Babb v. Cal. Teachers Ass'n

Decision Date08 May 2019
Docket Number CASE NO. 8:18-cv-1169-JLS-DFM,CASE NO. 8:18-cv-00994-JLS-DFM, CASE NO. 2:18-cv-06793-JLS-DFM, CASE NO. 2:18-cv-09531-JLS-DFM, CASE NO. 2:18-cv-08999-JLS-DFM
Citation378 F.Supp.3d 857
Parties Georgia BABB, et al., Plaintiffs, v. CALIFORNIA TEACHERS ASSOCIATION, et al.; Defendants. Scott Wilford, et al., Plaintiffs, v. National Education Association, et al.; Defendants. Tina Matthews, et al., Plaintiffs, v. United Teachers Los Angeles, et al.; Defendants. Michael Martin, et al., Plaintiffs, v. California Teachers Association, et al.; Defendants. Thomas Few, Plaintiff, v. United Teachers Los Angeles, et al.; Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Central District of California

Bradley A. Benbrook, Stephen Michael Duvernay, Benbrook Law Group PC, Sacramento, CA, Christopher William Hellmich, Hellmich Law Group PC, Anaheim Hills, CA, Jonathan F. Mitchell, Mitchell Law PLLC, Austin, TX, Talcott J. Franklin, Talcott Franklin PC, Dallas, TX, for Plaintiffs.

Jeffrey B. Demain, Rebecca C. Lee, Scott A. Kronland, Altshuler Berzon LLP, Peter H. Chang, Office of the Attorney General, California Department of Justice, San Francisco, CA, for Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (Doc. 63)

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (Doc. 163)

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (Doc. 27)

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS (Docs. 59 & 61)

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS (Doc. 43)

JOSEPHINE L. STATON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

The above captioned cases all involve the Supreme Court's decision in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 , ––– U.S. ––––, 138 S.Ct. 2448, 201 L.Ed.2d 924 (2018) and its effect on public sector unions in California. Having read and considered the papers and heard oral argument, the Court GRANTS in their entirety the following motions filed by the various Defendants1 in each case:

Babb v. California Teachers Ass'n , No. 8:18-cv-00994-JLS-DFM : Motion to Dismiss and for Judgment on the Pleadings, and in the Alternative for Summary Judgment ( Babb Mem., Doc. 63) filed by the California Teachers Association, National Education Association, and United Teachers of Los Angeles;2
Wilford v. National Education Ass'n , No. 8:18-cv-1169-JLS-DFM : Motion to Dismiss and for Judgment on the Pleadings, and in the Alternative for Summary Judgment (Wilford Mem., Doc. 163) filed by American Federation of Teachers, California Federation of Teachers, California Teachers Association, Certificated Hourly Instructors, Long Beach City College Chapter, Coast Federation of Educators, Local 1911, Community College Association, Exeter Teachers Association, Mt. San Antonio College Faculty Association, Inc., National Education Association, Orange Unified Education Association, Saddleback Valley Educators Association, Sanger Unified Teachers Association, Savanna District Teachers Association, and South Orange County Community College District Faculty Association;3Matthews v. United Teachers Los Angeles , No. 2:18-cv-06793-JLS-DFM : Motion to Dismiss and for Judgment on the Pleadings, and in the Alternative for Summary Judgment (Matthews Mem., Doc. 27) filed by California Teachers Association, National Education Association, San Diego Education Association, and United Teachers Los Angeles;4
Martin v. California Teachers Ass'n , No. 2:18-cv-08999-JLS-DFM: Motion to Dismiss (Martin State Mem., Doc. 59) filed by Eric Banks, Xavier Becerra, Arthur A. Krantz, Erich Shiners, and Priscilla Winslow (the "State Defendants")5 ; Motion to Dismiss (Martin Union Mem., Doc. 61) filed by California Teachers Association, National Education Association, and Riverside City Teachers Association;6 and
Few v. United Teachers Los Angeles , No. 2:18-cv-09531-JLS-DFM: Motion to Dismiss Count II (Few Mem., Doc. 43) filed by United Teachers Los Angeles.7
I. BACKGROUND

On June 27, 2018, the Supreme Court decided Janus and overruled Abood v. Detroit Board of Education , 431 U.S. 209, 97 S.Ct. 1782, 52 L.Ed.2d 261 (1977) and its progeny, holding that no form of payment to a union, including agency fees, can be deducted or attempted to be collected from an employee without the employee's affirmative consent. Janus , 138 S.Ct. at 2486.

The Plaintiffs in Babb are current or former public-school teachers who refused to join teachers' unions because they disapproved of their political advocacy and collective-bargaining activities. (Babb Third Amended Complaint ¶¶ 14–20, Doc. 90.) Prior to Janus , the Plaintiffs were required to pay agency fees to the unions as a condition of their employment. (Id. ) See Cal. Gov. Code § 3546(a). Plaintiffs allege that the compulsory collection of agency fees violates Janus. (Babb Third Amended Complaint ¶ 21.) Plaintiffs bring federal claims for relief for violation of the First Amendment pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201, and California state law claims for conversion, trespass to chattels, replevin, unjust enrichment, and restitution. (Id. ¶¶ 41–42.) Plaintiffs seek two forms of relief: (1) that compulsory agency fees be declared unconstitutional and enjoined; and (2) that the Union Defendants be required to repay all agency fees they received before Janus. (Id. ¶ 43 c–j.) The Union Defendants move to dismiss all claims. (See Babb Mem. at 1.)

Wilford is, for the purposes of the pending motions, identical to Babb. The Wilford Plaintiffs are also non-union teachers who allege that the compulsory collection of agency fees is unconstitutional after Janus. (Wilford First Amended Complaint ¶¶ 1–7, 25–29, Doc. 155.) They also bring federal claims for violation of the First Amendment pursuant to § 1983 (id. ¶¶ 41–47 ), and state law claims for conversion (id. ¶¶ 48–51) and restitution (id. ¶¶ 52–57). Further, as in Babb , the Wilford Plaintiffs seek an order enjoining the future collection of agency fees (id. Demand for Relief ¶ C) and requiring the Union Defendants to repay all agency fees received prior to Janus (id. ¶ D). The Union Defendants move to dismiss all claims. (See Wilford Mem. at 1.)

Matthews is very similar to Wilford and Babb , as the Matthews Plaintiffs are non-union teachers who allege that compulsory collection of agency fees is unconstitutional after Janus. (Matthews Complaint ¶¶ 16, 18–19, Doc. 1-1.) However, the Matthews Plaintiffs bring no federal claims for relief, but rather claims for unfair competition under California's Unfair Competition Law ("the UCL") (id. ¶¶ 35–45); conversion (id. ¶¶ 46– 51); trespass to chattels (id. ¶¶ 52–57); unjust enrichment (id. ¶¶ 58–61); and money had and received (id. ¶¶ 62–65). As with Babb and Wilford , the Matthews Plaintiffs seek to enjoin the future collection of agency fees (id. Prayer for Relief ¶ 6) and to order the Union Defendants to repay all agency fees received prior to Janus (id. ¶ 2). The Union Defendants move to dismiss all claims. (See Matthews Mem. at 1.)

Martin is different from Matthews , Wilford , and Babb in significant respects. Plaintiffs are public-school teachers who were union members prior to Janus but resigned thereafter. (See Martin First Amended Complaint at 2–3, Doc. 47.) The Martin Plaintiffs' first claim is, similar to Babb , Wilford , and Matthews , that compulsory collection of agency fees violates the First Amendment. (Id. ¶¶ 15–26.) Some Plaintiffs allege that they would not have joined the union or would have resigned earlier if not for the agency fee requirement, while others claim that "they were led to believe that union membership was a mandatory condition of their employment" and "were never informed of their constitutional right to quit the union." (Id. ¶¶ 17–19.) As part of first claim, Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent the future collection of agency fees (id. ¶ 84) as well as "refunds equal to the amount of the [agency fees] that [the Union Defendants] extracted from [Plaintiffs] regardless of whether they stayed in the union or resigned" (id. ¶ 24). Plaintiffs' second claim is that their First Amendment rights were violated because, while they were union members, they had to opt out of making a $ 20 annual payment to the Union Defendants if they did not wish to make the payment. (Id. ¶¶ 27–42.) Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief to prevent the Union Defendants from continuing to charge the $ 20, as well as retrospective relief for the funds paid while they were members. (Id. ¶¶ 39–42.) With their third claim, Plaintiffs challenge the federal and state constitutionality of California Government Code § 3558, which provides for public school employers to share with unions that represent their employees the contact information of bargaining unit employees whom the unions represent, unless the employee has requested that his or her contact information not be shared. (Id. ¶¶ 43–56.) The fourth claim is asserted only by Plaintiff Martin and alleges that California Education Code § 45060 violates the First Amendment because it provides that a union member must send a letter to the union, rather than to the employer, if the union member wishes to terminate membership dues deductions. (Id. ¶¶ 57–64.) Plaintiffs' fifth claim alleges that collective bargaining through an exclusive representative violates the First Amendment. (Id. ¶¶ 65–74.) Finally, the sixth claim is asserted only by Plaintiff Martin and alleges that the collective bargaining agreements between California school districts and the Union Defendants violate federal antitrust laws. (Id. ¶¶ 75–81, 89.)

The Union Defendants move to dismiss all of the Martin Plaintiffs' claims except the portion of the second claim that seeks retrospective monetary relief. (Martin Union Mem. at 1.) Plaintiffs have consented to dismissal of their fifth claim, as well as to dismissal of the prospective portions of their first and second claim. (Martin Union Opp. at 4, 23, 35.) Further, the State Defendants separately move to dismiss claims one and four. (Martin State Mem. at 1.)

Finally, the Plaintiff in Few is...

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