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Terminalift Llc v. International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 29

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

May 17, 2013



THOMAS J. WHELAN, District Judge.

Pending before the Court is Defendant International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 29's ("Local 29") motion to dismiss Plaintiff Terminalift LLC's first and third claims for relief in the Second Amended Complaint ("SAC" [Doc. 30]). Terminalift opposes.

The Court decides the matter on the papers submitted and without oral argument. See Civ. L. R. 7.1(d.1). For the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART the motion without leave to amend [Doc. 36].


Plaintiff Terminalift is in the business of moving cargo on and off ocean-going ships and littoral vessels at the Port of San Diego (the "Port"). ( SAC, §9.) It owns specialized material-handling equipment to offload fragile and vibration sensitive heavy cargo for foreign and domestic businesses, such as 70-foot windmill blades. ( Id., § 10.) Terminalift is the only company that owns such specialized equipment for this purpose at the Port. ( Id. )

Defendant Local 29 is a labor organization whose members are employed by International Longshore and Warehouse Union signatory stevedore contractors at the Port. ( SAC, § 4.) SSA Marine is one of the signatory contractors. ( Id., § 23.)

In March 2011, Terminalift entered into a contract with Scientific Applications International Corporation ("SAIC") to, among other things, load and unload scientific equipment at the Port. ( SAC, § 17.) On April 12, 2011, Terminalift was performing work for SAIC alongside the Motor Vessel Ocean Pioneer (the "Ocean Pioneer"). ( Id., § 19.) The ship was being operated by Stabbert Maritime.

At approximately 10:00 a.m., about 150 Local 29 members picketed with signs stating, "Get Off Our Port, " and surrounded the employees of Terminalift, SAIC, Stabbert and the Ocean Pioneer, and intimidated the employees to stop working. ( SAC, § 19a, e.) Local 29 members then blocked employees' ingress and egress to the ship, and sat on SAIC's cargo and Terminalift's material-handling equipment. ( Id., § 19b, f.) Members also boarded the Ocean Pioneer without authorization, and intimidated the captain into stopping Terminalift's work. ( Id., § 19c.)

Eventually, the San Diego Harbor Police was called. ( SAC, § 20.) Then at approximately 1:00 p.m., the Port and Local 29 representatives set-up a meeting with the Ocean Pioneer's captain and SAIC. ( Id., § 21.) Local 29 told representatives of SAIC, Stabbert Maritime and the Port that it would not permit SAIC's cargo to be loaded and shipped unless SAIC reassigned the cargo handling work to a signatory contractor, thereby avoiding extra demurrage and detention charges of about $50, 000 per day. ( Id. ) As a result, SAIC hired SSA Marine to complete the cargo transfer work on the Ocean Pioneer, thereby breaching the contract with Terminalift.[1] ( Id., § 23.)

The SAC further alleges that "SSA Marine agreed with [Local 29] in or about June 2011 that only union signatory contractors" would perform Terminalift's work on windmill components. ( SAC, § 25.) SSA Marine, thereafter, allegedly notified Terminalift's windmill-related customers that they must use union labor for cargo services or there will continue to be "disruptions discharging all their windmill components at the Port...." ( Id. ) As a result, GE Energy, Gamesa Corporacion Tecnologica ("GAMESA"), Repower USA Corp., and Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas, Inc., have ceased doing business with Terminalift. ( Id., § 25.)

Finally, the SAC also alleges that Local 29 entered into an agreement with the Port to bar Terminalift from performing work for the America's Cup Yacht Race that was held in San Diego in November 2011. ( SAC, § 26.) According to Terminalift, beginning in September 2011, the Port held meetings to discuss the logistical plan to hold the race. ( Id., § 26.) As a result of the meetings, on October 13, 2011, America's Cup representatives were notified during a meeting with the Port and Local 29 that they were barred from considering Terminalift for cargo loadout and relaod, and were to only use union labor for the cargo and stevedoring services. ( Id. )

In July 2011, Terminalift filed this lawsuit in the San Diego Superior Court. Local 29 then removed the case to this Court based on federal-question jurisdiction. On November 28, 2011, Terminalift filed the FAC asserting, among other claims, violation of the Sherman Act. Local 29 then moved to dismiss the Sherman Act claims, which the Court granted with leave to amend. ( See Dismissal Order [Doc. 29].) Terminalift thereafter filed the SAC. Local 29 now seeks to dismiss the first and third claims for relief.


The Court must dismiss a cause of action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint. See Parks Sch. of Bus., Inc. v. Symington , 51 F.3d 1480, 1484 (9th Cir. 1995). A complaint may be dismissed as a matter of law either for lack of a cognizable legal theory or for insufficient facts under a cognizable theory. Balisteri v. Pacifica Police Dep't. , 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). In ruling on the motion, a court must "accept all material allegations of ...

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