RRD Wins Second Circuit Appeal in Labor Dispute Case

January 6, 2015

RRD partner Beck Fineman successfully defended Metro-North Railroad Company ("Metro-North") in the federal district court and in the Second Circuit in a case arising out of Metro-North's decision to terminate the plaintiff's employment.  Metro-North's decision was upheld by a neutral arbitrator to whom the plaintiff appealed under his collective bargaining agreement ("CBA").  The plaintiff sued Metro-North, as well as his union and his union representative.  With respect to the claims against the railroad, the plaintiff claimed that Metro-North violated the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA"), by breaching the operative CBA.  He also sought to vacate the arbitrator's award upholding the termination under theories of due process and fraud.

In 2009, a Federal Railroad Administration inspector cited the plaintiff for failing to properly conduct requisite brake tests of the passenger train he was operating.  Metro-North's investigation into this citation revealed that the plaintiff had committed this same violation on a prior occasion.  Metro-North initiated disciplinary charges against the plaintiff, the plaintiff was provided union representation and a full hearing on the matter, and the decision was made to terminate the plaintiff's employment.  The plaintiff pursued his remedies under his CBA, but was unsuccessful in reversing this second termination.

Following the briefing and oral argument, the district court found that the plaintiff's allegations, accepted as true to the extent the record permitted, did not state a viable claim, and dismissed his action in its entirety.  The plaintiff appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which declined to hear argument and issued a summary decision affirming the district court's ruling.