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United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
January 11, 1995, Decided ; January 12, 1995, FILED
92 Civ. 4330 (KMW)
In an Opinion issued on July 23, 1993 granting defendant Theatrical Protective Union Number One I.A.T.S.E.'s (the "Union") motion to dismiss plaintiff's hybrid breach of contract/duty of fair representation claim, this court also ordered plaintiff's lawyer Stanley Fidel to show cause why the court should not impose sanctions against him pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 11. The court suggested that sanctions may be warranted because plaintiff's counsel had interposed what appeared to the court to be causes of action that were not well grounded in fact and warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law. Having reviewed the parties' submissions on the propriety of imposing Rule 11 sanctions, I order such sanctions imposed for the reasons stated below.
The essence of the underlying dispute between plaintiff and defendants is that plaintiff believes that he was discharged from his position because (1) he complained about the presence of toxic substances at his workplace; [**2] and (2) he sustained certain injuries at work. See Complaint at 1. Following his termination in June of 1991, plaintiff filed suit against defendants, alleging causes of action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and various New York State laws, including a breach of contract/duty of fair representation claim against the Union. Plaintiff sought over four million dollars in damages from the various defendants.
The Union moved to dismiss the breach of contract/duty of fair representation claim on the ground that the applicable statute of limitations had expired, and that no justification for tolling the six month period existed. Defendants WABC Television ("WABC") and Joseph Cook ("Cook") also moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground that plaintiff had failed to serve either of them with timely process pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(j); WABC and Cook also moved for Rule 11 sanctions. Plaintiff then filed a cross motion [*434] for a default judgment against the Union on the ground that the Union allegedly filed its motion to dismiss in lieu of an answer one day after the time period for doing so had expired. 1 In the Union's response to this [**3] cross motion, it pointed out that service of its motion to dismiss had been timely according to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; the Union explained that according to the clear language of Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(a), weekends are to be excluded for the purposes of calculating the last day of a limitations period. Several weeks after the Union submitted its legal memorandum, plaintiff withdrew its cross motion for a default judgment on the ground that "defendants [sic] motion was timely served." See Letter from Stanley Fidel dated December 29, 1992.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
159 F.R.D. 432 *; 1995 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4651 **
Robert LaVigna, Plaintiff, -against- WABC Television, Inc. Theatrical Protective Union Number One I.A.T.S.E., AFL-CIO and Joseph Cook, Defendants.
sanctions, existing law, motion to dismiss, employees, cause of action, retaliation
Civil Procedure, Attorneys, General Overview, Sanctions, Baseless Filings, Business & Corporate Compliance, Discrimination, National Origin Discrimination, Enforcement, Labor & Employment Law, Harassment, Racial Harassment, Hostile Work Environment, Civil Rights Law, Actionable Discrimination, Scope & Definitions, Racial Discrimination, Religious Discrimination, Scope & Definitions, Religion Defined, Statutory Application, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Gender & Sex, Color & Race, Title VII Discrimination, Labor & Employment Law, Wage & Hour Laws, Child Labor, Legal Ethics