Posts tagged with "dismissal"

Preemptive Effect of LMRA Extends to Suits Alleging Liability in Tort

Labor relations between an employer and a union are typically defined in a Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) between the two.  The CBA sets forth the parties’ respective rights and obligations with respect to such things as wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.  The Labor Management Relations Act (“LMRA”) grants jurisdiction to the federal district courts for “[s]uits for violation of contracts between an employer and a labor organization representing employees in an industry affecting commerce.”  If resolution of a state law claim turns upon interpretation of the CBA, the claim is preempted and subject to dismissal by the federal court.  But “when the meaning of contract terms is not the subject of dispute, the bare fact that a collective-bargaining agreement will be consulted in the course of state-law litigation plainly does not require the claim to be extinguished.”

A recent decision of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals pointed out the fuzzy line that can sometimes exist between a preempted claim and one that is not.  In Adonna v. Sargent Mfg. Co., 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 10343 (2d Cir. May 23, 2012), a union employee brought claims against his employer for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.  The employer conduct complained of included reassignment, suspension, reduction in pay, and demands not imposed on any other employee.  The Court of Appeals concluded that whether or to what extent this conduct was wrongful could be determined only by examining the CBA provisions relating to the employer’s right to manage, direct, and discipline the workforce, and set employee wages.  Because the employee’s claims were “inextricably intertwined” with the terms of the CBA they were preempted and properly dismissed by the trial court.

Employers and employees alike should be aware of the extensive preemptive effect of the LMRA.  It is the rare state-law tort claim that will not require not only the consultation, but also the interpretation of the relevant CBA, thereby resulting in preemption at the federal level.

The employment law attorneys in the Westport, Connecticut office of Maya Murphy, P.C. have extensive experience in the negotiation and litigation of all sorts of employment-related disputes and assist clients from Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport and Fairfield in resolving such issues. Please contact our office at 203-221-3100.

 

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Motion to Dismiss Denied Where Defendant Failed to Establish Due Process Violation from Pre-Arrest Delay

In a recent criminal law matter, a Superior Court of Connecticut considered a defendant’s pre-trial motion to dismiss charges against her due to “unreasonable delay” in prosecutorial efforts.

This case arose from an incident that occurred on November 29, 2006, in New Haven, CT. The defendant was involved in an automobile collision with a city bus, resulting in her month-long hospitalization before she returned to her residence, which she occupied prior to and after the accident. A detective prepared an arrest warrant, which was signed on December 14, 2006, but made only one attempt to serve it on the defendant, which was unsuccessful. Approximately fifteen months of inaction passed before the defendant “turned herself in,” indicating she became award of the arrest warrant.

The defendant was charged with second-degree assault with a motor vehicle (Connecticut General Statutes (CGS) § 53a-60d), operating under the influence (CGS § 14-227a), and evading responsibility (CGS § 14-224(b)). She filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that warrant was not served within a reasonable time and beyond the statute of limitations. She further claimed that the pre-arrest delay violated her constitutionally protected due process rights. In support of her motion, the defendant did not present any evidence of “the impact, if any, the fifteen-month delay had on the defendant’s ability to present a defense.”

Under CGS § 54-193(b), our statute of limitations law, the State can prosecute an individual for a crime resulting in a sentence in excess of one year within five years after the date of the offense. However, “the warrant must still be executed without unreasonable delay to preserve the primary purpose of the statute of limitations.” Where a defendant asserts due process violations stemming from pre-arrest delays, he or she must prove “both that (1) actual substantial prejudice resulted from the delay and (2) that the reasons for the delay were wholly unjustifiable, as where the state seeks to gain a tactical advantage.” There is no per se rule regarding whether the length of a delay is unreasonable. In State v. Crawford, a decision rendered by Connecticut’s Supreme Court, the arrest warrant was not executed for more than two years after it was issued, yet this did not warrant a dismissal of the charges.

In this case, the Superior Court found that the fifteen-month delay was not per se unreasonable, in large part referencing the longer and unexplained, yet permissible delay in Crawford. Even if the delay due to a lack of due diligence was found unreasonable, “[t]he evidence presented to this court did not demonstrate that the defendant has suffered any disadvantage.” The defendant did not provide any evidence of prejudice beyond “mere allegations,” and there was “no evidence in the record to support a claim that the state sought to gain a tactical advantage over the defendant by virtue of the pre-arrest delay.” Therefore, the Superior Court denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss.

When faced with a charge of evading responsibility, an individual is best served by consulting with an experienced criminal law practitioner. Should you have any questions regarding criminal defense, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya in the firm’s Westport office in Fairfield County at 203-221-3100 or at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

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