357 U.S. 10 (1958), 684, Lewis v. Labor Board

Docket Nº:No. 684
Citation:357 U.S. 10, 78 S.Ct. 1029, 2 L.Ed.2d 1103
Party Name:Lewis v. Labor Board
Case Date:June 09, 1958
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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357 U.S. 10 (1958)

78 S.Ct. 1029, 2 L.Ed.2d 1103

Lewis

v.

Labor Board

No. 684

United States Supreme Court

June 9, 1958

Argued May 21, 1958

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS

FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT

Syllabus

In an unfair labor practice proceeding under the National Labor Relations Act, subpoenas duces tecum and ad testificandum directed to petitioners were issued by the Regional Director under the seal of the Board and the facsimile signature of a member, at the request of the Board's General Counsel. Petitioners moved that the Board revoke the subpoenas; the Board referred the motions to the trial examiner; he denied them; petitioners refused to comply; and the Board sued in the District Court for their enforcement.

Held: the District Court should have ordered compliance with the subpoenas. Pp. 11-16.

1. The Board's action in referring the motions to the trial examiner was not illegal. Pp. 12-14.

(a) Under § 11(1) of the Act, the Board's express authority to revoke subpoenas extends only to those "requiring the production of any evidence," not to those requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses. P. 12.

(b) The Board did not act illegally in delegating to the trial examiner the power to make a preliminary ruling on the motions to revoke the subpoenas duces tecum, since the final decision was reserved to the Board. Labor Board v. Duval Jewelry Co., ante, p. 1. Pp. 12-13.

(c) The Board's power under § 6 of the Act "to make . . . such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act" includes the power to make the revocation procedure applicable to subpoenas ad testificandum. P. 14.

2. Since the issuance of subpoenas by "The Board, or any member thereof" upon application of any party is mandatory under § 11(1), it involves no exercise of discretion, but is a mere ministerial act which the Board may lawfully delegate to its agents. Pp. 14-15.

3. The General Counsel of the Board is a "party" in an unfair labor practice proceeding, within the meaning of § 11(1), and subpoenas may lawfully be issued upon his request. Pp.15-16.

249 F.2d 832, affirmed.

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DOUGLAS, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a companion case to National Labor Relations Board v. Duval Jewelry Co., ante, p. 1. While the latter was a representation proceeding under the National Labor Relations Act, the present case is an unfair labor practice proceeding. It was commenced on the issuance of a complaint charging violations of § 8 of the Act, 61 Stat. 136, 140, 29 U.S.C. § 158, both by petitioner employer and by petitioner union. Subpoenas duces tecum and ad testificandum were issued by the Regional Director under the seal of the Board and the facsimile signature of a member. On the day of the hearing, petitioners all moved that the subpoenas be revoked. One ground was that they had not been properly issued. Another was that they were issued at the request of the General Counsel of the Board who, it was alleged, was not a "party" to the proceeding within the meaning of the Act.1 The motions, which were addressed to the Board,

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were referred to the trial examiner over objection of petitioners. He denied them. Petitioners refused to appear in response to the subpoenas, and the hearing was continued until they could be enforced. Thereafter, the present suit was instituted in the District Court for their enforcement. The District Court denied enforcement on the authority of Labor Board v. Pesante, 119 F.Supp. 444. The Court of Appeals reversed. 249 F.2d 832. The case is here on a writ of certiorari. 355 U.S. 929.

1. Delegation of authority over the revocation of subpoenas. -- The express authority of the Board to revoke extends only to subpoenas "requiring the production of any evidence," not to subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony [78 S.Ct. 1031] of witnesses.2 So the argument that Congress has disallowed delegation extends only to the subpoenas duces tecum. What we have said in Labor Board v....

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