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Chappell v. Int'l Bhd. Elec. Workers Local Union 772

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division

July 31, 2015

Kirk Chappell, Plaintiff,
v.
International Brotherhood Electrical Workers Local Union 772, and Scott Fulmer, Defendants

Page 493

For Kirk Chappell, Plaintiff: Stuart Hudson, LEAD ATTORNEY, Daniel Nathan Hughey, Hughey Law Firm, Mt Pleasant, SC.

For International Brotherhood Electrical Workers, Local Union 772, Scott Fulmer, Defendants: Rebecca G Fulmer, Wilmot B Irvin, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Wilmot B Irvin Law Office, Columbia, SC; Lucas Robert Jason Aubrey, Victoria Louise Bor, PRO HAC VICE, Sherman Dunn Cohen Leifer and Yellig, Washington, DC.

Page 494

OPINION AND ORDER

Mary G. Lewis, United States District Judge.

Before this Court is Defendant International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 772's (" Local 772" ) Motion for Summary Judgment brought pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (ECF No. 52.) Local 772 submits that summary judgment should be entered in its favor on all counts of the Amended Complaint brought by Plaintiff Kirk Chappell (" Plaintiff" ). Having considered the motion and responses, the arguments of the parties, the record, and the applicable law, the Court GRANTS Local 772's Motion for Summary Judgment.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed this action in the Court of Common Pleas for Richland County, South Carolina on October 4, 2013. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint on October 27, 2014. (ECF No. 42.) The Amended Complaint generally alleges breaches of the fiduciary duties and duties of fair representation owed to Plaintiff as a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (" IBEW" ) Local Union 772 and sets forth several state law

Page 495

causes of action relating to injuries suffered by Plaintiff while he worked on a power line as an employee of South Carolina Electric and Gas Company (" SCE& G" ) and a member of Local 772.

Defendants Local 772 and Scott Fulmer removed this action to this Court on June 4, 2014 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § § 1331(a) and 1337(a), and 29 U.S.C. § 185(a). The motion for summary judgment by Defendants Local 772 and Scott Fulmer was filed on February 27, 2015[1]. (ECF No. 52.) Local 772 maintains that whether Plaintiff's allegations are characterized as state tort claims or contract claims, the claims are preempted by Section 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185 and subject to federal law. Local 772 also alleges that it did not assume any duties through the Collective Bargaining Agreement (" CBA" ) or enforceable by Plaintiff, the breach of which caused Plaintiff's injuries. Finally, Local 772 argues that any duty of fair representation claims are barred by the statute of limitations and for failure to state a claim.

Plaintiff filed a memorandum in response to Local 772's motion for summary judgment on March 31, 2015. (ECF No. 64.) Local 772 filed a reply memorandum on April 24, 2015. (ECF No. 76.) The Court held a hearing in this matter on June 23, 2015. (ECF No. 80.) After the hearing, Plaintiff filed a Supplemental Submission in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Motion to Allow Supplemental Memorandum in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 82). This Court allowed Plaintiff to submit a supplemental memorandum in opposition (ECF No. 86) and for Local 772 to submit a reply. (ECF No. 87.) The matter is now ripe for review.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is appropriate only " if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In deciding whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the evidence of the non-moving party is to be believed and all justifiable inferences must be drawn in his favor. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). However, " [o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted." Id. at 248. The moving party has the burden of proving that summary judgment is appropriate. Once the moving party makes this showing, however, the opposing party may not rest upon mere allegations or denials, but rather must, by affidavits or other means permitted by the Rule, set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. " ...


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