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Roberson v. City of Wilmington

United States District Court, D. Delaware

March 26, 2018

ROBERTA L. ROBERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF WILMINGTON, et al., Defendants.

          Roberta L. Roberson, Wilmington, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.

          Loren Holland, Assistant City Solicitor, City Solicitor's Office, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendant City of Wilmington.

          Lance M. Geren, Esquire, Freedman and Lorry, P.C., New Castle, Delaware. Counsel for Defendants AFSCME Local 1102 and Delaware Public Employees Council 81.

          Joseph Clement Handlon, Deputy Attorney General, Delaware Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Delaware Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          STARK, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Roberta L. Roberson ("Plaintiff), who proceeds pro se and was granted in forma pauperis status, filed this action on February 10, 2017. Plaintiff alleges wrongful termination of her employment and violations of: (1) Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 185; (2) Section 8(b) of the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 158(b); (3) interference and retaliation under the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"); (4) Tide 19 - 1200-1201 from Delaware's Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board ("UIAB") Regulations, subparagraphs 6.1 through 6.4; (5) 29 U.S.C. § 626 (c)(1); and (6) conspiracy. The Court has jurisdiction by reason of a federal question pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

         Presendy before the Court are Defendants' motions to dismiss (D.I. 12, 15, 25, 32), Plaintiffs motions for extensions of time (D.I. 17, 18, 27), Plaintiffs requests for default (D.I. 19, 20), Plaintiffs request for counsel (D.I. 21), and Plaintiffs motion to amend (D.I. 28).[1]

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges that on July 25, 2016, Defendant City of Wilmington ("the City") terminated her employment without "due process and just cause." (D.I. 2 at 4) Plaintiff was a member of AFSCME Local 1102, an affiliate of the Delaware Public Employees Council 81 (together the "Union"). She alleges that the Union filed a grievance on her behalf challenging the City's decision to terminate her employment, but the Union breached its duty of fair representation by failing to move the grievance to Step IV of the grievance procedure.

         Plaintiff sought, and received, unemployment benefits in August 2016. (Id. at 5) Following the City's appeal of the award of benefits, the benefits stopped as of September 13, 2016. (Id.) A hearing was held on November 19, 2016 before the Delaware Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board ("the Board"), and Plaintiff subpoenaed a union president to testify on her behalf. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges the union president "contradicted the grievance claim" she had filed against City management, and the union president "represented the City's interest instead of [hers]." (Id.)

         Plaintiff alleges that the Union, the City, and the Board have not "responded to [her] with a decision as to [her] grievance progressing to step 4 and arbitration; or [her] right to a hearing in Superior Court, which has compelled [her] to seek remedy from [this Court]." (Id.) Her claims against the City include: (1) retaliation for the use of FMLA and sick leave by creating "contrived and arbitrary disciplinary actions;" (2) discharge without due process; (3) discharge without just cause; and (4) failure to provide a decision on Plaintiffs grievance progressing to Step IV. (Id. at 4-5) Plaintiff seeks reinstatement of her unemployment benefits, reinstatement of her employment, lost wages and future earnings, and compensatory damages.

         III. LEGAL STANDARDS

         Evaluating a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) requires the Court to accept as true all material allegations of the complaint. See Spruillv. Gillis,372 F.3d 218, 223 (3d Cir. 2004). "The issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is enutled to offer evidence to support the claims." In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Utig.114 F.3d 1410, 1420 (3d Cir. 1997) (internal quotation marks omitted). Thus, the Court may grant such a motion to dismiss only if, after "accepting all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, and viewing them in the light most favorable to ...


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