Levy v. Skywalker Sound, 108 Cal. App. 4th 753 (2003)

Robert M. Levy worked as an audio recording engineer for Skywalker Sound in Marin County beginning in 1995. When Levy was hired, he was told that the scoring stage was a “non-union room” and that his position at Skywalker Sound would not be a union position. (Shortly after he began work, Levy began to express concern that he was not in the union.) Levy joined the union in 1999 when the collective bargaining agreement was extended to cover the scoring stage. After he joined the union, Levy learned that in 1989 the union and Skywalker Sound’s parent company had informally agreed that union benefits would not have to be paid to union members who worked on the scoring stage. In his lawsuit, Levy alleged, among other things, breach of a contract of which he was a third-party beneficiary, Labor Code violations, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Relying upon Section 301 of the federal Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) (29 U.S.C. § 185), Skywalker Sound moved for summary judgment on the grounds that all of Levy’s claims were preempted by and subject to the remedies provided in the statute. The Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment in favor of Skywalker Sound on the grounds asserted in its summary judgment motion. See also Department of Fair Employment & Housing v. Verizon Cal., Inc., 108 Cal. App. 4th 160 (2003) (union employee’s claim for violation of the California Family Rights Act was preempted by Section 301 of the LMRA).