United States District Court, D. Wyoming
For Mikaela Dziadosz, Plaintiff: Jeffrey C Gosman, LEAD ATTORNEY, Casper, WY.
For FMC Corporation, Defendant: George E Lemich, Jonathon Isaac Aimone, LEAD ATTORNEYS, LEMICH LAW CENTER, Rock Springs, WY; George Vincent Trumbull, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, Sanibel, FL; Kasey A Meyer, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, WHEELER TRIGG O'DONNELL, Denver, CO; Michiko A Brown, Raymond W Martin, LEAD ATTORNEYS, PRO HAC VICE, WHEELER TRIGG O'DONNELL LLP, Denver, CO.
For AFL-CIO-CLC United Steelworkers of America, also known as Local 13214, Defendant: David F Evans, LEAD ATTORNEY, HICKEY & EVANS, Cheyenne, WY; Sasha Shapiro, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, UNITED STEELWORKERS, Legal Department, Pittsburgh, PA; Stefanie L Boster, LEAD ATTORNEY, Hickey & Evans, LLP, Cheyenne, WY.
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT LOCAL 13214'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT FMC'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Alan B. Johnson, United States District Judge.
The following have come before the Court for consideration: Defendant, United Steelworkers Union Local 13214's (" Defendant Local 13214") motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 64), Plaintiff's response (Doc. No. 76), and Defendant Local 13214's reply (Doc. No. 82); and Defendant FMC Corporation's (" Defendant FMC") motion for partial summary judgment (Doc. No. 66), Plaintiff's response (Doc. No. 75), and Defendant FMC's reply (Doc. No. 83). After reviewing the parties' submissions, the applicable law, and being fully advised, the Court finds that Defendant Local 13214's motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 64) should be GRANTED and that Defendant FMC's motion for partial summary judgment (Doc. No. 66) should be GRANTED for the reasons stated below.
Plaintiff Mikaela Dziadosz was employed by Defendant FMC from April or May of 2008 until November of 2011. Doc. No. 75. Defendant Local 13214 is a local union chartered by the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (" USW"). Doc. No. 65. Defendant Local 13214 and USW are engaged in representing hourly employees at Defendant FMC's facilities in Granger and Westvaco, Wyoming. Id. The USW, on behalf of Defendant Local 13214, and Defendant FMC are parties to a collective bargaining agreement that governs the terms and conditions of employment. Id. Plaintiff was a member of the Union and her employment with Defendant FMC was governed by the collective bargaining agreement. Doc. No. 67.
On the night of October 19, 2011, Plaintiff and her co-employee Corey Wold were asked by Plaintiff's supervisor to repair a coal dust leak in the crusher building. Doc. No. 75. Plaintiff and Mr. Wold repaired the leak. Id. Plaintiff and Mr. Wold claim they repaired the leak using an epoxy called " pig putty, " but they were accused of welding a patch. Id. Because of the danger of fire or explosion from coal dust, welding in the crusher building requires a permit. Id. Both Plaintiff and Mr. Wold deny welding a patch. Doc. No. 65.
On October 26, 2011, Plaintiff was first interviewed about the incident. Doc. No. 75. Plaintiff was unaware that she could be facing discipline or discharge, and was not offered Union representation. Doc. No. 65. On November 11, 2011, Plaintiff was again interviewed about the incident. Doc. No. 75. At this meeting, Leonard Wilson was present in his capacity as a shop steward. Id. On November 16, 2011, Plaintiff was called into a meeting on her day off. Doc. No. 65. Mr. Wilson as shop steward and Defendant Local 13214 President Monte Morlock were present. Id. On November 22, 2011, Plaintiff and Mr. Wold were terminated for welding in the crusher building without a permit. Id.
Within a week after Plaintiff and Mr. Wold were terminated, they met with Defendant FMC's Resident Manager to appeal their terminations. Doc. No. 65. Mr. Morlock represented them at this meeting. Id. The Resident Manager denied their appeal, and the Union immediately decided to appeal the terminations to arbitration. Id.
Through a strike process, Charles Loughran was selected to hear Plaintiff's arbitration and John Swanson was selected to hear Mr. Wold's. Id. Mr. Wold's arbitration was held on May 22, 2012, and Plaintiff's was held on May 24, 2012. Id. Mr. Morlock represented Plaintiff at her arbitration and Mr. Wold at his. Id. Arbitrator Swanson ordered Defendant FMC to reinstate Mr. Wold. Id. Arbitrator Loughran upheld Defendant FMC's termination of Plaintiff. Id.
On February 26, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Complaint alleging only a claim for relief based on a violation of the National Labor Relations Act (" NLRA") and the Labor Management Relations Act (" LMRA"). Doc. No. 1. Defendant Local 13214 filed an Answer on July 9, 2013 generally denying Plaintiff's claims and asserting affirmative defenses. Doc. No. 12. Defendant FMC filed an Answer on July 24, 2014 generally denying Plaintiff's claims and asserting affirmative defenses. Doc. No. 21.
On October 16, 2014, Plaintiff filed an unopposed motion to amend her Complaint. Doc. No. 29. Plaintiff asserted she received a right to sue letter. Id. On October 31, 2014, Plaintiff filed her Amended Complaint. Doc. No. 31. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint asserted the following against both Defendants: (1) a hybrid claim under the NLRA and the LMRA; (2) a claim of sex based discrimination under Title VII; (3) a claim of retaliatory discharge under Title VII; and (4) a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress. Id.
Defendant Local 13214 filed an Answer to the Amended Complaint on October 28, 2013, generally denying Plaintiff's claims and asserting affirmative defenses. Doc. No. 34. Also on October 28, 2013, Defendant FMC filed an Answer to the Amended Complaint similarly denying Plaintiff's claims and alleging affirmative defenses. Doc. No. 33.
On August 29, 2014, Defendant Local 13214 filed a motion for summary judgment. Doc. No. 64. Plaintiff responded to that motion on September 12, 2014. Doc. No. 76. Defendant Local 13124 filed its reply on September 19, 2014. Doc. No. 82. Also on August 29, 2014, Defendant FMC filed a motion for partial summary judgment. Doc. No. 66. Plaintiff responded to Defendant FMC's motion on September 12, 2014. Doc. No. 75. Defendant FMC filed its reply on September 19, 2014. Doc. No. 83. The Court finds that these matters are fully briefed and are ripe for disposition.
The Court will first address the arguments related to Plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against Defendant FMC. Next, the Court will address Plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against Defendant Local 13214. Finally, the Court will address the arguments related to the breach of the duty of fair representation in the hybrid claim under the NLRA and the LMRA.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Summary judgment is appropriate where " there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A dispute of fact is genuine if a reasonable juror could resolve the disputed fact in favor of either side. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). A dispute of fact is material if under the substantive law it is essential to the proper disposition of the claim. Adler v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 144 F.3d 664, 670 (10th Cir. 1998). When the Court considers the evidence presented by the parties, " [t]he evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in the non-movant's favor." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.
The party moving for summary judgment has the burden of establishing the nonexistence of a genuine dispute of material fact. Lynch v. Barrett, 703 F.3d 1153, 1158 (10th Cir. 2013). The moving party can satisfy this burden by either (1) offering affirmative evidence that negates an essential element of the nonmoving party's claim, or (2) demonstrating that the nonmoving party's evidence is insufficient to establish an essential element of the nonmoving party's claim. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A)-(B).
Once the moving party satisfies this initial burden, the nonmoving party must support its contention that a genuine dispute of material fact exists either by (1) citing to particular materials in the record, or (2) showing that the materials cited by the moving party do not establish the absence of a genuine dispute. See id . The nonmoving party must " do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus, v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). Rather, to survive a summary judgment motion, the nonmoving party must " make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of [every] element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). Further, when opposing summary judgment, the nonmoving party cannot rest on allegations or denials in the pleadings but must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine dispute of material fact for trial. See Travis v. Park City Mun. Corp., 565 F.3d 1252, 1258 (10th Cir. 2009).
When considering a motion for summary judgment, the court's role is not to weigh the evidence and decide the truth of the matter, but rather to determine whether a genuine dispute of material fact exists for trial. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. Credibility determinations are the province of the fact-finder, not the court. Id. at 255.
I. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
Plaintiff brought a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress against both Defendant Local 13214 and Defendant FMC. Doc. No. 31. Both Defendants moved for summary judgment on Plaintiff's claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress arguing that the claims are preempted by federal law, and even if the claims are not preempted, Plaintiff failed to make a showing sufficient to establish that Defendants' conduct was extreme and outrageous. Doc. Nos. 65, 67.
A. Defendant FMC is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on Plaintiff's claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The first question the Court must address is whether Plaintiff's claim of intentional infliction of emotional against Defendant FMC is preempted by federal law and if it is not preempted whether the conduct may be reasonably regarded as so extreme and outrageous as to permit recovery. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals explained, " preemption arises only when an 'evaluation of the tort claim is inextricably intertwined with consideration of the terms of the labor contract.'" Mowry v. UPS, 415 F.3d 1149, 1152 (10th Cir. 2005) (quoting Allis-Chalmers Corp. v. Lueck, 471 U.S. 202, 209, 105 S.Ct. 1904, 85 L.Ed.2d 206 (1985)). The Tenth Circuit further stated, " as long as the state-law claim can be resolved without interpreting the agreement itself, the claim is 'independent' of the agreement for § 301 pre-emption purposes." Id. (quoting Lingle v. Norge Div. of Magic Chef Inc., 486 U.S. 399, 410, 108 S.Ct. 1877, 100 L.Ed.2d 410 (1988)) (internal quotation marks omitted). The issue of whether Plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against Defendant FMC could be resolved without interpreting the collective bargaining agreement is a nuanced and difficult one.
However, if the underlying intentional infliction of emotional distress claim cannot proceed, then the Court need not address the issue of preemption. For the purposes of this Order, the Court assumes, without deciding, that Plaintiff's claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress against Defendant FMC is not preempted by federal law. The question the Court must decide then becomes whether Plaintiff has made a showing sufficient to establish extreme and outrageous conduct on the part of Defendant FMC as to permit recovery. For the reasons discussed below, the Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to make a sufficient showing to establish extreme and conduct on the part of Defendant FMC. Because the Court ...