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Reed v. Ardagh Glass, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

December 29, 2016

DANIEL REED, Plaintiff,


          William C. Lee, Judge United States District Court

         This matter is before the court on a motion to take judicial notice filed by Defendants United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (“International”) and its Local 115T (collectively, “the Union”), on September 16, 2016. The other parties have not responded or objected to the motion.

         Also before the court is a motion for summary judgment filed by the Union on September 16, 2016. The plaintiff, Daniel Reed (“Reed”), filed his response on October 14, 2016, to which the Union replied on October 31, 2016.

         Additionally, on September 19, 2016, defendant Ardagh Glass, Inc. (“Ardagh” or “the Company”) filed a motion for summary judgment. Reed filed a response to the motion on October 17, 2016 to which Ardagh replied on November 4, 2016.

         For the following reasons, all three motions will be granted.


         The court will first discuss the motion to take judicial notice. The Union requests the Court to take judicial notice of the following Indiana state court documents, which have been submitted as exhibits:

1. February 11, 2010 restraining order against Reed issued by the Jay County, Indiana, Circuit Court.
2. February 23, 2010 permanent injunction against Reed issued by the Jay County, Indiana, Circuit Court.
3. March 26, 2010 motion for order of contempt filed in the Jay County, Indiana, Circuit Court.
4. March 26, 2010 Chronological Case Summary entry regarding contempt hearing date setting issued by the Jay County, Indiana, Circuit Court.
5. April 30, 2010 Order on Sanctions of the Jay County, Indiana, Circuit Court on contempt motion.
6. May 24, 2010 motion to correct errors filed by Reed on the contempt order filed in the Jay County, Indiana, Circuit Court.
7. June 30, 2010 Order Denying Motion To Correct Errors by the Jay County, Indiana, Circuit Court.
8. July 29, 2010 Notice of Appeal From Trial Court filed by Reed over the contempt order with the Jay County, Indiana, Circuit Court.
9. August 29, 2011 Indiana Court of Appeals opinion affirming ruling of trial court denying motion to correct errors on contempt order.

         As noted, there is no objection to the motion. The court will grant the motion.

         Next, the court will turn to the motions for summary judgment. Summary judgment must be granted when “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A genuine issue of material fact exists when “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Not every dispute between the parties precludes summary judgment, however, since “[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law” warrant a trial. Id. To determine whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the court must construe all facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Heft v. Moore, 351 F.3d 278, 282 (7th Cir. 2003). A party opposing a properly supported summary judgment motion may not rely merely on allegations or denials in its own pleading, but rather must “marshal and present the court with the evidence she contends will prove her case.” Goodman v. Nat'l Sec. Agency, Inc., 621 F.3d 651, 654 (7th Cir. 2010).

         In his July 23, 2015 Complaint, Reed alleges that the Union breached the duty of fair representation they owed to Reed after his former employer and co-Defendant Ardagh Glass, terminated him on February 12, 2010. Reed also alleges that Ardagh Glass breached the Collective Bargaining Agreement (“ CBA”). The Union and Ardagh Glass have filed separate motions for summary judgment.

         The following facts are relevant to both motions. Keith Olmstead is a Staff Representative for USW District 7. Olmstead has held this position since October 29, 1995. As a Staff Representative, Olmstead negotiates contracts on behalf of USW local unions and the International. These contracts include grievance-arbitration procedures that allow actions by employers to be challenged as being inconsistent with the applicable contract. Olmstead meets with local union officials and companies to try to resolve grievances that have been filed once they have reached the applicable step of the contractual grievance-arbitration procedure. If Olmstead and the local union cannot resolve the grievances with the Company, Olmstead has the authority to advance grievances to arbitration. Olmstead is responsible for presenting arbitration cases on behalf of the International and the local unions he represents for grievances that have been advanced to arbitration. He has handled more than fifty arbitrations.

         Since 2005, the USW and its Local 115T have been the exclusive collective bargaining representative for the Mold Makers and Mold-Making Apprentices who work at the Company's Dunkirk, Indiana facility. A separate Dunkirk facility bargaining unit is represented by Local 124 of the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers Union (“GMP”). The Union and the Company were parties to a CBA effective between September 1, 2008 and August 31, 2013. GMP and Local 124 negotiated separate collective bargaining agreements with the Company. The CBA between the Union and the Company included a five-step grievance-arbitration procedure in Article 25 that could culminate in “final and binding” arbitration. Under this procedure, the arbitrator could not add to, subtract from or modify any provisions of the CBA.

         Reed was a bargaining unit employee who was employed by the Company from July 6, 1998 until his termination on February 12, 2010. Between 2004 and 2010, he was the President of USW Local 115T. Reed went on sickness and accident disability leave from the Company on January 7, 2010. On January 25, 2010, while he was still on sickness and accident disability leave, Reed was on Company property. The Company contended that Reed did not have permission to be on its property at that time. Reed alleges in his response to the motion for summary judgment that he went to the plant to obtain a write-up because he was investigating the Company's time clock policy which he believed had led to inconsistent discipline among the union members he served. (Reed Decl ¶¶ 4, 5).

         On the evening of January 26, 2010, while still on sickness and accident disability leave, Reed went on the Company property again. The Company again contended that Reed did not have permission to be on its property. On that day, a confrontation occurred between Reed and Company Supervisor Tim Coleman and Reed was asked to leave the Company property. During this confrontation, Reed testified that Coleman twice told Reed that Coleman had orders to “throw [Reed] out.” (Reed Dep. p. 86; Reed Dep. Ex. 11). In response, Reed testified that he told Coleman that he had three choices: 1) Coleman could get the Company's supervisor and plant manager Kim Pratt on the phone; 2) Coleman could call the police; or 3) Coleman could throw Reed out. (Reed Dep. p. 86). Reed made similar admissions about his January 26, 2010 confrontation with Coleman in his written statements outlining his version of the events of that day. (Reed Dep. Ex. 11; Reed Dep. Ex. 22). Reed again claims that he was on Company property to conduct union business.

         On February 1, 2010, the Company sent Reed a letter informing him that he was suspended pending termination for his actions during the January 26, 2010 incident. (Olmstead Decl. ¶ 8, Ex. 2). The suspension letter stated, in relevant part:

This decision has been made due to the behavior you displayed on January 26, 2010 whereby you were blatantly insubordinate towards management, and inevitably created a hostile work environment for both management and non-management personnel.


         On February 12, 2010, the Company converted Reed's disciplinary suspension to a termination. (Olmstead Decl. ¶ 10, Ex. 3). The termination letter stated, in relevant part:

This action was taken in part because, on January 25 and 26, 2010, you threatened SGCI supervisors; trespassed on company property when you had no right to be in the plant; and, after having been specifically told not to be on plant property, engaged in blatant ...

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