United States District Court, D. Maryland
TEAMSTERS LOCAL No. 355 AAV INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS
SYSCO BALTIMORE, LLC
Catherine C. Blake United States District Judge
pending before the court is a motion to dismiss filed by
defendant Sysco Baltimore, LLC ("Sysco"). For the
reasons outlined below, Sysco's motion to dismiss will be
granted. Teamsters Local No. 355 ("Teamsters")
will, however, be granted leave to amend. The issues have
been briefed and no oral argument is necessary. See Local
Rules 105.6 (D. Md. 2018).
an unincorporated labor organization, represents Sysco
employees. (Compl. ¶ 3). Sysco "sells and
distributes food and food-related products."
(Id. ¶ 4). During the spring of 2016, Sysco
implemented a Distracted Driving and Electronics Policy (the
"Policy"), which prohibited employees from using
cell phones while operating company vehicles. (Id.,
Ex. 2 ["Arbitration Decision"] at 2-4, ECF No.
1-2). The Policy explicitly stated that employees who
violated the Policy would "be terminated as permissible
under applicable law." (Arbitration Decision at 4).
February 27, 2017, Sysco fired employee Daniel Kulcsar
("Kulcsar") for using his cell phone while
operating a Sysco vehicle. (Id. at 2). Kulcsar
challenged his termination in accordance with the grievance
procedure outlined in Teamster's Collective Bargaining
Agreement ("CBA"). (Id.). Because no
resolution was reached, the dispute was sent to arbitration,
as specified by the CBA. (Id. at 2, 4). The
arbitrator found Sysco had just cause to discipline Kulcsar,
but that no just cause existed for Kulcsar's termination.
(Id. at 14). The arbitrator concluded Sysco should
offer Kulcsar the next new-hire position that became
available in the warehouse associate classification in the
bargaining unit, but stated that Kulcsar would be treated as
a new hire with a "seniority date for bidding purposes
that matches the date he begins work in that
asks the court to vacate the remedial portion of the
Arbitration Decision. (Compl. ¶¶ 11-12). Teamsters
alleges the arbitrator exceeded his authority under the CBA,
disregarded the terms of the CBA, and impermissibly added to
or modified the CBA. (Id.).
ruling on a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must
"accept the well-pled allegations of the complaint as
true," and "construe the facts and reasonable
inferences derived therefrom in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff" Ibarra v. United States, 120
F.3d 472, 474 (4th Cir. 1997). "Even though the
requirements for pleading a proper complaint are
substantially aimed at assuring that the defendant be given
adequate notice of the nature of a claim being made against
him, they also provide criteria for defining issues for trial
and for early disposition of inappropriate complaints."
Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 192 (4th Cir.
2009). "The mere recital of elements of a cause of
action, supported only by conclusory statements, is not
sufficient to survive a motion made pursuant to Rule
12(b)(6)." Walters v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435,
439 (4th Cir. 2012) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). To survive a motion to dismiss, the
factual allegations of a complaint "must be enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the
assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true
(even if doubtful in fact)" Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citations
omitted). "To satisfy this standard, a plaintiff need
not 'forecast' evidence sufficient to prove the
elements of the claim. However, the complaint must allege
sufficient facts to establish those elements."
Walters, 684 F.3d at 439 (citation omitted).
"Thus, while a plaintiff does not need to demonstrate in
a complaint that the right to relief is 'probable,'
the complaint must advance the plaintiffs claim 'across
the line from conceivable to plausible.'"
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 V.S. at 570).
reviewing a motion to dismiss, the court may consider
documents attached to the complaint as exhibits. Goines
v. Valley Cmty. Servs., Bd, 822 F.3d 159, 166 (4th Cir.
2016) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c) ("A copy of a written
instrument that is anexhibit to a pleading is a part of the
pleading for all purposes.")); Philips v. Pitt Cty.
Memorial Hosp., 572 F.3d 176, 180 (4th Cir. 2009)
(citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c)). But Teamsters asks the court to
stretch this general mandate beyond its limits.
Teamsters' complaint is virtually devoid of factual
allegations-the only facts alleged are the existence of a
CBA, and a brief discussion of Kulcsar's termination.
(Compl. mi 5-10). The complaint also contains a quoted
excerpt from the Arbitration Decision. (Id.). It
then recites as legal conclusions: "the Arbitrator
exceeded the authority granted him under the terms of the
CBA; the Arbitrator evidenced a manifest disregard of the
terms of the CBA; the remedial aspects of the Decision and
Award failed to draw their essence from the CBA; the remedial
aspects of the Decision and Award were based on impermissible
additions to, subtractions from and/or modifications of the
CBA." (Id. If 12). Finally, Teamsters attached
the CBA and Arbitration Decision to the complaint as
the CBA and Arbitration Decision form the basis for
Teamsters' suit, and may augment facts alleged in the
complaint, attaching the documents does not absolve Teamsters
of the underlying duty to allege specific facts that nudge
Teamster's legal claims across the line from possible to
plausible. At minimum, a complaint must provide the defendant
"fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon
which it rests." E.l. du Pont de Nemours and Co. v.
Kolon Industries, Inc., 637 F.3d 435, 440 (4th Cir.
2011) (quoting Coleman v. Md Ct. of Apps., 626 F.3d
187, 190 (4th Cir. 2010)). Teamsters should at least briefly
identify the facts contained in the underlying documents
which plausibly support their legal conclusions: e.g., what
facts show that the Arbitration Decision "does not draw
its essence from the CBA," or what facts demonstrate
that the "Arbitrator exceeded the authority granted him
under the terms of the CBA." (Comply
court will therefore grant Sysco's motion to dismiss, but
Teamsters will be granted leave to amend the complaint.
Teamsters will have 28 days to amend the complaint.