United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DENYING RESPONDENT’S MOTION TO
L. NUNLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court pursuant to Respondent
Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indian’s (hereinafter
referred to as “Respondent” or
“Tribe”) Motion to Dismiss Petitioner Unite Here
International Union’s (hereinafter referred to as
“Petitioner” or “Union”) Petition to
Compel Arbitration for failure to state a claim pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (ECF Nos. 6, 2.)
For the reasons set forth below, Respondent’s Motion to
Dismiss is DENIED.
RELEVANT FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS
to Petitioner, Respondent Tribe owns and operates the Red
Hawk Casino gaming facility in El Dorado County, California.
Respondent is an employer within the meaning of Section 301
of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C §185
(“LMRA §301”). Casino employees Christopher
Garrigues and Kerry Bond were both terminated by Respondent.
Petitioner is a labor organization representing employees in
industries affecting commerce within the meaning of LMRA
§301, and represents the two employees in this matter.
Respondent has waived its sovereign immunity and its duty to
exhaust tribal remedies. (See ECF No. 2 at
¶¶ 2- 17.)
and Respondent entered into a Memorandum of Agreement
(hereafter “MOA”) on or about June 26, 2012.
Paragraph 10 of the MOA sets out procedures for resolving
disputes and provides in relevant part:
The Parties agree that any disputes over the interpretation
or application of this Agreement shall be submitted first to
mediation arranged through a mutually agreeable mediator such
as, by way of illustration only, the American Arbitration
Association. If after a minimum of 30 business days after
submission of the dispute to a mediator, a mutually
satisfactory resolution is not produced by mediation, or if
after a maximum of 15 business days a mutually agreeable
mediator is not chosen after impasse over any dispute, then
either the Tribe or the Union may submit the dispute(s) to
expedited and binding arbitration before an arbitrator
selected from the TLP. The arbitrator shall not modify, add
to or subtract from this Agreement.
(ECF No. 2 at ¶ 16.)
November 2015, Petitioner notified Respondent of a dispute
about the “interpretation of application of the MOA,
” which involved alleged violations of the MOA by
casino managers in the form of threats to employees,
surveillance, their giving instructions that employees could
not talk about Petitioner Union, and the discharge of Chris
Garrigues. (ECF No. 2 at ¶ 18.)Petitioner then submitted
the dispute to arbitration. The parties selected a mediator
and a mediation date, and agreed that issues left unresolved
after mediation would be submitted to arbitration. (ECF No. 2
at ¶¶ 19-20.) The parties ultimately agreed to
address issues beyond those originally discussed as well as
to set out the issues in non-confidential mediation briefs.
(ECF No. 2 at ¶ 22.) The mediation was held on the
agreed date of January 7, 2016 but did not result in
resolution of the dispute. (ECF No. 2 at ¶ 23.)
on January 27, 2016, respective counsel for Petitioner and
Respondent communicated regarding arbitration of the dispute.
On January 28, 2016, Respondent’s counsel agreed that
John Kagel - rather than the original meditator - would serve
as the arbitrator. (ECF No. 2 ¶¶ 25-26.) It appears
no arbitration took place, and Petitioner has now filed the
instant suit. Specifically, Petitioner seeks to “compel
the Tribe to submit to arbitration before Arbitrator Kagel
all disputes with the Union regarding interpretation or
application of the [MOA] pursuant to paragraph 10 of the
[MOA], including but not limited to disputes over the
discharges of Chris Garrigues and Kerry Bond.” (ECF No.
2 at 6.)
filed the instant Petition to Compel Arbitration on February
22, 2016. (ECF No. 2.) On March 21, 2016, Respondent filed a
Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 6.) On or about May 4, 2016,
Petitioner filed an Opposition. (ECF No. 7.) On May 12, 2016,
Respondent filed a Reply. (ECF No. 9.)
STANDARD OF LAW
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that a pleading contain
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief.” See Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009). Under notice
pleading in federal court, the complaint must “give the
defendant fair notice of what the claim … is and the
grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal quotations
omitted). “This simplified notice pleading standard
relies on liberal discovery rules and summary judgment
motions to define disputed facts and issues and to dispose of
unmeritorious claims.” Swierkiewicz v. Sorema
N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002).
motion to dismiss, the factual allegations of the complaint
must be accepted as true. Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S.
319, 322 (1972). A court is bound to give plaintiff the
benefit of every reasonable inference to be drawn from the
“well-pleaded” allegations of the complaint.
Retail Clerks Int’l Ass’n v.
Schermerhorn, 373 U.S. 746, 753 n. 6 (1963). A plaintiff
need not allege “‘specific facts’ beyond
those necessary to state his claim and the grounds showing
entitlement to relief.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570. “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that ...