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Teamsters Local Union No. 436 v. City of Cleveland

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

December 12, 2017

Teamsters Local Union No. 436, Appellant-Appellant,
v.
City of Cleveland, Appellee-Appellee State Employment Relations Board, Intervenor-Appellee.

         APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas C.P.C. No. 13CV-13857.

         On brief:

          The Chandra Law Firm, LLC, Subodh Chandra, and Donald Screen, for appellant.

         Argued:

          Donald Screen.

         On brief:

          Littler Mendelson, P.C., Stephen J. Sferra, Robert M. Wolff, and Inna Shelley, for appellee City of Cleveland.

         Argued:

          Robert M. Wolff

         On brief:

          Michael DeWine, Attorney General, and Michael D. Allen, for Intervenor-appellee State Employment Relations Board.

         Argued:

          Michael D. Allen.

          DECISION

          DORRIAN, J.

         {¶ 1} Appellant-appellant, Teamsters Local Union No. 436 ("the Union"), appeals from the September 15, 2016 judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas affirming the December 13, 2013 order issued by intervenor-appellee, State Employment Relations Board ("SERB"), dismissing the Union's request to be recognized as the exclusive bargaining representative for the Assistant Directors of Law ("ADLs") in the Civil Division of the Department of Law of appellee-appellee, City of Cleveland ("Cleveland"). For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         {¶ 2} On July 11, 2012, the Union filed a request for recognition with SERB, seeking to be recognized as the exclusive representative for purposes of collective bargaining for all ADLs in the Civil Division of Cleveland's Department of Law. Cleveland filed an objection to the request for recognition and moved to dismiss, asserting SERB lacked jurisdiction. In the alternative, Cleveland argued ADLs were excluded from the definition of public employees for purposes of the public employee collective bargaining statute. The Union filed a memorandum in opposition to Cleveland's objection and motion to dismiss.

         {¶ 3} A SERB administrative law judge ("ALJ") conducted a three-day evidentiary hearing on the request for recognition. On October 15, 2013, the ALJ issued a recommended determination, which included detailed findings of fact and recommended SERB dismiss the request for recognition with prejudice. The Union filed exceptions to the recommended determination. The Union also filed a motion to withdraw the request for recognition without prejudice. Cleveland filed a memoranda in opposition to the Union's exceptions and motion to withdraw.

         {¶ 4} On December 13, 2013, SERB issued an order dismissing the Union's request for recognition. The order adopted the ALJ's recommended determination and held ADLs were exempt from the definition of the term "public employee" contained in the collective bargaining statute. The order also denied the motion to withdraw, concluding that permitting withdrawal of the request for recognition without prejudice after the ...


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