United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
JOE M. JACKSON, JR. Plaintiff,
SUPERINTENDENT DERRICK M. TAYLOR, ET AL, Defendants.
ORDER CONSOLIDATING CASES, MODIFYING THE DOCKET,
DISMISSING FEDERAL CLAIMS WITH PREJUDICE, DISMISSING STATE
LAW CLAIMS WITHOUT PREJUDICE, CERTIFYING APPEAL WOULD NOT BE
TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH, AND NOTIFYING PLAINTIFF OF APPELLATE
THOMAS ANDERSON, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
31, 2016, Plaintiff Joe M. Jackson, Jr., an inmate at the
South Central Correctional Facility in Clifton, Tennessee,
filed two pro se complaints alleging various federal
and state law claims. Both complaints were accompanied by a
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
Jackson's first complaint was docketed as 16-2375, this
instant matter, and his second complaint was docketed as case
number 16-2376. In both cases, the Court granted Jackson
leave to proceed in forma pauperis and assessed the
civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b).
Jackson adds additional defendants in the second complaint,
both complaints contain the same factual allegations.
Accordingly, because both complaints involve common questions
of law or fact, the Court ORDERS the two
cases to be consolidated for all purposes, pursuant to Rule
42(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, under the
earlier docket number. The Clerk shall close file number
16-2376 after placing a copy of this order in the file.
Thereafter, the Clerk shall place copies of all documents in
case number 16-2375.
complaint seeks relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§
1983, 1985(3), and 1988; 29 U.S.C. §§
1132(a)(1)(B), 1132(a)(3), and 185; and T.C.A. §
28-3-109(a)(3). The Clerk shall MODIFY the
docket and record the defendants as Superintendent Derrick M.
Taylor, Secretary Connie W. Wacaster, Assistant
Superintendent W.B. McDaniel, Trainmaster Jeremy T. Brown,
General Superintendent Andrew Martin, Trainmaster L.G.
Jenkins, Engineer Theodore Elliott, Medical Services Senior
Manager Hallie Burhoe, Dale McPherson, Canadian
National/Illinois Central Gulf Railroad
(“Railroad”),  United Transportation Union
(“UTU”), Local Chairman William A. St. John, and
Local Chairman Jeff W. Callahan. Defendants are sued in their
individual and official capacity.
action arises out of Jackson's termination from his
position with the Railroad. He alleges that he was terminated
without due process and without appropriate representation
from his union and that he was subjected to discriminatory
conduct by Defendants. On March 3, 2007, Jackson, an
African-American male, was a member of the UTU and was
employed as a conductor with the Railroad. (Compl. at 6, ECF
No. 1.) On March 7, 2007, Jackson received a letter notifying
him of a formal investigation by Assistant Superintendent
T.D. Corzine, who is not a party to this suit, to determine
if Jackson had any responsibility regarding how hazardous
equipment was placed on a train on March 3, 2007.
(Id.) The complaint alleges that, on April 11, 2007,
Jackson signed a resolution admitting guilt to the above
described infraction without any UTU representation and over
his protestations of unfairness which were disregarded by
Railroad officials. (Id. at 7-8.)
April 21, 2007, Jackson was working alongside a trainmaster
as a brakeman. (Id. at 8.) Jackson was allegedly
told by the Caucasian trainmaster that he needed to have a
urinalysis and breathalyzer test because “that's
how we treat blacks around here.” (Id.) After
taking the tests and getting results of .038 and .031 on the
breathalyzer, Jackson was removed from service and taken home
by a Railroad official. (Id. at 9.) On May 3, 2007,
Jackson received a letter stating that he had violated the
Railroad's Substance and Alcohol Free Environment Policy
and was required to get a referral for a substance abuse
professional. (Id.) Ten days after requesting a
referral, Jackson contacted Superintendent Taylor about
returning to work but was told by his secretary that
Superintendent Taylor had fired him. (Id.) On June
15, 2007, after receiving a letter officially terminating
him, Jackson contacted his union representative, Chairman St.
John, regarding his dismissal without a hearing and was told
by St. John that an appeal would be filed.
contends that his unemployment during the appeal process was
in violation of UTU's Collective Bargaining Agreement
(“CBA”). (Id. at 9-13.) Despite frequent
calls from Jackson, St. John did not meet with Jackson until
June 2009, twenty-four months after the appeal was processed.
(Id. at 13.) At that time, St. John informed Jackson
that Superintendent Taylor did not want to do business with
St. John and that Jackson would not be able to return to work
while Superintendent Taylor was in his position; however, it
might be possible for Jackson to get his back pay for being
fired without a hearing. (Id.) On June 10, 2010,
Jackson learned from St. John that there was a new
Superintendent, Andrew Martin, and that he was willing to
allow Jackson to come back to work, but without receiving
back pay. (Id.)
Jackson expressed reluctance at going back to work without
receiving back pay, he received two “harassing”
and “coercive” phone calls from St. John to
“take the deal” while it was still available.
(Id. at 13-14) On July 1, 2010, Jackson was
persuaded by the “discriminatory and dishonest”
representations of St. John to sign a Last Chance Agreement
(“Agreement”) without reading; Jackson was
assured by St. John that it was a good agreement.
(Id. at 14.) After signing the agreement, Jackson
met with Superintendent Martin who told him that he did not
need a referral to a substance abuse professional, but he had
to get a physical and drug test so that he could get back to
work and “start making some money.”
(Id.) On July 7, 2010, Jackson went back to work, 1,
190 days after being terminated. (Id. at 15.)
Jackson returned to work and was told by other employees that
he did not get a fair deal, he spoke to Martin.
(Id.) Martin told Jackson that the only portion of
the Agreement that would be enforced was the denial of back
pay and to speak with St. John regarding any issues
concerning the Agreement. (Id.) Jackson confronted
St. John, telling him that the Agreement did not contain a
provision for Jackson to receive back pay although the
Railroad had given retroactive pay previously to terminated
Caucasian employees who were not held out of service as long
as Jackson. (Id.) Jackson alleges that St. John
colluded with Martin and Taylor with no intention to be bound
by the CBA, instead, creating an Agreement that was breached
from the day it was signed. (Id.)
another instance of alleged failed representation, Jackson
signed a resolution on September 2, 2010, in which he was
given a twenty-day suspension for not “marking off of
work properly.” (Id. at 16.) Jackson signed
the resolution without any union representation because the
alternative was being fired. (Id.) In a separate
incident, on September 25, 2010, Jackson missed a call for a
work assignment, resulting in an investigation which was
postponed on October 18, 2010, at the request of UTU Chairman
last incident described in the complaint began on October 29,
2010, when Jackson was called to work as a conductor on a
grain train. (Id.) While preparing the trains,
Jackson was accused by the African-American engineer, T.L.
Elliott, of calling him a “nigger.” (Id.
at 17.) As a result of the accusation, Trainmasters Jenkins
and Brown boarded the train, told Jackson and Elliot to tie
down the train, got all the parties in a truck, and asked
Elliot to write down everything that happened. (Id.)
evening, Jenkins terminated Jackson based on Elliott's
accusations and did not pay him for that day or for the days
Jackson had been scheduled to work prior to termination.
(Id. at 18.) On December 3, 2010, after several
postponements of the investigation at the request of Chairman
Callahan, Jackson was dismissed effective immediately based
solely on the testimony of Elliott. (Id. at 19.)
Jackson contends that his equal rights were violated because
he was subjected to harsher discipline than Caucasian
employees who committed comparable acts.
state court criminal trial on January 21, 2014, that resulted
in Jackson's present incarceration, state investigators
were told by Railroad employees that Jackson was terminated
for calling another employee a “nigger.” This
“evidence” was used, in part, to convict Jackson.
(Id. at 20.)
seeks to have the Court void the Agreement and to order the
Railroad to pay him back pay from April 21, 2007, through
July 1, 2010, in the amount of $585, 000 and to order payment
of other employee benefits as compensatory damages. He also
seeks punitive damages and attorney fees. (Id. at
Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to
dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from