United States District Court, S.D. New York
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
VALERIE CAPRONI United States District Judge
Stephen Davidson (“Davidson”), proceeding pro
se, appeals from three orders of the United States
Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (the
“Bankruptcy Court”): (1) denying Davidson's
proof of claim in Appellee AMR Corporation's
(“AMR”) Chapter 11 case; and (2) denying two
motions for reconsideration under Section 502(j) of the
Bankruptcy Code. Davidson's appeal of the Bankruptcy
Court's orders denying his proof of claim and first
motion for reconsideration is DISMISSED; Davidson's
appeal of the Bankruptcy Court's order denying his second
motion for reconsideration is DENIED, and that Bankruptcy
Court order is AFFIRMED.
a former American Airlines (“AA”) pilot, is
attempting to take a fourth bite at the apple on various
claims against his former employer. Davidson unsuccessfully
sought relief in Florida state court for purported civil
rights violations and tort claims. Then Davidson commenced
unsuccessful grievance procedures with AA. After those
losses, Davidson filed a proof of claim for over $16 million
in AMR's bankruptcy proceeding. The Bankruptcy Court
denied not only that proof of claim but two motions to
reconsider. This appeal followed.
The Florida State Court Action
2002, Davidson, represented by counsel, sued AA in Florida
State Court in Davidson v. American Airlines, Inc.,
No. 02-01208-CA-20. CD 23 (“Debtors'
Supplement”), Ex. C (“Complaint”). That
complaint was subsequently amended to assert four causes of
action-race discrimination and retaliation under the Florida
Civil Rights Act of 1992, Fla. Stat. 760.01
(“FCRA”), negligent hiring and supervision, and
vicarious liability for alleged physical assaults by a
training instructor. Debtors' Supplement, Ex. D
(“Amended Complaint”). The alleged physical
assaults included: (1) a kick during a captain simulator
training (“the kicking incident”); and (2) a pat
on the shoulder (“shoulder pat incident”).
Id. ¶¶ 46, 56; CD 29
(“Order”), at 2-3 & n.1-5. He also alleged
generally other acts of verbal harassment and physical
intimidation by AA flight instructors. Amended Complaint
¶¶ 47, 57.
moved for summary judgment, which the Florida State Court
granted on three of the four claims. Order at 3. The
case proceeded to trial, and the jury found in favor of AA on
the remaining retaliation claim. Id. at 3-4.
Davidson appealed to the Third District Court of Appeal for
the State of Florida, which affirmed the lower court's
decision in Davidson v. Am. Airlines, Inc., Nos.
3d07-2063, 3D07-1901, 2D08-234 (Fla. 3d Dist. Ct. App. Apr.
29, 2009). Id. at 4.
The Grievance Procedures
his loss in state court, Davidson filed a grievance pursuant
to a collective bargaining agreement between AA and the
Allied Pilots Association (“APA”), the union
representing AA pilots. Debtors' Supplement, Ex. K. In
the grievance, Davidson sought retroactive long-term
disability benefits covering the period from July 8, 1999,
through June 15, 2007, for an injury that allegedly stemmed
from the kicking incident years earlier. Debtors'
Supplement ¶ 12; id. Ex. A (“Proof of
Claim”),  Grievance Appeal Hearing Tr. 9:4-11. A
hearing was held before an AA managing director, and
Davidson's grievance was denied. Debtors' Supplement,
Ex. J. The union submitted the grievance to the
Pre-Arbitration Conference for further consideration.
Debtors' Supplement, Ex. K.
Davidson's grievance was pending further consideration,
the Bankruptcy Court approved a new collective bargaining
agreement and settlement letter between APA and AA. Bankr.
Dkt. 5800 (“Settlement Letter
Order”). The settlement letter stated, in part:
In full and complete satisfaction of any and all claims APA
has or might arguably have, on behalf of itself or the pilots
represented by APA . . . the APA Settlement Consideration
fully, finally, and completely extinguishes any and all
claims, interests, causes or demands (including any and all
pending grievances, excluding those grievances identified in
Exhibit 1) that APA has or might arguably have, on behalf of
itself or the pilots represented by APA . . . against the
Debtors arising prior to the Effective Date of this Letter of
Agreement as defined below.
Debtors' Supplement, Ex. L (“Settlement
Letter”) § 1 (emphasis added). Davidson's
grievance was not included in Exhibit 1 of the Settlement
Letter. Settlement Letter at 7. Accordingly, per the terms of
the Settlement Letter, the APA and AA agreed to extinguish
Davidson's pending grievance as part of the negotiated
global settlement agreement.
The Bankruptcy Court Proceedings
November 29, 2011, AMR and its related debtor entities,
including AA, filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition. Bankr.
Dkt. 1. On July 12, 2012, Davidson filed a proof of claim for
more than $16 million. Proof of Claim at 5. The proof of
claim included a two page letter accompanied by 190 pages of
documents. See id.
Appellees filed omnibus objections seeking to expunge
Davidson's proof of claim. Bankr. Dkt. 12048; Order at 5.
The Bankruptcy Court held a hearing during which Davidson
explained that the kicking and shoulder pat incidents, along
with another incident involving a firm handshake that
occurred between the kicking and shoulder pat incidents
(“handshake incident”), formed the basis for his
proof of claim. Bankr. Dkt. 12371 (“Hearing Tr.”)
January 28, 2015, the Bankruptcy Court expunged
Davidson's proof of claim, finding that it was barred by
res judicata on account of his prior Florida state
court action. Order at 6-11. The Bankruptcy Court also denied
Davidson's proof of claim to the extent that any portion
of it stemmed from the grievance he filed with AA, given that
Davidson's representative, the APA, had settled that
matter as part of a Court-approved global settlement
agreement with AA. Id. at 9 n.16.
made a motion to reconsider the denial of his proof of claim,
which was received by the Bankruptcy Court on February 13,
2015. CD 31. On July 10, 2015, the Bankruptcy Court denied
the motion. CD 33. Over three months later, Davidson filed a
second motion to reconsider. CD 35. On February 18, 2016, the
Bankruptcy Court denied ...