Montgomery McCracken Attorneys David Dormont and Dylan Henry Obtain Judgement in TWU, Local 234 Case
July 6, 2020
Types : Press Releases
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania entered judgment in a Duty of Fair Representation case in favor of Defendant, Transportation Workers Union, Local 234 (“Union”) and against Plaintiff, former Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (“SEPTA”) employee, Yahcob Swinton on July 1, 2020. Judge Chad F. Kenney issued a detailed 40-page Memorandum after sitting in January 2020 as the fact finder during a two-day bench trial and presiding over a three-day jury trial (which resulted in a defense jury verdict for co-Defendant SEPTA). Specifically, the Court held that “the Union made the sound decision not to proceed on Plaintiff’s behalf to binding arbitration because such an effort would be futile and costly to the Union and its members.”
Plaintiff was a bus driver and a member of the Union whose employment was terminated after he suffered non-work-related injuries and exhausted his contractual entitlement to leave. The Union filed a grievance on behalf of Plaintiff to restore his employment and then represented him as part of SEPTA’s internal grievance proceedings. Plaintiff, however, alleged that the Union breached its duty of fair representation by deciding not to arbitrate his grievance against SEPTA after his internal grievances were denied. Plaintiff further alleged that the Union acted arbitrarily, discriminatorily, or in bad faith in handling his grievance. After reviewing the trial evidence, Judge Kenney agreed with the Union, and found that the Union “did not breach its duty of fair representation because it did not act arbitrarily, discriminatorily, or in bad faith in handling Plaintiff’s grievance.” Rather than find the Union acted in in bad faith, the Court affirmatively found that the “Union’s representation of Plaintiff’s grievance was zealous, despite its reservations about the validity of Plaintiff’s claims” and that “the decision not to arbitrate Plaintiff’s case was made in accordance with the Union’s objectives to represent all of its members’ best interests in the handling of each member’s grievance.”
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