Del Casal v. Eastern Air Lines, Inc., No. 77-2279 CIV-JAG.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
Writing for the CourtGONZALEZ
Citation465 F. Supp. 1254
PartiesJ. E. Pelaez DEL CASAL, Plaintiff, v. EASTERN AIR LINES, INC., and the Air Line Pilots Association, International, Defendants.
Decision Date01 March 1979
Docket NumberNo. 77-2279 CIV-JAG.

465 F. Supp. 1254

J. E. Pelaez DEL CASAL, Plaintiff,
v.
EASTERN AIR LINES, INC., and the Air Line Pilots Association, International, Defendants.

No. 77-2279 CIV-JAG.

United States District Court, S. D. Florida.

March 1, 1979.


465 F. Supp. 1255

Larry S. Stewart, Frates, Floyd, Pearson, Stewart, Richman & Greer, P. A., Miami, Fla., David Block, Coral Gables, Fla., for plaintiff.

Carmen L. Leon, William G. Bell, Jr., Miami, Fla. by Carmen L. Leon, Miami, Fla., for defendant Eastern Airlines, Inc.

Manners, Amoon & Whatley by George H. Tucker, Maimi, Fla., for Airline Pilots Assoc., Intern.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

GONZALEZ, District Judge.

THIS CAUSE is before the Court upon the Motion for Partial Summary Judgment of the Plaintiff, J. E. Pelaez Del Casal ("Casal"); and the Motion for Summary Judgment of the Defendant, Airlines Pilots Association, International ("ALPA"). The Defendant, Eastern Airlines, Inc. ("Eastern") renewed its Motion for Summary Judgment at the hearing of the motions for summary judgment of Casal and ALPA.

The Court finds that the Plaintiff, J. E. Pelaez Del Casal, is entitled to Summary

465 F. Supp. 1256
Judgment as to Count II against the Defendant, Airline Pilots Association, International, based upon a breach of ALPA's duty of fair representation

The Court further finds that the Defendant, Eastern Airlines is entitled to Summary Judgment as to Count I based upon wrongful discharge.

I. THE FACTS

The Plaintiff, Del Casal, was a pilot employed by the defendant, Eastern. While so employed he was unsuccessful in several attempts to become a member of ALPA. ALPA is the exclusive bargaining agent for Eastern's pilots.

On May 29, 1975, Del Casal was discharged from his employment with Eastern. Del Casal immediately filed a grievance pursuant to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement between ALPA and Eastern. The grievance procedure allows a disciplined or discharged pilot to have his case reviewed by specified high-level company officials. The plaintiff was assisted by an ALPA staff attorney during the initial grievance procedure.

Having failed to reverse his discharge, Del Casal requested ALPA to submit his grievance to the Eastern Airlines Pilots System Board of Adjustment. ("System Board"). The System Board was established under the collective bargaining agreement as required by the Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. § 184, to settle disputes between pilots and Eastern. The System Board is composed of two members selected by Eastern and two members selected by ALPA. The collective bargaining agreement also provides for a fifth neutral member, selected from a pre-composed list of experienced arbitrators, to be seated when the four man board becomes deadlocked. The partisan board members are contractually assured the right to discharge their duties "in an independent manner."

ALPA staff attorney, John Loomos, submitted Del Casal's grievance to the System Board on July 8, 1975. The issue presented to the System Board was whether Eastern was justified in discharging Del Casal for the reasons stated in the letter of discharge dated May 29, 1975. The letter of discharge cited repeated instances of demonstrated incompetence despite warnings and retraining sessions.

Del Casal's position at the System Board was that his discharge was wrongful in two interrelated respects. First, Del Casal contended that Eastern violated the procedural provisions of the bargaining agreement by considering evidence in violation of Section 41(I) which prohibits the use of disciplinary letters over three years old, or letters based upon dissimilar infractions. Second, he contended that based upon the untainted evidence, the termination was not based upon good cause.

Subsequent to the filing of Del Casal's grievance with the System Board by John Loomos, but prior to the actual hearing, the plaintiff was advised by Mr. Loomos, ALPA's staff attorney, that he would not be allowed to represent the plaintiff at the hearing. Mr. Loomos' letter stated, "I was recently advised by the association that I could not represent you at the hearing to be held by the System Board of Adjustment because you are not a member." (emphasis added). The letter continued by advising the plaintiff that it would be wise for him to request a continuance and retain the services of an attorney.

On September 12, 1975 David Block, a privately retained attorney, notified the System Board that he would be representing Del Casal at the hearing. On January 8, April 13-14, and June 2, 1976 a four member System Board was convened to consider the dispute between Del Casal and Eastern. At the June 2, 1976 session Del Casal's attorney presented a motion contending that Eastern's discharge was wrongful since it was based upon evidence violative of Section 41 of the collective bargaining agreement.

The four member board deadlocked on the procedural issue of whether Eastern could or could not use certain evidence as a predicate for establishing good cause to terminate Del Casal. On June 29 the four

465 F. Supp. 1257
member board issued its ruling noting that it was deadlocked and that the issue would be presented to a fifth neutral member. On July 2, 1976 David Block informed the board that it was his desire to have only the procedural issue decided by the neutral

On August 10-11, 1976 the five member board convened to determine the procedural issue. Eastern initially submitted evidence and gave legal argument in support of its use of the disputed evidence. Del Casal maintained that said evidence was not admissible under the collective bargaining agreement. Mr. Block was advised that he would be given adequate opportunity to rebut the testimony produced by Eastern. At the close of Eastern's case, however, the System Board met in a closed executive session. The five member board then agreed with plaintiff and decided that Eastern could not use evidence not in accordance with Section 41 of the agreement to support its termination of plaintiff.

The four member board thereafter again convened on September 15, 1976 and on January 11-13, 1977 to determine whether Eastern was justified in terminating the plaintiff considering only such evidence as was not in violation of the collective bargaining agreement. On February 7, 1977 the System Board issued a ruling finding that Eastern was justified in terminating Del Casal.

The plaintiff then instituted this action seeking to set aside the decision of the System Board and a de novo review of his claim of wrongful discharge. The plaintiff also presses a claim against ALPA for monetary damages alleging a breach of its duty of fair representation.

In attempting to set aside the decision of the System Board the plaintiff alleges that the System Board hearing denied him procedural due process by not allowing him to rebut the testimony presented by Eastern to the five member board. The plaintiff further argues that the System Board decision is ipso facto not entitled a judicial cloak of finality since it is the result of ALPA's breach of duty to fairly represent him.

II. DUTY OF FAIR REPRESENTATION

The plaintiff contends that ALPA breached its duty of fair representation by refusing to allow its staff attorney, John Loomos, to represent him at the System Board hearing. ALPA states that it has no duty to furnish grievants an attorney at System Board hearings; and, indeed, that it has no duty to proceed with any...

To continue reading

Request your trial
4 practice notes
  • Krakowski v. Am. Airlines, Inc. (In re Amr Corp.), Case No. 11–15463 SHL
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Second Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Southern District of New York
    • September 3, 2015
    ...TWA pilots in the arbitration. See AMR's Letter Response [ECF No. 63] (citing, among other things, Del Casal v. E. Air L ines, Inc., 465 F.Supp. 1254 (S.D.Fla.1979), aff'd, 634 F.2d 295 (5th Cir.1981) ). But the Del Casal case is distinguishable. In Del Casal, the plaintiff had a union-prov......
  • Krakowski v. Am. Airlines, Inc. (In re Amr Corp.), Case No. 11-15463 (SHL)
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Second Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Southern District of New York
    • September 3, 2015
    ...TWA pilots in the arbitration. See AMR's Letter Response [ECF No. 63] (citing, among other things, Del Casal v. E. Airlines, Inc., 465 F. Supp. 1254 (S.D. Fla. 1979), aff'd, 634 F.2d 295 (5th Cir. 1981)). But the Del Casal case is distinguishable. In Del Casal, the plaintiff had a union-pro......
  • Del Casal v. Eastern Airlines, Inc., Nos. 79-1880
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • January 16, 1981
    ...any other expenses incurred as a direct and proximate result of having to retain private counsel. Del Casal v. Eastern Airlines, Inc., 465 F.Supp. 1254 (S.D. Fla. 1979). The cause was set for trial as to these damages. The district court granted Eastern's motion for summary judgment against......
  • Coppage v. U.S. Postal Service, No. 7:00-CV-18-WDO.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Georgia
    • October 30, 2000
    ...that "once [a] claim is taken to arbitration, the union must advocate the employee's position." Del Casal v. Eastern Air Lines, Inc., 465 F.Supp. 1254, 1258 (S.D.Fla.1979) (citing N.L.R.B. v. P.P.G. Industries, Inc., 579 F.2d 1057, 1059 (7th Cir.1978). Another court held that this duty "req......
4 cases
  • Krakowski v. Am. Airlines, Inc. (In re Amr Corp.), Case No. 11–15463 SHL
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Second Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Southern District of New York
    • September 3, 2015
    ...TWA pilots in the arbitration. See AMR's Letter Response [ECF No. 63] (citing, among other things, Del Casal v. E. Air L ines, Inc., 465 F.Supp. 1254 (S.D.Fla.1979), aff'd, 634 F.2d 295 (5th Cir.1981) ). But the Del Casal case is distinguishable. In Del Casal, the plaintiff had a union-prov......
  • Krakowski v. Am. Airlines, Inc. (In re Amr Corp.), Case No. 11-15463 (SHL)
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Second Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Southern District of New York
    • September 3, 2015
    ...TWA pilots in the arbitration. See AMR's Letter Response [ECF No. 63] (citing, among other things, Del Casal v. E. Airlines, Inc., 465 F. Supp. 1254 (S.D. Fla. 1979), aff'd, 634 F.2d 295 (5th Cir. 1981)). But the Del Casal case is distinguishable. In Del Casal, the plaintiff had a union-pro......
  • Del Casal v. Eastern Airlines, Inc., Nos. 79-1880
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • January 16, 1981
    ...any other expenses incurred as a direct and proximate result of having to retain private counsel. Del Casal v. Eastern Airlines, Inc., 465 F.Supp. 1254 (S.D. Fla. 1979). The cause was set for trial as to these damages. The district court granted Eastern's motion for summary judgment against......
  • Coppage v. U.S. Postal Service, No. 7:00-CV-18-WDO.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Georgia
    • October 30, 2000
    ...that "once [a] claim is taken to arbitration, the union must advocate the employee's position." Del Casal v. Eastern Air Lines, Inc., 465 F.Supp. 1254, 1258 (S.D.Fla.1979) (citing N.L.R.B. v. P.P.G. Industries, Inc., 579 F.2d 1057, 1059 (7th Cir.1978). Another court held that this duty "req......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT