United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Tara Craft Adams, Thomas R. Revnew, and Douglas P. Seaton, Seaton, Peters & Revnew, PA, Counsel for Plaintiffs.
Alan I. Gilbert and Jacob D. Campion, Minnesota Attorney General's Office, Counsel for Defendants Mark Dayton, Josh Tilsen, and Lucinda Jesson.
Peder J.V. Thoreen and Scott A. Kronland, Altshuler Berzon LLP, and Brendan D. Cummins and Justin D. Cummins, Cummins & Cummins, PLLP, Counsel for Defendant SEIU Healthcare of Minnesota.
MEMORANDUM OF LAW & ORDER
Michael J. Davis, Chief United States District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on Defendant SEIU Healthcare Minnesota's Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint [Docket No. 43] and Defendants Mark Dayton, Josh Tilsen, and Lucinda Jesson's Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint [Docket No. 47]. Also before the Court is Defendant SEIU Healthcare of Minnesota's Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions [Docket No. 57]. The Court heard oral argument on the Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions on December 12, 2014, and considered the motions to dismiss on the parties' submissions.
For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants the Motions to Dismiss the Amended Complaint and denies Defendant SEIU Healthcare of Minnesota's Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions.
A. Factual Background
1. The Parties
Plaintiffs are six individuals who allege they provide homecare services to disabled individuals and family members as part of Minnesota's Medicaid programs. (Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 1-6 [Docket No. 42].) Under these programs, the State of Minnesota pays homecare providers, like Plaintiffs, to deliver vital " direct support services" to individuals with disabilities or the elderly. See Minn. Stat. § 256B.0711, subd. 1(b).
Defendant SEIU Healthcare Minnesota (" SEIU" ) is a labor organization, elected in 2014 to represent personal healthcare attendants in Minnesota. (Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 10, 27 and Ex. D.) Defendant Mark Dayton is sued in his official capacity as the governor of Minnesota. (Id. ¶ 7.) Defendant Josh Tilsen is sued in his official capacity as the Commissioner of the Bureau of Mediation Services (" BMS" ), which administers labor relations programs in Minnesota. (Id. ¶ 8.) Defendant Lucinda Jesson is sued in her official capacity as the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services (" DHS" ), which provides essential services to Minnesota seniors, people with disabilities, and children. (Id. ¶ 9.)
2. The Individual Providers of Direct Support Services Representation Act
In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs challenge the Individual Providers of Direct Support Services Representation Act (" Act" ), 2013 Minn. Law Ch. 128, Art. 2, codified at Minn. Stat. § 179A.54, § 256B.0711. (Am. Compl. p. 1.) The Act, signed by Governor Dayton on May 24, 2013, provides that, " [f]or the purposes of the Public Employment Labor Relations Act . . . individual [homecare] providers shall be considered . . . executive branch state employees. . . . This section does not require the treatment of individual providers as public employees for any other purpose." Minn. Stat. § 179A.54, subd. 2; see also Minn. Stat. § 179A.54, subd. 1(b); Minn. Stat. § 256B.0711, subd. 1(d).
3. The Election of SEIU as Exclusive Representative for Individual Homecare Providers
Under Minnesota's Public Employment Labor Relations Act (" PELRA" ), public employees have " the right by secret ballot to designate an exclusive representative to negotiate . . . the terms and conditions of employment with their employer." Minn. Stat. § 179A.06, subd. 2. Once a union is certified under PELRA, the public employer " has an obligation to meet and negotiate in good faith with the exclusive representative . . . regarding . . . the terms and conditions of employment." Minn. Stat. § 179A.07, subd. 2. For state
employees, any agreement reached must be presented to the Minnesota legislature for approval or rejection. Minn. Stat. § 179A.22, subd. 4. If a union is certified under PELRA, the employees in the bargaining unit are not required to become members of the union: PELRA gives employees the " right not to . . . join such organizations" and makes it an " unfair labor practice" for public employers or employee organizations to " restrain or coerce" employees in the exercise of that right. Minn. Stat. § 179A.06, subd. 2; § 179A.13, subds. 1, 2(1), 3(1).
On August 26, 2014, SEIU was certified as the exclusive representative for individual homecare providers. (Am. Compl. ¶ 27 and Ex. D.)
B. Procedural History
1. Motion for Preliminary Injunctive Relief
On August 18, 2014, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint against Defendants Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton; BMS; Josh Tilsen, in his official capacity as BMS Commissioner; DHS; Lucinda Jesson, in her official capacity as DHS Commissioner; and SEIU. [Docket No. 1] The Complaint alleged one count of Preemption by Federal Labor Law. Also on August 18, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction, or in the Alternative, a Temporary Restraining Order ...