United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
OPINION AND ORDER
A. O'TOOLE, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff, Michael Rowland, brings suit against Teamsters
Local Union No. 25 (the “Union”), Union president
Sean M. O'Brien, Union business agent John A. Murphy, and
Union steward Gerald Wright. Rowland, a former member of the
Union, alleges the Union breached its duty to provide him
with fair representation in connection with his termination
from employment at DHL Express (USA), Inc.
(“DHL”) by failing to file a timely appeal in
accordance with the grievance procedure outlined in the
collective bargaining agreement between the Union and DHL.
The defendants have moved for summary judgment, contending in
relevant part that Rowland's suit is barred by the
applicable statute of limitations.
following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted:
was a Union member and worked at DHL. On March 19, 2014, he
was involved in a motor vehicle accident while operating a
DHL vehicle at work. On March 21, 2014, Rowland received a
letter of termination from DHL. The letter read in part:
On March 19, 2014 you were involved in a motor vehicle
accident. While backing, you struck a parked vehicle. After a
thorough investigation it was determined that this was a
preventable accident caused by your careless and neglectful
As a result of the company's findings, you are hereby
terminated per Article 29, Discharge & Suspension of the
New England Rider to the DHL National Agreement with the
International Teamsters Union.
of Removal, Ex. A at 13 (dkt. no. 2-2).)
29 of the collective bargaining agreement (the
“CBA”) between the Union and DHL provides that
The Employer shall not discharge nor suspend any employee
without just cause, but in respect to discharge or suspension
shall give at least one (1) warning notice of the complaint
against such employee to the employee, in writing, and a copy
of the same to the Union affected, except that no warning
notice need be given to an employee before he is discharged
if the cause of such discharge is dishonesty or drunkenness,
or recklessness resulting in serious accident while on duty,
or the carrying of unauthorized passengers, failure to report
a known accident, or illegal drug induced intoxication . . .
. Appeal from discharge, suspension, or warning notice must
be taken within ten (10) days by written notice . . . .
(Pl.'s App. 463 (dkt. no. 42).)
under the CBA a grievance for disciplinary-related matters
“must be filed within ten (10) calendar days of the
receipt of discipline. . . . The grievance must be reduced to
writing and presented to the Facility Manager or his
designee.” (Id. at 459-60.) A grievance
“shall be considered waived if not filed within the
time limits set forth” in the CBA. (Id. at
Article 29, the Union was required to file an appeal of the
termination within ten calendar days of Rowland's receipt
of the DHL letter, but it failed to do so. On April 8, 2014,
DHL notified Rowland that by reason of no appeal having been
filed in a timely fashion, Rowland's employment with DHL
was being terminated immediately.
steward Wright maintained he had submitted a timely grievance
form. DHL informed the Union that if it produced a copy of
the grievance it would return Rowland to his job pending
resolution of his termination through the grievance procedure
in accordance with Article 29. DHL was advised that Wright
had burned ...