United States District Court, S.D. Florida
DANNY M. TARANTINO, Plaintiff,
JEFFERY RIDDELL, et al., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS
BLOOM, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CAUSE is before the Court upon the Motion to Dismiss
Complaint filed by Defendants Jeffery Riddell, Sandra Munoz,
and Gail Thompson (collectively, “Defendants”) on
September 6, 2017, ECF No. . The Court has carefully
reviewed the Motion, all opposing and supporting materials,
the record in this case and the applicable law, and is
otherwise fully advised. For the reasons set forth below, the
Motion is granted.
filed his Complaint, ECF No.  (“Complaint”),
pursuant to Section 501(b) of the Labor Management Reporting
and Disclosure Act, 29 U.S.C. § 501, et seq.
(“LMRDA”) on July 24, 2017. In his Complaint,
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated Section 501(a) of
the LMRDA by breaching their fiduciary duties to the Broward
County Area Local-1201 of the American Postal Workers Union
(“Union”). ECF No.  ¶ 1.
is an employee of the United States Postal Service
(“USPS”) and a member of the Union. Id.
¶ 4. Defendants Riddell, Munoz, and Thompson serve as
the President, Vice President, and Maintenance Craft Shop
Steward, respectively, of the Union. Id. ¶ 5-7.
The events that precipitated this lawsuit began when
Tarantino, who was certified by Defendant Riddell to serve as
a representative for the maintenance craft in internal Union
arbitrations, assisted in an overtime settlement for certain
Union members working in the USPS Fort Lauderdale Main
Office. Id. ¶¶ 9-10, 14 (the “Fort
Lauderdale Settlement” or “Settlement”).
While it is not clear from the allegations in the Complaint
under what circumstances Tarantino and Defendant Thompson
began discussing the Fort Lauderdale Settlement, Tarantino
and Thompson apparently engaged in a “heated
disagreement” about the potential compensation Thompson
would receive as a result of the Settlement. Id.
¶¶ 15, 52-53. Plaintiff alleges that after this
disagreement, Thompson “made numerous complaints”
to Riddell and Munoz, and as a result Plaintiff was
“decertified” from handling the Fort Lauderdale
Settlement. Id. ¶¶ 16, 55. According to
Plaintiff, after he was decertified, Riddell and Munoz
“signed off on the [S]ettlement, ” which included
certain payments to Thompson which Plaintiff did not believe
that Thompson deserved. Id. ¶ 16.
thereafter, Plaintiff states that he “resigned”
and requested information about the salaries of Riddell and
Munoz. Id. ¶ 18. Tarantino alleges did not
receive the requested salary information from the Union, but
he did receive certain monthly financial reports.
Id. ¶¶ 19-20. According to these reports,
Riddell and Munoz received salaries from the Union while also
performing some work for the “International
Union.” Id. ¶¶ 20, 25-29, 31-35.
Plaintiff alleges both Riddell and Munoz, as salaried
employees of the Union, may not perform any work that is not
“for the benefit of the Local Union” and that
performing work for the International Union is not part of
their duties under the Union's constitution. Id.
Plaintiff also alleges that Riddell and Munoz did not submit
the “required Leave Without Pay slips” for the
days when they performed work for the International Union,
resulting in both the Union and the International Union
paying Riddell and Munoz for the same work. Id.
¶¶ 37-38, 40-41.
on this information, Plaintiff filed internal charges with
the Union which were dismissed by a three member panel of the
executive board. Id. ¶ 21. Subsequently,
Plaintiff alleges he sent a “demand to sue to
recover” letter and that no response was received.
Id. ¶ 22. It is not alleged who Plaintiff sent
this letter to or when it was sent.
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges nine causes of action. Counts
I-IV allege that Riddell and Munoz violated Section 501 when
they performed duties for both the Union and the
International Union in violation of their fiduciary duties
and were doubly compensated for that work. Id.
¶¶ 25-29, 31-35, 37-38, 40-41. Counts V-VI allege
that Riddell and Munoz violated Section 501 when they failed
to disclose their salaries. Id. ¶¶ 43, 45.
Counts VII-VIII allege that Munoz and Riddell violated
Section 501 by breaching their fiduciary duties to the Union
when they signed off on the Fort Lauderdale Settlement.
Id. ¶¶ 47, 49. Count IX, the only count
against Thompson, alleges that Thompson violated Section 501
when she received compensation from the Fort Lauderdale
Settlement. Id. ¶¶ 51-58.
Defendants initially moved to dismiss the Complaint pursuant
to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6),
within their Reply Defendants have withdrawn their 12(b)(1)
arguments. ECF No.  at 1. Accordingly, the Court will
only address Defendants' arguments under 12(b)(6), as
well as Defendants' arguments regarding lack of service.
Defendants do not move to dismiss Count III and only move to
dismiss Count IV based upon a lack of service.
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the legal
sufficiency of a complaint. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
12(b)(6). To survive such a motion, a claim “must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.' ” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Although this pleading standard
“does not require ‘detailed factual allegations,
' . . . it demands more than an unadorned,
the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation, ”
meaning that a plaintiff is required to plead sufficient
“factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556-56). Thus, while a
court must accept well-pleaded factual allegations as true,
“conclusory allegations . . . are not entitled to an
assumption of truth-legal conclusions must be supported by
factual allegations.” Randall v. Scott, 610
F.3d 701, 709-10 (11th Cir. 2010).
considering a motion to dismiss, the Court construes the
pleadings broadly and views the allegations in the complaint
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Bishop v.
Ross Earle & Bonan, P.A., 817 F.3d 1268, 1270 (11th
Cir. 2016); Levine v. World Fin. Network Nat'l
Bank, 437 F.3d 1118, 1120 (11th Cir. 2006).
Additionally, pro se pleadings, as before the Court
here, are held to a less stringent standard than pleadings
drafted by attorneys and must be liberally construed.
Hughes v. Lott, 350 F.3d 1157, 1160 (11th Cir.
2003); see also Faulk v. City of Orlando, 731 F.2d
787, 789-90 (11th Cir. 1984) (“A pro se
complaint ‘however inartfully pleaded must be held to
‘less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted
by lawyers' ”) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble,
429 U.S. 97, 107 (1976)).
Documents Considered by the Court
threshold matter, the Court first considers which portions of
the record may be properly considered on this Motion. On
March 20, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Request for Leave of Court
to file his Complaint as required by statute. See
ECF No.  (“Request”). Per Plaintiff's
election, this Request was filed ex parte. See
Id. Plaintiff attached to the Request several exhibits
which appear to be communications with Union officials and
Union governing materials and financial records. See
ECF No. [1-1]. However, when Plaintiff filed his ...