Caddell & Chapman represented current and former workers at American Airlines who were members of the Transport Workers Union (“TWU”) and accepted early separation offers in connection with American’s bankruptcy. TWU decided not to distribute any share of American equity that it received on behalf of its members in connection with the bankruptcy to those members who had accepted early separation. Plaintiffs alleged that their exclusion from any share in the equity was arbitrary, discriminatory, and in bad faith in light of the fact that they suffered significant impacts from the bankruptcy, including a loss of pension and retiree medical benefits, and gave up substantial claims when TWU agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement with American on their behalf.
Plaintiffs brought claims for breach of the union’s duty of fair representation and for injunctive relief and sought to represent a class of all TWU members who accepted early separation. On February 4, 2015, the district court granted TWU’s motion to dismiss the case, finding that TWU had reasonable grounds for excluding the class members from any share in the equity and did not unfairly discriminate against persons who accepted early separation. Caddell & Chapman appealed the district court’s dismissal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision.
The case wass Demetris v. Transport Workers Union of America, AFL/CIO, No. 13-CV-5566-VC (N.D. Cal.)