United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
J. PAUL OETKENl, District Judge.
Plaintiff O'Neal Woods brings this action against Defendant the District Council for New York City and Vicinity of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America ("DC"), alleging violations of Sections 101(a)(5), 102, and 609 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 ("LMRDA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 41 l(a)(5), 412, 529; Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 185; Section 8(a)(4) of the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 158(a)(4); and his contract with DC. DC moves to dismiss the Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons that follow, DC's motion is granted.
On December 5, 2011, Woods, then a member of DC, was criminally charged in New York state court with assault in the first and second degrees. (Dkt. No. 1, Complaint ¶¶ 36-37.) Because the assault charges arose from an incident that took place while Woods was on the job-one of his DC Brothers alleged that Woods "stabbed, cut, and physically battered" him- Woods also received a notice of internal union disciplinary charges. (¶¶ 38-39 (alterations omitted).) He pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges and to the union's allegations.
DC, pursuant to its constitution, convened a Trial Committee and scheduled a hearing on the disciplinary charges. The hearing took place on April 12, 2012, while the criminal charges were still pending. Accordingly, Woods's counsel (also his counsel here), requested that the hearing be postponed so that Woods could attend the hearing without prejudicing himself in the criminal proceeding. (¶¶ 42-43.) The head of the Trial Committee, Chairman Mack, denied that request. (¶¶ 46-47.) Mack held that Woods had no right to be free from self-incrimination in the disciplinary proceeding and that if he attended he would be called to testify. ( Id. ) Woods's counsel argued that his client was forced into a dilemma. Either he could forfeit his rights as a union member or he could forfeit his rights as a criminal defendant. Counsel vigorously objected to his client being forced into this dilemma and urged Mack to postpone the hearing. Nonetheless, Mack proceeded with the hearing. Woods was found guilty by a jury of union members, expelled from the union, and fined $50, 000. (¶¶ 50-51.)
Woods availed himself of the appeals process of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters ("UBC"), DC's parent union. On appeal, DC conceded that "[Mack's] statement that Brother Woods had no right to invoke his privilege against self-incrimination before the Trial Committee was incorrect." (¶ 76 (alterations omitted).) Despite this concession, DC's appellate tribunal affirmed Woods's discipline. Meanwhile, Woods's criminal prosecution continued. He testified at the criminal trial that he acted in self-defense. The jury acquitted him of all charges. (¶¶ 83-84.)
In July 2013, Woods was working a job at Pinnacle Industries II ("Pinnacle"). (¶ 88.) He claims that, in August 2013, he was told that he could not work at Pinnacle because he had been expelled from DC and because he owed DC $50, 000. (¶ 89.) He did not go to work the day after he heard this. (¶ 90.) When he did return to work, he was told that he could not work until he showed his union card. (¶ 91.) The same day, Woods filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB"). DC and Woods settled this charge, with DC agreeing to pay Woods back pay, to notify Pinnacle that it did not object to Woods's employment, and to request that Pinnacle remove any references to Woods's discharge from their records.
In May and June 2014, DC referred Woods to two jobs at Tutor Perini Building Corporation ("Tutor"). (¶¶ 102, 110.) At both of these jobs, he was told by various people that there were problems with his union membership and that he could not work. ( See generally ¶¶ 102-25.) As a result of these incidents, Woods filed two more charges with the NLRB. The Complaint does not say what became of these charges.
DC moves to dismiss the Complaint on the grounds that (1) Woods fails to plead an actionable violation of Section 101 of the LMRDA; (2) Woods fails even to allege that DC retaliated against him in violation of Section 609 of the LMRDA; (3) Woods has failed to exhaust his internal union remedies; (4) Woods's claims regarding unfair labor practices are within the exclusive competence of the NLRB; and (5) Woods's state-law claims are completely preempted by federal law.
A. Legal Standard
To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a plaintiff must plead sufficient factual allegations "to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim is plausible if the well-pleaded factual allegations of the complaint, presumed true, permit the court to "draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Moreover, "[w]here a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
B. Due Process
Woods alleges that his misconduct hearing violated his "due process" rights under Section 101 of the LMRDA, Section 301 of the LMRA, and his contractual rights secured by ...