United States District Court, E.D. California
TERRY C. COOLEY, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
CALIFORNIA STATEWIDE LAW ENFORCEMENT ASSOCIATION, et al., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO
MENDEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case arises out of Plaintiff Terry Cooley's attempt to
end his union membership after the Supreme Court's
decision in Janus v. Am. Fed'n of State, Cty., &
Mun. Employees, Council 31, 138 S.Ct. 2448 (2018)
(“Janus”). Terry Cooley (“Plaintiff”
or “Mr. Cooley”), brings this putative class
action alleging the California State Law Enforcement
Association (“CSLEA” or “the Union”)
violated his constitutional rights by refusing to accept his
resignation from union membership, by continuing to deduct
union-related fees from his paycheck, and for having assessed
him the equivalent of now-impermissible agency fees. Mr.
Cooley seeks a declaratory judgment, an injunction, and a
refund of certain payments made to the Union.
and the California Association of Law Enforcement Employees
(“CALEE”; and with CSLEA, the “Union
Defendants”) move to dismiss Mr. Cooley's claims.
Union Mot., ECF No. 58. Defendant Xavier Becerra (the
“State”) moves to dismiss Mr. Cooley's claims
that California Government Code Sections 1152(a) and 1153(a)
are unconstitutional. State Mot., ECF No. 59.
reasons set forth below, this Court GRANTS the Union
Defendants' and State's motions.
FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
recitation of the primary factual allegations in this case
can be found in a prior order issued by this Court and will
not be repeated here. See Cooley v. California Statewide
Law Enf't Ass'n, No. 2:18-CV-02961-JAM-AC, 2019
WL 331170, at *1-2 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 25, 2019). In that prior
order, this Court denied Mr. Cooley's Motion for a
Preliminary Injunction, finding, among other things, that he
failed to establish a likelihood of success on the merits of
his claims. Id.; PI Order, ECF No. 42.
February 22, 2019, Mr. Cooley filed a First Amended
Class-Action Complaint (“FAC”) alleging five
declaratory judgment; (2) injunctive relief; (3) monetary
relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (4) conversion and
trespass to chattels; and (5) unjust enrichment. FAC, ECF No.
50, ¶¶ 58-68. The FAC includes additional
allegations regarding Mr. Cooley's purported union
membership application (¶¶ 27-32); allegations that
California Government Code Sections 1152(a) and 1153(a) are
unconstitutional (¶¶ 38-40); and allegations as to
certain anticipated affirmative defenses (¶¶
50-57). But the foundation of the FAC remains the same as in
the original complaint: that the Union violated Mr.
Cooley's constitutional rights by refusing to accept his
resignation and by continuing to collect money from his
paycheck. Mr. Cooley seeks a refund of all compulsory fees
paid before Janus, and all dues paid after Mr. Cooley's
attempted resignation in the wake of Janus.
Union Defendants move to dismiss the FAC in its entirety.
Union Mot., ECF No. 58. The State moves to dismiss Mr.
Cooley's claims that California Government Code Sections
1152(a) and 1153(a) are unconstitutional. State Mot., ECF No.
59. The Union Defendants join the State's motion. ECF No.
60. Mr. Cooley opposes the motions. Opp'n to Union Mot.,
ECF No. 61; Opp'n to State Mot., ECF No. 62.
Right to Resign Membership Immediately
Cooley argues that, under Janus, he has a constitutional
right to resign his union membership at his discretion and
with immediate effect. As this Court explained in its prior
order, Janus did not explicitly announce the right of
resignation Mr. Cooley seeks to enforce. PI Order at 5-6.
Janus invalidated non-consensual fees charged by unions to
nonmembers (i.e. “agency fees”). Janus, 138
S.Ct., at 2486. The relationship between unions and their
members was not at issue in Janus. Id. at 2461.
Here, unlike in Janus, Mr. Cooley voluntary agreed to become
a dues-paying member of the Union, and acknowledged
restrictions on when he could withdraw from membership. ECF
No. 50-9. Janus did not automatically undo Mr. Cooley's
agreement to be a member of the Union, nor did it render the
collective bargaining agreement's withdrawal limitation
provision unenforceable. See Cohen v. Cowles Media
Co., 501 U.S. 663, 672 (1991).
Refund of All Dues Paid Post-Janus
Cooley further contends, with his attempted resignation after
Janus, he revoked any purported consent to pay the Union and
that the Union must therefore refund to him all dues deducted
from his paycheck after he announced his desire to withdraw
from the Union. But, as this Court has previously explained,
the continued deduction of dues by the Union here does not