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.

Coakley v. Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center

United States District Court, E.D. New York

January 28, 2017

CRAIG COAKLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
KINGSBROOK JEWISH MEDICAL CENTER, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          Brian M. Cogan U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiff Craig Coakley filed this action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (“NYCRR”), and New York Labor Law (“NYLL”) in state court against his employer Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center (“Kingsbrook”), alleging overtime wage violations under both the FLSA and NYLL, uniform maintenance pay violations under the NYCRR, and wage notice violations under the NYLL. Kingsbrook removed this case from state court, invoking this Court's federal jurisdiction, specifically federal question jurisdiction because of the FLSA claim, see 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims, see 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

         Consistent with this Court's Individual Practices, the parties filed a joint letter in anticipation of the Initial Status Conference, wherein Kingsbrook additionally raised that the Labor Management Relations Act (“LMRA”) provides further basis for removal because the uniform maintenance pay claim implicates the Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) executed between Kingsbrook and plaintiff's union, 1199 SEIU. During the Initial Status Conference, the Court inquired as to whether resolution of the uniform pay claim requires interpretation of particular provisions in the CBA such that the LMRA's field preemption was triggered. The Court ordered Kingsbrook to supplement its argument regarding the LMRA in a letter and to include the applicable provisions of the CBA. Having reviewed the CBA and Kingsbrook's arguments, the Court finds that (1) interpretation of the CBA is not required, (2) the LMRA is inapplicable such that there is no federal preemption, and (3) there is no supplemental jurisdiction over the uniform pay claim. Therefore, as explained in more detail below, plaintiff's third cause of action is severed and remanded to the state court.

         BACKGROUND

         Defendant employed plaintiff for approximately 12 years as an X-Ray Technician. Plaintiff alleges that defendant failed to include shift differentials in its overtime calculations and failed to pay for all hours worked, including those beyond 40 hours per week. Specifically, plaintiff alleges that when he would perform pre- or post-shift work, defendant failed to pay for that time, which resulted in a denial of overtime pay. Further, plaintiff alleges that he worked through his unpaid lunch hour two or three times a week, for which he was also not compensated. Finally, plaintiff alleges that defendant failed to include required notices in his wage statements.

         DISCUSSION

         A court may remand a removed case to state court sua sponte and absent a motion from plaintiff if it finds its subject matter jurisdiction lacking. A motion to remand “on the basis of any defect other than lack of subject matter jurisdiction must be made within 30 days after the filing of the notice of removal under section 1446(a), ” but “[i]f at any time before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c); see also Mitskovski v. Buffalo & Fort Erie Pub. Bridge Auth., 435 F.3d 127, 133-34 (2d Cir. 2006) (citing Bender v. Williamsport Area Sch. Dist., 475 U.S. 534 (1986)). Further, analysis of subject matter jurisdiction is a particularized inquiry for each claim in a complaint. See, e.g., Hoops v. KeySpan Energy, 794 F.Supp.2d 371, 380 (E.D.N.Y. 2011). The Court finds that, in this case, remand of the third cause of action is proper for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

         I. Lack of Federal Question Jurisdiction

         If a plaintiff's state cause of action will involve substantive analysis of the text in a CBA, then the LMRA preempts the state court from determining the issue because “questions relating to what the parties to a labor agreement agreed, and what legal consequences were intended to flow from breaches of that agreement, must be resolved by reference to uniform federal law” by a federal court. Vera v. Saks & Co., 335 F.3d 109, 114 (2d Cir. 2003). The “unusual preemptive power” accorded to § 301 of the LMRA “extends to create federal jurisdiction even when the plaintiff's complaint makes no reference to federal law and appears to plead an adequate state claim.” Vera, 335 F.3d at 114 (citing Livadas v. Bradshaw, 512 U.S. 107, 122 n. 16 (1994)).

         Relevant here, the Supreme Court has extended the preemptive effect of § 301 beyond suits alleging CBA violations only:

[Q]uestions relating to what the parties to a labor agreement agreed, and what legal consequences were intended to flow from breaches of that agreement, must be resolved by reference to uniform federal law, whether such questions arise in the context of a suit for breach of contract or in a suit alleging liability in tort.

Allis-Chalmers Corp. v. Lueck, 471 U.S. 202, 211 (1985). However, “[n]ot every suit concerning employment or tangentially involving a CBA . . . is preempted by section 301.” Vera, 335 F.3d at 114. Rather, “the pre-emption rule has been applied only to assure that the purposes animating § 301 will be frustrated neither by state laws purporting to determine questions relating to what the parties to a labor agreement agreed, and what legal consequences were intended to flow from breaches of that agreement, nor by parties' efforts to renege on their arbitration promises by relabeling as tort suits actions simply alleging breaches of duties assumed in collective-bargaining agreements.” Id. at 114-15 (quoting Livadas, 512 U.S. at 122-23 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted)).

         For example, if a state sets out rules or establishes rights and obligations independent of a labor contract, as the New York legislature appeared to do here in passing the uniform maintenance pay provision, actions to enforce those independent rules, rights, or obligations would not be preempted by § 301. Id. at 115 (citing Allis-Chalmers, 471 U.S. at 212). Similarly, a state claim would not be preempted if its application required mere referral to a CBA for “information such as rate of pay and other economic benefits that might be helpful in determining the damages to which a worker prevailing in a state-law suit is entitled.” Lingle v. Norge Div. of Magic Chef, Inc., 486 U.S. 399, 413 n. 12 (1988).

         Put another way, “the bare fact that a collective-bargaining agreement will be consulted in the course of state-law litigation plainly does not require the claim to be extinguished.” Livadas, 512 U.S. at 124. Although “[t]he boundary between claims requiring ‘interpretation' of a CBA and ones that merely require such an agreement to be ‘consulted' is elusive, ” Wynn v. AC Rochester, 273 F.3d 153, 158 (2d Cir. ...


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.