United States District Court, E.D. California
LILIANA HERNANDEZ, MIRANDA ALEXANDER, NATASHA JOFFE, MARIA ISABEL HOLTROP, MARCO FEKRAT, EMIN GHARIBIAN, ROHIT SHARMA, HECTOR ARROYO, and TIMOTHY PORTER, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
AFSCME CALIFORNIA; AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY, AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES; AFSCME LOCAL 3299, AFSCME LOCAL 2620, and AFSCME LOCAL 3634, as individual defendants and as representatives of the class of all chapters and affiliates of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees; XAVIER BECERRA, in his official capacity as Attorney General of the State of California; ADRIA JENKINS-JONES, in her official capacity as Acting Director of the California Department of Human Resources; RALPH DIAZ, in his official capacity as Acting Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; BETTY YEE, in her official capacity as State Controller of California; PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SERVICES CORPORATION; LOS ANGELES COUNTY METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR
WILLIAM B. SHUBB, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
are employees of the State of California and brought this
action against various affiliates of the American Federation
of State, County, and Municipal Employees
(“AFSCME”) (collectively “the union
defendants”), various officials of the State of
California, the Public Transportation Services Corporation,
and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation
Authority (collectively “the state defendants”).
Plaintiffs allege that AFSCME Local 3299 and Local 2620
unlawfully deducted dues from their paychecks after they
resigned their union memberships. Before the court is the
union defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No.
Miranda Alexander, Natasha Joffe, and Maria Holtrop became
members of AFSCME Local 2620 by signing a membership
agreement that authorized their employer, the State of
California, to deduct monthly dues and remit them to the
union. (Resp. to Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. at 3; Resp. to
Defs.' SUF at 12, 14, 15 (Docket No. 94-1).) The
agreement stated that the authorization was “voluntary
and not a condition of [plaintiffs'] employment.”
(Mem. in Supp. of Summ. J, Exs. 4a, 4f, 4k, “Local 2620
Membership Agreements” (Docket No. 90).) The
authorization was “irrevocable . . . for a period of
one year from the date of execution, ”
“regardless of whether [plaintiffs] [were] or
remain[ed] a member of the Union.” (Id.)
Hector Arroyo became a member of AFSCME Local 3299 by signing
a similar membership contract. (Resp. to Defs.' SUF at 8,
¶ 23.) Arroyo's membership agreement committed
Arroyo “voluntarily to contribute” an amount
equal to membership dues for a period of one year even if
Arroyo resigned his union membership or “the law no
longer require[d] nonmembers to pay a fair share fee.”
(Mem. in Supp. of Summ. J, Ex. 2e, “Arroyo Membership
Agreement” (Docket No. 90-3).) The authorization would
renew each year unless Arroyo mailed the union a signed
revocation letter. (Id.)
Liliana Hernandez also joined AFSCME Local 3299 by signing a
membership agreement. (Resp. to Defs.' SUF at 3, ¶
10.) The agreement did not provide for a commitment to pay
dues for any set amount of time, nor did it place
restrictions on when Hernandez could revoke her dues
deduction authorization. (See Mem. in Supp. of Summ. J, Ex.
1a, “Hernandez Membership Agreement” (Docket No.
27, 2018, the Supreme Court decided Janus v. AFSCME
Council 31, 138 S.Ct. 2448 (2018), and held that no
payment to a union may be collected from an employee without
the employee's clear affirmative consent. Id. at
2486. After the Court announced its decision, plaintiffs
contacted their respective unions to resign their union
membership and halt payroll deductions of membership dues.
(Resp. to Defs.' SUF at 4, ¶ 13; 9, ¶ 26; 12,
¶ 43; 15, ¶ 50; 16, ¶ 57.) The unions
cancelled plaintiffs' memberships. (Resp. to Defs.'
SUF at 5, ¶ 18; 8, ¶ 29; 13, ¶ 45; 14, ¶
53; 15, ¶ 59.) Although plaintiffs were no longer union
members, each union continued collecting membership dues from
plaintiffs pursuant to their respective membership contracts.
filed suit and asserted claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
and California state common law. Plaintiffs concede that
plaintiff Hernandez' state common law claims fall
exclusively within the Public Employee Relations Board
jurisdiction and must be dismissed. (Resp. to Defs.' Mot.
Summ. J. at 15 (Docket No. 94).) Plaintiffs also agree that,
because the union no longer deducts dues from plaintiffs'
paychecks, plaintiffs' claims against the state
defendants for declaratory and injunctive relief are moot and
must be dismissed. (Resp. to State Defs.' Mot. for Summ.
J. at 2 (Docket No. 95).) Accordingly, the only issue before the
court is plaintiffs' claim that the continued deduction
of fees after plaintiffs resigned their union membership
violates plaintiffs' First Amendment rights, actionable
under § 1983.
Under Color of State Law
may sue under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to remedy deprivations of
rights secured by the Constitution and laws of the United
States only when that deprivation takes place “under
color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or
usage, of any State or Territory.” See Lugar v.
Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922, 924 (1982). Further,
“[b]ecause the [Fourteenth] Amendment is directed at
the States, it can be violated only by conduct that may be
fairly characterized as ‘state action.'”
Id. “Section 1983's
under-color-of-state-law requirement and the Fourteenth
Amendment's ‘state action' requirement are
closely related.” Collins v. Womancare, 878
F.2d 1145, 1148 (9th Cir. 1989). “[C]onduct satisfying
the state-action requirement of the Fourteenth Amendment
satisfies the statutory requirement of action under color of
state law.” Lugar, 457 U.S. at 935 n.18. Here,
plaintiffs must meet both requirements. Accordingly, to
determine if plaintiffs may sustain this claim under Section
1983, this court evaluates whether the conduct at issue
constitutes state action under the Fourteenth Amendment. See
Collins, 878 F.2d at 1148.
plaintiff satisfies the Fourteenth Amendment's
state-action requirement if “the conduct allegedly
causing the deprivation of a federal right [is] fairly
attributable to the State.” Lugar, 457 U.S. at 937; see
also Caviness v. Horizon Cmty. Learning Ctr., Inc.,590 F.3d 806, 812 (9th Cir. 2010). “This fair
attribution test has two components: a state policy and a
state actor.” Roudybush v. Zabel, 813 F.2d
173, 177 (8th Cir. 1987). The state policy component requires
that the deprivation be caused “by the exercise of some
right or privilege created by the State or by a rule of
conduct imposed by the state or by a person for whom the
State is responsible.” Lugar, 457 U.S. at 937. The
state actor component requires that “the party charged
with the deprivation be a person who may fairly be said to be
a state actor.” Id. Plaintiff must meet both
prongs for there to be state action. Collins v.
Womancare,878 F.2d 1145, 1151 (9th Cir. 1989). There is