United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
H. Hennessy, United States Magistrate Judge.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Central Mass.
Transit Management, Inc.'s (“Defendant” or
the “Company”) motion to dismiss the complaint of
Plaintiff Ariel Mercado. Dkt no. 6. This matter is ripe for
adjudication. For the reasons that follow, Defendant's
motion to dismiss is GRANTED.
Ariel Mercado commenced the instant action in Worcester
Superior Court on April 25, 2018 upon filing a complaint to
compel arbitration. Dkt. no. 4, at pp. 4-8. Defendant was
served with a summons and copy of the complaint on May 23,
2018. Id. at 182. On June 12, 2018, Defendant
removed the action to this Court. Dkt. no. 1.
19, 2018, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's
complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). Dkt. no. 6. Plaintiff opposed Defendant's
motion. Dkt. no. 11. On July 13, 2018, in accordance with 28
U.S.C. § 636(c) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
73(b), the Parties consented to have the undersigned conduct
all further proceedings in this action. Dkt. nos. 10, 15.
a Massachusetts corporation, and Worcester Local 22 of the
Amalgamated Transit Union (the “Union”) entered
into a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”),
effective July 1, 2015 through July 1, 2018. Dkt. no. 4, at
p. 4 (Complaint ¶ 5). The CBA governed the employment
terms and conditions of all Defendant's non-supervisory
employees, including its bus drivers. Id. at 11 (CBA
pmbl.). Plaintiff, a resident of Worcester, Massachusetts,
was employed by Defendant as a bus driver. Id. at 4
(Complaint ¶ 6). He was also a member of the Union, and
the terms and conditions of his employment with Defendant
were governed by the CBA. Id. at 3 (Complaint ¶
23, 2017, Defendant terminated Plaintiff's employment.
Id. at 4 (Complaint ¶ 6). Plaintiff challenged
this termination by presenting his grievance to Defendant in
compliance with Steps 1 and 2 of the CBA's grievance
procedure. Id. (Complaint ¶ 7); see also
id. at 19-20 (CBA § III.D). Defendant denied
Plaintiff's grievance at both steps. Id. at 4
(Complaint ¶ 8). Thereafter, Plaintiff requested the
Union to seek arbitration on his behalf. Id.
(Complaint ¶ 9). The Union declined to arbitrate
Plaintiff's grievance. Id.
October 20, 2017, Plaintiff, through an attorney, sent
Defendant a letter demanding arbitration of his employment
termination (“Arbitration Demand”). Id.
(Complaint ¶ 10 and Exhibit B: Demand Letter). Defendant
denied the Arbitration Demand in a letter response dated
October 23, 2018, explaining that Plaintiff lacked standing
to seek arbitration pursuant to the terms of the CBA and that
the demand was untimely. See id. at 5 (Complaint
¶ 14 and Exhibit C: Demand Response). Plaintiff then
filed the instant complaint seeking to compel arbitration.
See generally id.
survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), a plaintiff must “state a claim
that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). That is,
“[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right
to relief above the speculative level . . . on the assumption
that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if
doubtful in fact).” Id. at 555 (internal
citations omitted). “The plausibility standard is not
akin to a ‘probability requirement,' but it asks
for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
Indeed, “plausible” “means something more
than merely possible, and gauging a pleaded situation's
plausibility is a ‘context-specific' job that
compels [the Court] ‘to draw on [its] judicial
experience and common sense.'” Schatz v.
Republican State Leadership Comm., 669 F.3d 50, 55 (1st
Cir. 2012) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679).
this generous standard, “Rule 12(b)(6) is not entirely
a toothless tiger . . . [t]he threshold for stating a claim
may be low, but it is real.” Dartmouth Review v.
Dartmouth Coll., 889 F.2d 13, 16 (1st Cir. 1989)
(quotation omitted). The complaint must therefore
“allege a factual predicate concrete enough to
warrant further proceedings.” DM Research, Inc. v.
Coll. of Am. Pathologists, 170 F.3d 53, 55 (1st Cir.
1999) (emphasis in original). “A pleading that offers
‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Dismissal is appropriate
if a plaintiff's well-pleaded facts do not “possess
enough heft to show that [the] plaintiff is entitled to
relief.” Ruiz Rivera v. Pfizer Pharms., LLC,
521 F.3d 76, 84 (1st Cir. 2008) (quotations and original
court “must assume the truth of all well-plead[ed]
facts and give the plaintiff the benefit of all reasonable
inferences therefrom.” Ruiz v. Bally Total Fitness
Holding Corp., 496 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2007) (citing
Rogan v. Menino, 175 F.3d 75, 77 (1st Cir. 1999)).
“Under Rule 12(b)(6), the district court may properly
consider only facts and documents that are part of or
incorporated into the complaint; if matters outside the
pleadings are considered, the motion must be decided under
the more stringent standards applicable to a Rule 56 motion
for summary judgment.” Rivera v. Centro Medico de
Turabo, Inc., 575 F.3d 10, 15 (1st Cir. 2009) (quoting
Trans-Spec Truck Serv., Inc. v. Caterpillar, Inc.,
524 F.3d 315, 321 (1st Cir. 2008)). There lies an exception
to this rule “for documents the authenticity of which
[is] not disputed by the parties; for official public
records; for documents central to [a plaintiff's] claim;
or for documents sufficiently referred to in the
complaint.” Rivera, 575 F.3d at 15 (quoting
Alt. Energy, Inc. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins.
Co., 267 F.3d 30, 33 (1st Cir. 2001)). For example,
where a complaint repeatedly references a collective
bargaining agreement, the agreement may ...