APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS. Hon. Rya W. Zobel , U.S. District Judge.
Christopher J. Trombetta for appellant.
Christopher J. Campbell, with whom Jackson Lewis P.C. was on brief, for appellee.
Before Lynch, Chief Judge, Howard and Kayatta, Circuit Judges.
HOWARD, Circuit Judge.
After Thomas Locke, a U.S. Airways mechanic at Logan International Airport, was discovered pilfering company property, he entered into a " Last Chance Agreement" with U.S. Airways. Locke's " last chance" at continued employment failed to materialize, however, after Logan Airport authorities denied his application for renewal of his security badge. Locke now appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment on his claim that U.S. Airways breached the Last Chance Agreement by influencing the airport's decision to deny his badge and by preventing him from transferring to Philadelphia International Airport. Finding no triable basis for these contentions in the record, we affirm.
In August 2009, U.S. Airways received phone calls reporting ongoing theft from its aircraft and identifying Locke as the culprit. Michael Bashar, U.S. Airways' station director at Logan Airport, responded by enlisting the assistance of the Massachusetts State Police. The State Police conducted surveillance outside the U.S. Airways hangar, and on September 18, 2009, observed Locke exiting the hangar while carrying a large trash bag and a cooler. Two officers stopped Locke in the parking lot, and Locke agreed to accompany them to the police barracks. After reading Locke his Miranda rights, the police interviewed him and searched the cooler and trash bag, finding sodas, beers, sandwiches, soap, toilet paper, and several other items taken from aircraft. Locke admitted to filching the items. The officers released Locke but retained his security badge, which granted him access to secure areas of Logan Airport.
Later that evening, Locke called his supervisor, Robert Andrews, and informed him that the State Police had caught him taking items from aircraft and had confiscated his security badge. The following Monday, September 21, Andrews told his supervisor, Nelson Conarroe (the Regional Director of Technical Operations), about the incident, and suspended Locke pending further investigation.
The airline had little time to investigate, however. Under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement between U.S. Airways
and the International Association of Machinists, U.S. Airways was obligated to make a disciplinary decision within five days of the underlying incident -- in other words, by September 23. With this deadline looming, U.S. Airways entered into a " Last Chance Agreement" (the " Agreement" ) with Locke on September 23 " [i]n lieu of termination and in order to provide [Locke] a final opportunity to demonstrate his ability to comply with Company policies and procedures." The Agreement provided for Locke's return to work on October 16, 2009, but stated that " reinstatement [was] contingent upon completion of any pre-employment steps required by law, Company policy, or the terms of this Agreement, including, if applicable, a security screening." The Agreement also empowered U.S. Airways to convene a meeting with Locke to determine whether he had violated its terms; any such determination would be " final and binding with respect to whether [Locke] violated the terms of this Agreement, and the imposition of discipline, up to and including termination."
In order to return to work at Logan, Locke needed a security badge. Locke testified that he sought to reobtain his original badge from the State Police as early as September 21, on which date Andrews told Locke that he would go to the police barracks and pick up the badge. After Andrews apparently met with no success, Locke himself went to the office of the badging authority, MassPort, on October 14. Locke was informed that his badge had been lost and that he would need to reapply for a new badge by filling out an application and obtaining a signature from U.S. Airways. Following ...