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Vargas v. Communication Workers of America

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

October 6, 2014



EDWARD J. DAVILA, District Judge.

Presently before the court is Defendant Communication Workers of America's ("CWA") Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Daniel Vargas's ("Plaintiff") Complaint. Having carefully considered the relevant documents, the court finds this matter suitable for disposition without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-1(b). The hearing scheduled for October 10, 2014 will, therefore, be VACATED. For the reasons stated below, CWA's motion is GRANTED.


Plaintiff, pro se, alleges that he worked for AT&T for sixteen years, and was a member of the labor union Communication Workers of America ("CWA"). Dkt. No. 1-2 at 1-2. He was wrongfully terminated in 1999. Id. at 1. AT&T defamed Plaintiff, and when Plaintiff informed the CWA, the union did not stop it. Id. at 2. Plaintiff filed lawsuits in 2006 and 2007 for defamation, and he was labeled never to be rehired. Id.

In November 2009, AT&T called to do a four-month job as a technician. Id. at 2, 4. AT&T's Human Resources ("HR") did not give Plaintiff a wage credit recognizing his sixteen years of previous employment with AT&T, as required by the Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA"). Id. at 3-4. Plaintiff had submitted an employment application and it was his sixteen years of experience that made him qualified for this job. Id . After Plaintiff informed CWA representatives about the wage credit, CWA told Plaintiff that it would not file a grievance for wage credit or give him a wage credit. Id. at 3. The CBA allegedly states that wage credit will be given for prior employment. Id . Plaintiff alleges that, based on his previous experience with AT&T and CWA, it is common practice to give a wage credit even after being hired. Id . Plaintiff alleges that the HR representative did not give Plaintiff the wage credit because Plaintiff had named her on a previous National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") complaint filed in September/October 2009. Id. at 4-5. Due to the animosity against Plaintiff for his previous lawsuits and the NLRB complaint, he alleges that the HR representative retaliated against him. Id. at 5. Plaintiff alleges that when he was hired, he was very afraid because in previous occasions, he had been escorted off the property by security. Id . Thus, when he was hired, he thought that AT&T had made a mistake. Id . He worked under extreme fear believing that at any time he would be confronted by security and be told to leave. Id.

In August 2010, AT&T hired Plaintiff as a U-Verse Tech in Southern California. Id. at 3, 5. Plaintiff alleges that there was animosity because he was hired to work in Southern California instead of Northern California, even though there was a need of U-Verse technicians in Northern California. Id. at 4-5. After six months, Plaintiff was transferred to Northern California. Id. at 5. During his training in Southern California, Plaintiff was not provided with a hotel room as required by the CBA, and during his employment, he was not given a wage credit for his previous employment experience. Id. at 3, 6. When Plaintiff informed CWA representatives, CWA told Plaintiff that it would not file a grievance for the wage credit. Id. at 4, 6.

On June 21, 2013, Plaintiff refused a settlement offer accepted by CWA, returned it to CWA, and requested arbitration. Id. at 9. On March 3, 2014, Plaintiff received a statement saying that the settlement check was sent to the AT&T unclaimed property department. Id.

Plaintiff alleges that CWA breached its duty when it allied with AT&T in denying the wage credit, when it did nothing to give Plaintiff a wage credit, and when it did not investigate an AT&T trainer's bad conduct towards Plaintiff. Id. at 5, 6, 9.

Plaintiff filed a complaint against CWA in the Superior Court of County of Santa Clara on May 7, 2014. See Dkt. No. 1-2. CWA removed the case to the present court on May 30, 2014 on the grounds that the claims asserted by Plaintiff involves Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. ยง 185. See Dkt. No. 1. CWA filed the instant Motion to Dismiss on June 3, 2014. See Dkt. No. 6. Plaintiff submitted an opposition brief, and Defendant submitted a reply brief. See Dkt. Nos. 12, 14. Plaintiff then submitted a surreply. See Dkt. No. 17.

Considering the pro se complaint in its entirety, it appears that Plaintiff asserts the following claims: (1) breach of the duty of fair representation under Section 301 of the LMRA, and (2) breach of the CBA by the employer. Dkt. No. 1-2 at 1. Plaintiff appears to seek arbitration, declaratory relief, and disclosure of information from CWA and AT&T. Id. at 23-28.


Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires a plaintiff to plead each claim with sufficient specificity to "give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citation omitted). A complaint which falls short of the Rule 8(a) standard may be dismissed if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). "Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate only where the complaint lacks a cognizable legal theory or sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal theory." Mendiondo v. Centinela Hosp. Med. Ctr. , 521 F.3d 1097, 1104 (9th Cir. 2008). Moreover, the factual allegations "must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level" such that the claim "is plausible on its face." Twombly , 550 U.S. at 556-57. Pro se pleadings are to be construed liberally. Haines v. Kerner , 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Resnick v. Hayes , 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000).

When deciding whether to grant a motion to dismiss, the court generally "may not consider any material beyond the pleadings." Hal Roach Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner & Co. , 896 F.2d 1542, 1555 n.19 (9th Cir. 1990). The court must accept as true all "well-pleaded factual allegations." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). The court must also construe the alleged facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Love v. United States , 915 F.2d 1242, 1245 (9th Cir. 1988). However, the court may consider material submitted as part of the complaint or relied upon in the complaint, and may also consider material subject to judicial notice. See Lee v. City of ...

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