United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
JOHN L. BRYAN, Plaintiff,
ALLIED PILOTS ASSOCIATION and AMERICAN AIRLINES, INC., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. Casper, United States District Judge.
John L. Bryan (“Bryan”) brings this action under
the Railway Labor Act (“RLA”). D. 1. Bryan
alleges that Defendant Allied Pilots Association
(“APA”) breached its duty of fair representation
(Count I) and also asserts a claim for breach of the
collective bargaining agreement/wrongful termination (Count
II) against Defendant American Airlines
(“American”). Id. APA and American have
moved to dismiss Bryan's claims. D. 17; D. 20. For the
reasons stated below, the Court DENIES APA's motion, D.
17, and ALLOWS American's motion, D. 20.
Standard of Review
to Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must include sufficient facts
to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007). This requirement “simply calls for
enough fact[s] to raise a reasonable expectation that
discovery will reveal evidence” of the illegal conduct
alleged. Id. at 556. The 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). First, the Court must
“distinguish the complaint's factual allegations
(which must be accepted as true) from its conclusory legal
allegations (which need not be credited).” Saldivar
v. Racine, 818 F.3d 14, 18 (1st Cir. 2016) (quoting
Cardigan Mt. Sch. v. N.H. Ins. Co., 787 F.3d 82, 84
(1st Cir. 2015)). “Threadbare recitals of the elements
of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “Factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
555. Second, the Court must determine whether the factual
allegations support a “reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Haley v. City of Bos., 657 F.3d 39, 46 (1st Cir.
2011) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). If the facts
“do not permit the court to infer more than the mere
possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but it
has not ‘show[n]' - ‘that the pleader is
entitled to relief.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
679 (alteration in original).
reviewing a motion pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the Court
“may properly consider only facts or documents that are
part of or incorporated into the complaint.”
Trans-Spec Truck Serv., Inc. v. Caterpillar Inc.,
524 F.3d 315, 321 (1st Cir. 2008); see Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(d). The Court may also consider “documents the
authenticity of which are not disputed by the parties; for
official public records; for documents central to
plaintiffs' claim; or for documents sufficiently referred
to in the complaint.” Alt. Energy, Inc. v. St. Paul
Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 267 F.3d 30, 33 (1st Cir.
2001) (quoting Watterson v. Page, 987 F.2d 1, 3 (1st
as otherwise stated, the following facts are based upon the
allegations in Bryan's complaint, including the documents
attached to and fairly incorporated therein, and are accepted
as true for the consideration of the motions to dismiss.
became a pilot for Mohawk Airlines, Inc. (“Mohawk
Airlines”) in 1969. D. 1 ¶ 6. Subsequently, Mohawk
Airlines merged with Allegheny Airlines, Inc., which later
became U.S. Airways, Inc. (“US Airways”).
Id. Between December 1996 and 1998, Bryan served as
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of U.S. Airways' Air
Line Pilots Association's
(“ALPA”) Master Executive Council. Id.
¶ 7. Consistent with his predecessors, Bryan stopped
piloting commercial aircrafts during his two-year term as
Chairman and CEO of ALPA's Master Executive Council.
Id. ¶¶ 8, 12. As a result of his decision
not to fly commercial aircrafts for two years, Bryan was
required to complete a retraining program before he could
resume piloting. Id. ¶¶ 9-10, 12. Bryan
alleges he was entitled to participate in such a program
pursuant to the terms of the operating collective bargaining
agreement (the “CBA”) between ALPA and U.S.
Airways at the time. Id. ¶ 13; see 31-2
at 5 (explaining that “[t]raining which is
‘reoccurring' in nature shall be open to all pilots
1998, Bryan enrolled in a Boeing 767 recurrent retraining
program. Id. ¶ 12. According to the complaint,
U.S. Airways' President Rakesh Gangwahl, who allegedly
had a hostile relationship with Bryan and who had announced
earlier that year that he would no longer speak to Bryan,
ordered Bryan's removal from the retraining program.
Id. ¶¶ 14-15. Bryan alleges this conduct
interfered with his right to participate in the training
program in violation of the terms of the CBA. See
id. ¶¶ 12-17. Because Bryan did not complete
the required program, he was deemed unqualified to serve as a
U.S. Airways pilot. Id. ¶ 16. U.S. Airways,
therefore, terminated Bryan upon completion of his term as
Chairman and CEO of the ALPA Master Executive Council in
February 1999. Id. Bryan's termination occurred
over a year prior to his anticipated retirement date of May
1, 2000 pursuant to U.S. Airways' Early Retirement
Incentive Program. Id. Bryan alleges that, due to
his wrongful exclusion from the training program and his
early termination, he was denied compensation and anticipated
retirement benefits totaling over $1 million. Id.
February 24, 1999, Bryan filed a grievance (“Grievance
No. PHL 99-02-11”) regarding the alleged interference
with his participation in the training program and his
subsequent termination in alleged violation of the CBA.
Id. ¶ 18. U.S. Airways denied Bryan's
grievance on October 12, 1999 and August 2, 2000.
Id. ¶ 19. However, because ALPA had determined
that Bryan's grievance was meritorious, id.
¶ 20, it submitted the grievance to U.S. Airways'
Pilots System Board of Adjustment (“Adjustment
Board”) for arbitration on August 29, 2000.
Id. The president of ALPA at the time requested the
grievance “be heard by the Board at its next regular or
special session.” Id. This request was
purportedly sent to thirteen APA and U.S. Airways officials.
Id. Bryan's grievance, however, was never
scheduled for arbitration. Id. ¶ 22.
contacted ALPA (and, eventually, its successors, USAPA and
APA) to determine the status of his grievance “on
multiple occasions” between August 29, 2000 and the
institution of this action in December 2017. See id.
¶ 23. At various, unspecified points over the course of
seventeen years, the ALPA and its successors informed Bryan
that his grievance was not a priority and that he should
anticipate continued delay in obtaining an arbitration date
due, in part, to U.S. Airways' two bankruptcies and the
company's merger with American. Id. ¶ 24.
February 24, 2017, Bryan contacted Tricia Kennedy
(“Kennedy”), the Director of Grievances and
Dispute Resolution for APA, the collective bargaining
representative for all airline pilots employed by American
following its merger with U.S. Airways. Id. ¶
25. Kennedy explained that she would follow up with Bryan
after she researched the status of his grievance.
Id. A few months later, on April 13, 2017, Bryan
called Kennedy a second time. Id. ¶ 26. Kennedy
confirmed that Bryan's grievance was “open.”
Id. Kennedy asked Bryan how much money he was
requesting in connection with the grievance and stated that
she would call Bryan back. Id.
2017, Kennedy confirmed that Bryan's grievance would be
discussed at a joint American-APA meeting in June 2017.
Id. ¶ 27. Kennedy also asked Bryan to provide
his settlement request and promised to call him after the
joint meeting. Id. Kennedy did not call Bryan back
and did not respond to Bryan's emails. Id.
¶ 28. On October 5, 2017, Bryan called Kennedy, who
confirmed that APA and American had considered Bryan's
grievance during the June 2017 meeting. Id. ¶
29. Kennedy explained that, as part of a “global
settlement” with American, APA “dropped”
Bryan's grievance.Id. Kennedy provided no
explanation for why Bryan's grievance was ...