Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Snyder v. L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Aberdeen Division

November 13, 2018

JOYCE SNYDER PLAINTIFF
v.
L-3 COMMUNICATIONS VERTEX AEROSPACE, LLC, and IUE-CWA INDUSTRIAL DIVISION OF THE COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          SHARION AYCOCK UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

         The Plaintiff, Joyce Snyder, filed her Complaint [1] on November 30, 2017, alleging both a Title VII claim against L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace, LLC and a failure to timely arbitrate claim against IUE-CWA Industrial Division of the Communications Workers of America. Presently before the Court is L-3 Communications' Motion to Sever [23].

         Factual and Procedural Background

         L-3 Communications hired the Plaintiff to work in its aircraft service department. While working there, the Plaintiff was a member of the Communication Workers Union and worked pursuant to a Collective Bargaining Agreement entered into between these Defendants. In 2014, the Plaintiff alleges that she was sexually harassed by a male co-worker. She filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaining about the harassment and was discharged from her employment.

         The Plaintiff was later re-hired by L-3 Communications as a part of a settlement with the Commission. According to the Plaintiff, after she was rehired, gender discrimination and sexual harassment continued. Six months after returning to work, the Plaintiff received several reprimands for offenses she claims her male co-workers did not receive for identical offenses. The Plaintiff was eventually discharged a second time.

         In this case, the Plaintiff alleges a Title VII claim against L-3 Communications, alleging that she was retaliated against after filing a charge with the Commission and discharged because of her gender. Separate from the Title VII claim, the Plaintiff also alleges that the Communication Workers Union failed to timely arbitrate her grievance as required under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. This Agreement provides that any disciplinary action must be issued within ten full work days of the company's knowledge of a rule violation. The Plaintiff asserts that she was terminated outside of the ten-day window prescribed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. According to the Plaintiff, after L-3 Communications fired her, the Communication Workers Union failed to timely pursue arbitration on her behalf as required by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. L-3 Communications filed a Motion to Sever [23] seeking to separate the Plaintiff's two claims.

         Discussion

         L-3 Communication seeks severance under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 21. District Courts consider five factors when considering severance: (1) whether the claims arise out of the same transaction or occurrence; (2) whether the claims present some common questions of law or fact; (3) whether settlement of the claims or judicial economy would be facilitated by severance; (4) whether prejudice would be avoided if severance were granted; and (5) whether different witnesses and documentary proof are required for the separate claims. Super Truck Stop 35-55, LLC v. Nissi Ins. Sols., LLC, No. 4:15-CV-125-DMB, 2016 WL 5477725, at *9 (N.D. Miss. Sept. 29, 2016). Under Rule 21, a district court has broad discretion in severance of claims. Conkling v. Turner, 18 F.3d 1285, 1293 (5th Cir. 1994).

         The first factor asks whether the claims arise out of the same transaction or occurrence. L-3 Communications argues that the Title VII claim deals exclusively with the reasons the Plaintiff was discharged while the failure to timely arbitrate claim addresses L-3 Communications' alleged violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. In response, the Plaintiff argues that the claims are inextricably intertwined because the claim against the Communication Workers Union relies on proof that she was terminated without cause, just like the Title VII claim against L-3 Communications.

         The Fifth Circuit has not expressly addressed the “transaction or occurrence” factor under the five-prong severance test used for Rule 21 severance analysis. It has applied a “logical relationship” test to Rule 13(a) which employs the same “transaction or occurrence” analysis. Montgomery Elevator Co. v. Bldg. Eng'g Servs. Co., Inc., 730 F.2d 377, 380 (5th Cir. 1984). District Courts within the Fifth Circuit have used the logical relationship test when analyzing the “transaction or occurrence” factor under other rules. See Cooper v. Meritor, Inc., 2018 WL 1934065, at *2 (N.D. Miss. April 24, 2018) (applying the logical relationship test to Rule 20). Absent any indication that “transaction or occurrence” under Rule 21 should be analyzed under a different test, the Court will employ the Fifth Circuit's logical relationship test to determine whether the claims arise out of the same transaction or occurrence. The Court acknowledges that Rule 21 generally addresses misjoinder and nonjoinder of parties, however, the last sentence looks at severance of claims, which is relevant here. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 21.

         The logical relation test is a loose standard which permits a broad realistic interpretation in the interest of avoiding a multiplicity of suits. Nat'l Liab. & Fire Ins. Co. v. R & R Marine, Inc., 756 F.3d 825, 835 (5th Cir. 2014). The Fifth Circuit gives weight to whether the claims at issue share an ‘aggregate of operative facts.' N.Y. Life Ins. Co. v. Deshotel, 142 F.3d 873, 882 (5th Cir. 1998). Operative facts are “those relating directly to the . . . claims” in an action. Cooper, 2018 WL 1934065, at *2 (citing Wisey's #1 LLC v. Nimellis Pizzeria LLC, 952 F.Supp.2d 184, 190 (D.D.C. 2013)).

         The facts that gave rise to this dispute are generally the same or substantially the same. Both claims essentially stem from Snyder's employment with L-3 Communications. Her individual legal claims, however, are mostly supported by distinctly different operative facts.

         Regarding the Title VII claim, the facts must prove that she was sexually harassed by her male co-workers and was fired because of her gender. In addition, she must pull from those facts to show that she was retaliated against after she filed a charge with the Commission.

         The separate claim against the Communications Workers Union extracts its operative facts from a different part of the case. The operative facts for her claim against the union must show that she was reprimanded or fired outside of the ten-day window as prescribed in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and that arbitration on her behalf was not timey sought. These facts are unrelated to the facts that gave rise to the sexual harassment claim. Because the operative facts relevant to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.