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Canner v. City of Long Beach

United States District Court, E.D. New York

April 26, 2017

JAMES CANNER, KARL HAYES, JAMES MCCORMACK, JOSE MIGUEZ, JOHN RADIN, and BENJAMIN TAYNE Plaintiffs,
v.
THE CITY OF LONG BEACH, CITY OF LONG BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT, MICHAEL TANGNEY, FRAN ADELSON, LEN TORRES, MICHAEL FAGEN, SCOTT J. MANDEL, JOHN C. MCLAUGHLIN, JACK SCHNIRMAN, STEVEN KOHUT, DEMOCRATIC CLUB OF LONG BEACH, INC., LONG BEACH DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE, PATROLMEN'S BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION OF THE CITY OF LONG BEACH, INC. a/k/a LONG BEACH POLICE BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION, INC. a/k/a CITY OF LONG BEACH PATROLMEN'S BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION INC., and STEFAN CHERNASKI, Defendants.

          Rothstein Law PLLC Attorneys for the plaintiffs Eric Edward Rothstein, Esq.

          Winget, Spadafora & Schwartzberg, LLP Attorneys for the defendant Patrolmen Benevolent Association of the City of Long Beach, Inc. Dianna D. McCarthy, Esq., Robyn Leigh Silvermintz, Esq.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Denis R. Hurley Unites States District Judge

         Plaintiffs James Canner, Karl Hayes, James McCormack, Jose Miguez, John Radin, and Benjamin Tayne, (collectively “plaintiffs”) commenced this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that defendants the City of Long Beach, Michael Tangney, Fran Adelson, Len Torres, Michael Fagen, Scott J. Mandel, and Jack Schnirman (“Municipal Defendants” or “City Defendants”) violated their rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution by retaliating against them based on their political affiliation. Additionally, plaintiffs asserted a New York state duty of fair representation (“DFR”) claim against the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (“the Union” or “the PBA” or “defendant”) and Stefan Chernaski, its president at all relevant times.

         As a result of prior orders in this case and subsequent settlements between the parties, the only remaining claims in this action are the plaintiffs' DFR claims against the PBA. Presently before the Court is the PBA's motion to dismiss those claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 12(b)(1) and Rule 12(c). For the reasons set forth below, the PBA's motion to dismiss is granted.

         BACKGROUND

         The Court assumes familiarity with the facts of this case as set forth in its prior orders.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Legal Standard

         “A case is properly dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) when the district court lacks the statutory or constitutional power to adjudicate it.” Makarova v. United States, 201 F.3d 110, 113 (2d Cir. 2000). “The party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the burden of proving facts to establish that jurisdiction.” Linardos v. Fortuna, 157 F.3d 945, 947 (2d Cir. 1998). “In resolving a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the Court may consider affidavits and other materials beyond the pleadings to resolve jurisdictional questions.” Cunningham v. Bank of New York Mellon, N.A., 2015 WL 4101839, *1 (E.D.N.Y. July 8, 2015) (citing Morrison v. Nat'l Australia Bank, Ltd., 547 F.3d 167, 170 (2d Cir. 2008)).

         The standard for evaluating a motion for judgment on the pleadings, pursuant to Rule 12(c), is the same as the standard for a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). See Karedes v. Ackerley Group, Inc., 423 F.3d 107, 113 (2d Cir. 2005). In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court applies a “plausibility standard, ” which is guided by “[t]wo working principles.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007); accord Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 71-72 (2d Cir. 2009). First, although the Court must accept all allegations as true, this “tenet” is “inapplicable to legal conclusions;” thus, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; accord Harris, 572 F.3d at 72. Second, only complaints that state a “plausible claim for relief” can survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Determining whether a complaint does so is “a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id.; accord Harris, 572 F.3d at 72.

         In making its determination, the Court is confined to “the allegations contained within the four corners of [the] complaint.” Pani v. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, 152 F.3d 67, 71 (2d Cir. 1998). However, this has been interpreted broadly to include any document attached to the complaint, any statements or documents incorporated in the complaint by reference, any document on which the complaint heavily relies, and anything of which judicial notice may be taken. See Chambers v. Time Warner, Inc., 282 F.3d 147, 152-53 (2d Cir. 2002) (citations omitted); Kramer v. Time Warner Inc., 937 F.2d 767, 773 (2d Cir. 1991).

         II. Plaintiffs' Duty of Fair Representation Claims

         A. Supplemental Jurisdiction ...


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