United States District Court, D. Maryland
EMANUEL LAY, SR. Plaintiff,
LOCAL UNION 689 OF THE AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION, AFL-CIO Defendant.
J. MESSITTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Lay, Sr. (“Lay”) filed this action on July 16,
2018 against his former employer, the Washington Metropolitan
Area Transit Authority (“WMATA”) and his union,
Local Union 689 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, AFL-CIO
(“Local 689”), alleging breach of a collective
bargaining agreement (“CBA”) and breach of the
union's duty of fair representation. Both WMATA and Local
689 filed Motions to Dismiss. ECF Nos. 4, 9. The Court has
previously dismissed WMATA from the case. ECF No. 19.
following reasons, the Court now GRANTS
Local 689's Motion to Dismiss.
Factual and Procedural Background
November 16, 2001 and April 26, 2016, Lay worked for WMATA,
primarily as a Station Manager and Bus Operator at
WMATA's Glenmont Division. Amended Complaint
(“AC”) at ¶¶ 10-11, ECF No. 21. During
that time, he was a dues-paying member of Local 689, covered
by the collective bargaining agreement between WMATA and
Local 689. Id. at ¶¶ 11- 12.
February 2015, Lay informed his union representative, Mary
Canady, that his former girlfriend told him she planned to
fabricate allegations against him that would lead to his
dismissal from WMATA. Id. at ¶ 13. Shortly
thereafter, Lay's former girlfriend filed a complaint
with the WMATA Office of Inspector General
(“OIG”), alleging that Lay had (a) participated
in a scheme to defraud WMATA of farecard revenue for personal
gain, (b) misused other WMATA resources, and (c)
misappropriated property from WMATA's lost and found
system. Id. at ¶ 14. Under the terms of the
collective bargaining agreement Local 689 had with WMATA, Lay
was provided with a statement of the precise charges against
him on August 24, 2015. Id. at ¶ 16. Also,
beginning on August 24, 2015, Lay allegedly cooperated with
an investigation by OIG, consenting to an interview without
representation by Local 689. Id. at ¶ 19. On
September 15, 2015, however, Lay declined a request by OIG to
be re-interviewed without representation by Local 689.
Id. at ¶ 20. Lay, through counsel, attempted to
contact WMATA to discuss the investigation further, but was
unsuccessful. Id. at ¶ 21. On December 24,
2015, OIG completed its investigation of Lay. Id. at
April 20, 2016, Lay attended a meeting at the Glenmont
Division of WMATA to discuss the results of the OIG
investigation. Id. at ¶ 27. Present at the
meeting were WMATA Assistant Superintendent Dionne Truehart,
WMATA Acting Assistant Director Shanita Bowmen, WMATA
Supervisor J.D. Bright, Local 689 Shop Steward Ozzie L.
Andrews, and a representative from OIG. Id. At the
meeting, Lay was asked to address the allegations against him
but refused to discuss them without a representative from
Local 689 present. Id. at ¶ 29. The meeting
ended but was reconvened during the afternoon of April 20,
with WMATA Senior Supervisor John Bright joining the original
group. Id. at ¶ 30. Lay alleges that WMATA
representatives ignored his request that Andrews be appointed
to represent him during the meeting, and that instead WMATA
appointed Local 689 Assistant Business Agent Marlene
Flemmings-McCann to act on his behalf. Id. at ¶
31. After the appointment of Flemmings-McCann, Lay submitted
a written statement denying the allegations of fraud made
against him. Id. at ¶ 33. There was no further
meeting. On April 26, 2016, after reviewing OIG's report
of its investigation into the allegations against Lay, WMATA
terminated him from service. Id. at ¶ 34.
4, 2016, Lay filed a grievance with Flemmings-McCann,
alleging that he had been wrongfully terminated. Id.
at ¶ 35. Flemmings-McCann invoked Lay's right to
arbitration. Accordingly, pursuant to the collective
bargaining agreement for WMATA employees, hearings on
Lay's dismissal were held on February 2 and March 31,
2017. At the March 31 hearing, Lay alleges that
WMATA representatives, as well as Flemmings-McCann, prevented
one of his key witnesses, Shop Steward Andrews, from
testifying on his behalf. Id. at ¶ 40. On July
14, 2017, thereafter, he says, he contacted Flemmings-McCann
to learn of the outcome of the hearing, and Flemmings-McCann
allegedly told him she had not received notice of decision.
Id. at ¶ 41. On September 22, 2017, the
arbitration board issued its decision, affirming Lay's
termination. Id. at ¶ 42. Lay alleges he did
not receive a copy of the arbitration decision, nor did he
receive notice of the decision, nor was he advised of his
right to appeal within six months. Lay says it was not until
February 2, 2018-more than four months following the
arbitration decision-that he received a voicemail message
from Flemmings-McCann notifying him of the decision.
Id. at ¶¶ 44-45.
16, 2018, more than five months after that, Lay filed the
present action against WMATA and Local 689, alleging breach
of the collective bargaining agreement and breach of the duty
of fair representation. ECF No. 1. WMATA moved to dismiss the
Complaint on August 31, 2018, ECF No. 4, and Local 689 moved
to dismiss on September 14, 2018. ECF No. 9. On December 11,
2018, the Court dismissed WMATA from the case on the grounds
that the time for Lay to appeal the arbitration decision had
run, but deferred ruling on Local 689's Motion. ECF No.
19. Instead, the Court required Local 689 to file
supplemental briefing discussing any duty it may have had to
inform Lay of his right to appeal the adverse decision of the
arbitration board at or about the time the decision was
issued. Id. The Court also granted Lay leave to file
an Amended Complaint, which he did on December 28, 2018. ECF
No. 21. Local 689 filed the required supplement to its Motion
to Dismiss on December 31, 2018, ECF No. 22. Lay filed his
supplemental Opposition on January 10, 2019, ECF No. 23, and
Local 689 filed its supplemental Reply on January 22, 2019.
ECF No. 24.
Statute of Limitations
suit is filed pursuant to Section 301 of the Labor Management
Relations Act of 1947 (“LMRA”), which provides
for “hybrid” claims of breach of a collective
bargaining agreement against an employer and breach of the
duty of fair representation against an employee's union.
29 U.S.C. § 185, et seq. Such claims are
subject to a six-month statute of limitations. See
DelCostello v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, 462 U.S.
151, 163 (1981); Foy v. Giant Food, Inc., 298 F.3d
284, 291 (4th Cir. 2002) (citing DelCostello, 462
U.S. at 171-72.).
hybrid cause of action arises when an employee knew or should
have known that a violation of his rights occurred. See
Dement v. Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac R.R.
Co., 845 F.2d 451, 460-61 (4th Cir. 1988). The cause of
action “‘accrues at the point where the grievance
procedure has been exhausted or otherwise breaks down to the
employee's disadvantage. It is only at this point that
the employee is cognizant of any alleged breach of the duty
owed him by the union.'” Id. at 460.
(quoting Haynes v. Reynolds Metals Co., 769 F.2d
1520, 1522 (11th Cir. 1985)). However, the six-month statute
of limitations may be equitably tolled if “a defendant,
by active deception, conceals a cause of action.”
Lekas v. United Airlines, Inc., 282 F.3d 296, 301
(4th Cir. 2002). To invoke equitable tolling, a plaintiff
must show that the defendant attempted to mislead him, and
that plaintiff reasonably relied on the misrepresentation by
neglecting to file a timely action. English v. Pabst
Brewing Co., 828 F.2d 1047, 1049 (4th Cir. 1987).
present case, the statute of limitations to file suit on
Lay's hybrid claim began to run on September 22, 2017,
when the arbitration board issued its decision affirming his
termination by WMATA. Applying the DelCostello
six-month statute of limitations from that date, Lay had
until March 22, 2018 to bring his action against WMATA and
Local 689. As noted, however, Lay ...