This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Nelson W. Womack,
John Does 1-5,
Filed May 15, 2007
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 27-CV-05-016598
Jill Clark, Jill Clark, P.A.,
Karin E. Peterson, Ann E. Walther, Rice, Michels & Walther, LLP, 10 Second Street N.E., Suite 206, Minneapolis, MN 55413 (for respondent Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board)
Duane G. Johnson, Duane G.
Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge; Shumaker, Judge; and Crippen, Judge.*
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant challenges the district court’s dismissal of his petition to vacate an arbitration award and his common-law fraud claim. Appellant argues that the district court erred by finding that (1) he lacked standing to vacate the arbitration award, (2) he was required and failed to file a timely motion to vacate the award, (3) his petition to vacate the award does not state a claim upon which relief may be granted, and (4) his common-law fraud claim against the respondent Park Board fails to state a claim because it is an improper attempt to vacate the award. Because appellant lacks standing to vacate the arbitration award and because he failed to state a claim of fraud against the Park Board, we affirm.
Appellant Nelson Womack worked for
In September 2002, Womack signed out a Park Board van, and it was involved in a hit-and-run accident. The Park Board discharged Womack the following month. Respondent Minneapolis Professional Employees Association (MPEA), Womack’s labor union, filed a grievance on his behalf under a collective-bargaining agreement (CBA) with the Park Board.
The grievance proceeded to arbitration. The CBA states that an arbitrator’s decision is “final and binding” and that “the grievance and arbitration procedures . . . are the sole and exclusive means of resolving all grievances arising under [the CBA].” The arbitrator explained that Womack knowingly failed to maintain a valid driver’s license and that he bore some responsibility for the Park Board van involved in the hit-and-run accident. The arbitrator dismissed Womack’s grievance, finding that Womack’s conduct amounted to “a level of negligence equivalent to misconduct . . .  [that] constitutes just cause for discharge.” MPEA informed Womack that it would not appeal.
Over two years later Womack filed a “petition to vacate the arbitration award and complaint” in district court but never filed a motion to vacate. Womack alleged that the Park Board intentionally removed two pages from a police report involving the hit-and-run accident with the Park Board van and that information in the missing pages would have affected the arbitrator’s decision. Womack alleged that he discovered that the pages were missing in July 2005, and filed his petition within 90 days thereafter. Womack claimed to assert a “hybrid” cause of action, alleging that MPEA breached its duty of fair representation by refusing to appeal and that the Park Board breached the CBA.
The MPEA and Park Board moved to dismiss Womack’s claims for failing to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Womack then served an amended petition and complaint that included a separate fraud claim against the Park Board seeking damages.
The district court granted the motions to dismiss. The district court explained that Womack lacked standing, failed to file a motion to vacate, failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, and his fraud claim was an improper attempt to vacate an arbitration award. This appeal followed.
D E C I S I O N
Womack challenges the district
court’s dismissal of his petition to vacate the arbitration award because he
lacks standing since he was not a party to the arbitration. We review the legal issue of standing de
novo. In re Petition for Improvement of
It is well settled that “an
individual employee may not appeal an unfavorable award where the union
expressly determines not to appeal.” Eisen v. State, Dep’t of Pub. Welfare,
352 N.W.2d 731, 736 (
Womack contends that he should be able to petition to vacate the award because he claimed that MPEA breached its duty of fair representation. He argues that MPEA breached its duty by refusing to petition the district court on his behalf, and therefore he has individual standing to challenge the arbitration award.
A labor union breaches its duty of
fair representation when the representation is “arbitrary, discriminatory, or
in bad faith which is substantially evidenced by fraud, deceitful action or
dishonest conduct by the union.” Allen v.
Because Womack lacks standing to challenge the arbitration award, we do not address the alternative reasons the district court cited for dismissing his claim.
Womack also challenges the district court’s dismissal of his fraud claim against the Park Board, arguing that his complaint adequately alleges fraud.
district court dismissed Womack’s claim pursuant to Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(e)
for failing to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, and we review
rule 12.02(e) dismissals de novo. Leonard v. Nw. Airlines, 605 N.W.2d 425,
The district court dismissed Womack’s claim as an impermissible attempt to vacate the arbitration award. But the petition and complaint set forth the fraud claim as a separate count from the claims seeking to vacate the award, and Womack sought relief in the form of money damages. Therefore, Womack’s fraud claim against the Park Board was separate and distinct from his attempt to vacate the award, and the district court provided an improper basis for dismissing the claim.
we “will not reverse a correct decision simply because it is based on incorrect
reasons.” Katz v. Katz, 408 N.W.2d 835, 839 (
Although Womack’s complaint sets forth his theories about the Park Board’s potential motive behind the alleged nondisclosure, he fails to adequately allege particular facts about who removed the information and when or where it occurred. Moreover, Womack admits that he does not know who committed the alleged fraud and only relies on “information and belief” in setting forth his theories. These allegations are insufficient to meet the specific pleading requirements for fraud, and Womack’s complaint was properly dismissed.
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.