United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER RE: MOTION TO DISMISS RE: DKT. NO. 33
MARIA-ELENA JAMES United States Magistrate Judge.
before the Court is Defendant Teamsters Local 853's
(“Defendant” or “Local 853”) Motion
to Dismiss Plaintiff George Thibodeaux's
(“Plaintiff”) First Amended Complaint
(“FAC”) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure (“Rule”) 12(b)(6). Dkt. No. 33.
Plaintiff filed an Opposition (Dkt. No. 35) and Defendant
filed a Reply (Dkt. No. 36). The Court finds this matter
suitable for disposition without oral argument and VACATES
the June 29, 2017 hearing. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
78(b); Civ. L.R. 7-1(b). Having considered the parties'
positions, relevant legal authority, and the record in this
case, the Court GRANTS Defendant's Motion for the
Allegations of the FAC
almost twenty years, Plaintiff was employed as a commercial
driver of a cement mixer truck by Central Concrete Supply Co.
and was a member of Local 853. FAC ¶¶ 1, 8-9, Dkt.
No. 32. On March 7, 2013, Plaintiff was operating a cement
mixer that experienced a drum control problem, which caused a
concrete spill. Id. ¶ 14. On March 19, 2013,
Central Concrete sent Plaintiff a letter terminating his
employment “effective today . . . based on your
unacceptable behavior relative to your most current concrete
spill on March 7, 2013.” Id. ¶ 13.
Plaintiff alleges Central Concrete terminated him without
just cause. Id. ¶ 14.
Concrete, Local 853, and Plaintiff are governed by a
collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) that
prevents an employer from terminating an employee without
just cause. Id. ¶¶ 10-11. The agreement
provides that all disputes arising under the terms of the
agreement “shall be resolved” through an
escalating dispute resolution procedure. Id. ¶
12. In the first step, the dispute may be taken up with local
management at the employee's discretion; however, the
local union shall take up any formal dispute in the locality
with the employer. Id. If the union and the employer
are unable to resolve the dispute, the second step requires
the dispute to be referred to the Board of Adjustment.
Id. If the Board of Adjustment fails to resolve the
dispute, at the third step, the dispute “shall be
submitted to an impartial arbitrator upon the request of
either party.” Id.
alleges he requested Local 853 thoroughly investigate the
drum control problem, but that Local 853 failed to do so; in
particular, Local 853 failed to interview the mechanic
responsible for the truck mixer and did not obtain pertinent
maintenance records. Id. ¶¶ 16-17.
Plaintiff also requested Local 853 take up a formal dispute
with his employer; Local 853 did so. Id.
¶¶ 15, 18. When the dispute was not resolved, the
Board of Adjustment conducted a hearing on May 23, 2013.
Id. ¶¶ 18-19. Plaintiff alleges that, at
the hearing, Local 853 did not adequately present the factual
circumstances supporting his grievance “and instead
made perfunctory arguments to the effect that Thibodeaux was
a team player and wanted to work with Central
Concrete.” Id. ¶ 19. During the May 23,
2013 meeting, Dan Varela-Local 853's business agent-acted
as Chairman of the Board of Adjustment. Id. ¶
23. Varela seconded the motion to deny Plaintiff's
grievance. Id. ¶ 20. Plaintiff did not discover
that Varela denied his grievance until March 23, 2017, when
he received the meeting minutes for the May 23, 2013 meeting.
December 27, 2016, Plaintiff initiated this action in
California Superior Court against Local 853 alleging four
state law claims: breach of contract, breach of the covenant
of good faith and fair dealing, intentional
misrepresentation, and negligent misrepresentation.
See Compl., Dkt. No. 1. Defendant removed the action
to this Court, asserting the Complaint alleged a breach of
the duty of fair representation, a claim that arises under
the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), 29
U.S.C. § 151 et seq., a federal question that gives the
Court subject matter jurisdiction. See Not. of
Removal ¶ 3, Dkt. No. 1. In denying Plaintiff's
motion to remand the action, the Court found Section 301 of
the Labor Management Relations Act (“LMRA”), 29
U.S.C. § 185(a), preempted Plaintiff's claims.
See Order re: Mot. to Remand, Dkt. No. 19.
moved to dismiss the action on the ground it was barred by
the statute of limitations. See Mot. to Dismiss,
Dkt. No. 11. The Court found that Plaintiff's claims
could “be fairly characterized” as a
“hybrid” claim, to which a six-month statute of
limitations applied. Order Dismissing Compl. at 6-7, Dkt. No.
31. The Court further found the statute of limitations
started to run on or about October 16, 2013, when Defendant
notified Plaintiff “the grievance was final and binding
. . . . The union has exhausted its defense of your
termination under the [CBA].” Id. at
The Court thus granted the Motion to Dismiss, but gave
Plaintiff leave to amend to allege additional facts to show
the statute of limitations was tolled due to Defendant's
fraudulent conduct. Id. at 9. Plaintiff timely filed
the FAC, which asserts a single claim for breach of the duty
of fair representation based on Local 853's failure to
serve his interests by (1) failing to investigate the drum
problem; (2) failing to adequately present the factual
circumstances to the Board of Adjustment; (3) concealing from
Plaintiff that Varela had denied his grievance; and (4)
failing to notify Plaintiff it had not presented his
grievance to an impartial arbitrator.
8(a) requires that a complaint contain a “short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A complaint
must therefore provide a defendant with “fair
notice” of the claims against it and the grounds for
relief. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555 (2007) (internal quotations and citation omitted).
may dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) when it does not
contain enough facts to state a claim for relief that is
plausible on its face. Id. at 570. “A claim
has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). “The plausibility standard is not akin to a
‘probability requirement, ' but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Id. (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 557). “While a complaint attacked by a Rule
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual
allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the
‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment] to
relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a