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Thurston v. United Transportation Union

February 28, 2006

FRANK THURSTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED TRANSPORTATION UNION AND UNITED TRANSPORTATION UNION GENERAL COMMITTEE OF ADJUSTMENT GO-386, AND BURLINGTON NORTHERN SANTA FE RAILWAY COMPANY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Marcia S. Krieger

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment (#71, #75). Having considered the motions, the responses (#78, 85), the replies (#83, 88, #89), any supporting briefs, and the documentary evidence attached thereto, the Court finds and concludes as follows.

I. Jurisdiction

For purposes of determining the pending motions, the Court exercises subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

II. Issue Presented

When the Plaintiff, Mr. Thurston, commenced this action, he was pro se and asserted no enumerated claims. However, the Court discerned two claims in his Complaint: (1) Defendants United Transportation Union ("the Union") and United Transportation Union General Committee of Adjustment GO-386 ("the Union Committee") breached their duty of fair representation; and (2) Defendant Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company ("BNSF") colluded with the Union and the Union Committee in violation of the Railway Labor Act.*fn1 For purposes of the Railway Labor Act, this has been pled as a hybrid case because the claim against BNSF is not severable from the claim against the Union and Union Committee. See Richins v. Southern Pacific Co., 620 F.2d 761, 762 (10th Cir. 1980). The Court must determine whether a trial is required on these claims.

III. Material Facts

The following are the material undisputed facts, or disputed facts construed most favorably to Mr. Thurston, relevant to the Defendants' statute of limitations defense:*fn2

1. Mr. Thurston commenced this action on August 29, 2003 against the Union, the Union Committee, and BNSF.

2. One of the Union Committee's functions is to process and resolve claims and grievances of BNSF employees.

3. The Union Committee has several Local Chairpersons who are the front line officers for handling such claims. Claims not resolved at the local level are forwarded to the General Chairperson for further handling. The General Chairperson has final authority to resolve any claim.

4. The Union Committee in this case also has an Associate General Chairperson.

This position was created following the merger of two separate committees. The Associate General Chairperson works at the direction of the General Chairperson.

5. The two separate committees merged on December 1, 2002. Up until that date, the General Chairperson of the applicable committee was Robert Repstine. After that date, the General Chairperson of the combined committee was John Fitzgerald. Mr. Repstine ...


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