United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
ARTHUR J. CLEMENS, Jr., Plaintiff,
LOCAL ONE, SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on numerous motions filed by
pro se Plaintiff Arthur J. Clemens, Jr., and
Defendants Local One, Service Employees International Union
("Local One"), Tom Balanoff, Laura Garza, and Nancy
Cross (collectively referred to as "Defendants").
The Court has carefully read and considered every motion and
related memoranda and finds that Plaintiff has failed to
state any claim upon which relief can be granted. Because
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or in the Alternative for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 65) resolves the case in its
entirety, the other motions are denied as moot.
Arthur J. Clemens, Jr., is employed by employers who are
contracted to clean Busch Stadium in Saint Louis, Missouri
after events at the stadium. (Defs.' Statement of
Uncontroverted Material Facts ("SUMF") ¶ 2,
ECF No. 67)He is a dues-paying member of Local One,
which is a labor union representing approximately 46, 000
members in the service industry across six contiguous states.
(Id. at ¶¶ 1, 7) Defendants Tom Balanoff,
Laura Garza, and Nancy Cross are agents of Defendant Local
One and serve as president, treasurer, and vice president
respectively. (Id. at ¶ 6)
spro se Amended Complaint (ECF No. 46) asserts the
following fifteen counts against Defendants:
I. That Local One raised monthly membership dues from $37 to
$42 for the calendar year 2016 without a valid vote in
violation of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure
Act (LMRDA), 29 U.S.C. § 411(a)(3)(A);
II. That Local One raised monthly membership dues from $42 to
$47 for the calendar year 2017 through to the present without
a valid vote;
III. That Local One raised monthly membership dues from $39
to $41 for the calendar years 2009-2011 without a valid vote;
IV. That the vote to increase dues for calendar years 2016
and 2017 was conducted on a date when Plaintiff and other
union members employed at Busch Stadium were unable to attend
and no accommodation was made for them to vote absentee or by
V. That other dues-paying members of Local One have suffered
similar damages to Plaintiff in 2016 and 2017, justifying
class certification and appointment interim class counsel;
VI. That several votes be declared null and void for failure
to give sufficient notice of the relevant meetings;
VII. That Local One's policies violate its constitution
and bylaws and have obstructed his efforts to run for
president of Local One;
VIII. That Local One's payments to its chosen law firm
constitute a violation of 29 U.S.C. 481(g)'s prohibition
of using dues to promote the candidacy of an individual in
any election by preventing fair elections;
IX. That Balanoff, Garza, and Cross engaged in financial
malpractice as defined in the constitution for the
international union of which Local One is apart, Service
Employees International Union ("SEIU"), which
requires them to pay restitution and Local One to be placed
into receivership with a court-appointed trustee;
X. That Local One's policies violate SEIU's
constitution and bylaws as well as rights guaranteed under
the United States Constitution by requiring Plaintiff to
obtain over 800 signatures from dues-paying members in order
to qualify to be on the ballot for any Local-wide election;
XI. That the increases in Plaintiffs monthly membership dues
were higher than the rate formula described in Local
One's bylaws purports to establish;
XII. That other dues-paying members of Local One have
suffered similar damages to Plaintiff as alleged in Count XI,
justifying class certification and appointment of class
XIII. That, incorporating his allegations in Count VI, other
dues-paying members of Local One have been denied their right
to freedom of assembly as guaranteed by the First Amendment
to the United States Constitution;
XIV. That 29 U.S.C. § 481(c) violates his freedom of
assembly under the First Amendment to the United States
Constitution and the Court should declare it unconstitutional
in light of modern technological advances; and
XV. That 29 U.S.C. § 481(c) also violates the equal
protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Court
should declare 29 U.S.C. 481(c) unconstitutional in light of
modern technological advances.
Court has already ruled on numerous motions filed in this
case by both parties. For example, the Court denied
Plaintiffs motion for default judgment after Defendants'
initial twelve-day delay in filing their answer to the
original complaint (ECF No. 22); granted Plaintiffs Motion
for Leave to File Constitutional Challenge, which the Court
construed as a Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint
(ECF No. 45); denied Plaintiffs Motion to Disqualify Defense
Counsel (ECF No. 92); and struck a filing by Plaintiff that
wrongfully accused defense counsel of witness tampering (ECF
pending before the Court now include the following: motions
to compel filed by Plaintiff (ECF Nos. 58, 59, & 60);
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or in the Alternative for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 65); Plaintiffs Rule 23 Motion for
Class Action Status (ECF No. 69); Plaintiffs eleven separate
Motions for Summary Judgment directed at Counts I, II, III,
IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, XI, and XII respectively (ECF Nos.
71-81); Plaintiffs Motion to Depose Rebuttal Witness (ECF No.
85); Plaintiffs Motion for Reconsideration of Denial of
Plaintiff s Motion to Enjoin and Restrain Garza from the Use
of Local One, SEIU Treasury Money to Pay Legal Fees to
Defendant's chosen law firm and counsel (ECF No. 94);
Plaintiffs Motion to File out of Time Additional Exhibits and
Pleadings (ECF No. 97); Plaintiffs Motion to Expedite
Proceedings (ECF No. 100) and Defendant's Motion for
Additional Time to Respond thereto (ECF No. 101).
explained fully below, the Court finds that certain claims in
the Amended Complaint should be dismissed pursuant to Rule
12(b)(6) and that Defendants are entitled to summary judgment
on the remaining claims. Because Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss or in the Alternative for Summary Judgment (ECF No.
65) resolves the case in its entirety, the other motions are
denied as moot and are not analyzed in this Memorandum and
complaint must be dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted if the complaint fails to plead
"enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "Factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level. . . ." Id. at 555.
Courts must liberally construe the complaint in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff and accept the factual
allegations as true. See Schaaf v. Residential Funding
Corp., 517 F.3d 544, 549 (8th Cir. 2008) (stating that
in a motion to dismiss, courts accept as true all factual
allegations in the complaint); Eckert v. Titan Tire
Corp., 514 F.3d 801, 806 (8th Cir. 2008) (explaining
that courts should liberally construe the complaint in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff).
"[w]here the allegations show on the face of the
complaint there is some insuperable bar to relief, dismissal
under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate." Benton v.
Merrill Lynch & Co., 524 F.3d 866, 870 (8th Cir.
2008) (citation omitted). Courts "are not bound to
accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). When
considering a motion to dismiss, a court can "begin by
identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than
conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of
truth." Id. at 679. Legal conclusions must be
supported by factual allegations to survive a motion to
Plaintiffs claims challenging past elections
argue Plaintiffs claims purporting to challenge the validity
of past elections of Local One officers must be dismissed
because the Court lacks jurisdiction over private actions by
individual union members making such claims.
Title IV of the [LMRDA] establishes a set of substantive
rules governing union elections, . . . and it provides a
comprehensive procedure for enforcing those rules .... Any
union member who alleges a violation may initiate the
enforcement procedure. He must first exhaust any internal
remedies available under the constitution and bylaws of his
union. Then he may file a complaint with the Secretary of
Labor, who 'shall investigate' the complaint.
Finally, if the Secretary finds probable cause to believe a
violation has occurred, he 'shall . . . bring a civil
action against the labor organization' in federal
district court, to set aside the election if it has already
been held, and to direct and supervise a new election. With
respect to elections not yet conducted, the statute provides
that existing rights and remedies apart from the statute are
not affected. But with respect to an election already
conducted, '(t)he remedy provided by this subchapter . ..
shall be exclusive.'
Trbovich v. United Mine Workers of Am., 404 U.S.
528, 531 (1972). The Supreme Court has held that the
"exclusive" remedy for alleged violations of Title
IV is a lawsuit by the Secretary of Labor and § 483
"prohibits union members from initiating a private suit
to set aside an election." Trbovich, 404 U.S.
at 531 (citing Calhoon v. Harvey, 379 U.S. 134, 140
(1964)); 29 U.S.C. § 483 ("The remedy provided by
this subchapter for challenging an election already conducted
shall be exclusive.").
brings his claims related to past elections pursuant to the
"Bill of Rights" outlined in Title I of the LMRDA,
29 U.S.C. § 411. However, the precedent is clear that
"the exclusivity provision included in . . . Title IV
plainly bars Title I relief when an individual union member
challenges the validity of an election that has already been
completed." Local No. 82, Furniture & Piano
Moving, Furniture Store Drivers, Helpers, Warehousemen &
Packers v. Crowley, 467 U.S. 526, 541 (1984). Assuming
arguendo that Plaintiff exhausted the internal
remedies available under SEIU's constitution and bylaws
related to challenging past elections as he so
pleads (Am. Compl. at 46, ECF No. 46), the Court
finds that Plaintiff cannot bring a private action because
the exclusivity provision in § 483. Accordingly,
Plaintiffs claims related to the validity of past elections
contained in Counts VII, VIII, X, XIV, XV are dismissed
because the Secretary of Labor is the only entity that can
enforce such claims against labor unions under the LMRDA.
Plaintiff s constitutional ...