Case No. 18-12191
February 22, 2019
The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s state law claims for defamation, negligence, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and the denial of his motion to remand, because his claims were preempted by Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act.
Jackson was the chairperson of a grievance committee for a steelworkers’ union. When the employer was going through a round of layoffs, Jackson tried, unsuccessfully, to use a “super-seniority” provision in the bargaining agreement to avoid being separated. Jackson filed a grievance and subsequently unfair labor practice charges. The grievance and the charges not dismissed by the NLRB were arbitrated with the employer prevailing. Jackson then filed his complaint in state court against multiple defendants alleging that a manager of U.S. Steel had spread libelous accusations that Jackson had wrongly used his position for his personal benefit and had engaged in criminal conduct. Jackson further alleged that the statements were made to harm his chances of success in the arbitration, and that the union had conspired with the employer against him. The defendants removed the case to federal court and successfully moved to dismiss the complaint.
The Eleventh Circuit, applying the
test, and examining the elements of the torts under Alabama law, concluded that each claim was properly dismissed because none of them could be resolved without reference to or interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement. Remand was also appropriately denied because the claims were preempted.
: Some of the facts for the summary were drawn from the lower court decision].