation that Elmhurst and the Union worked together to undermine the arbitration process and render it a " charade." Petition ¶ 8. Because of this collusion, the Arbitrator's Decision " was based on wrong, inaccurate and incomplete information." Id. ¶ 29. The arbitrator accordingly failed to consider a number of relevant factors and so decided the matter incorrectly. Id. ¶ ¶ 15-17, 26-29. In support of these allegations, Plaintiffs catalog a number of " blatant inaccuracies" in the Arbitrator's Decision. Id. ¶ 13.

In addition to its conduct during the arbitration, Plaintiffs refer to a number of other instances when the Union breached its duty to fairly represent Plaintiffs, including misappropriating a clothing allowance, id. ¶ 13(i), and secretly agreeing to increase the length of the probationary period for Elmhurst employees, id. ¶ 13(o). And beyond the layoffs, Plaintiffs list additional instances of Elmhurst breaching the CBA, including leasing work to non-union subsidiaries. Id. ¶ 7.

Plaintiffs initiated this action by filing the Petition in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Queens on September 3, 2013. See Dkt. No. 1. Defendants filed a joint notice of removal in this court on September 12, 2013. Id. On October 11, ...


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