796 F.2d 252 (9th Cir. 1986), 85-2422, Bechtel Petroleum, Inc. v. Webster

Docket Nº:85-2422.
Citation:796 F.2d 252
Party Name:BECHTEL PETROLEUM, INC., formerly Bechtel Incorporated, Plaintiff/Appellant, v. Thomas B. WEBSTER, Eric S. Schrank, Van A. Bulf, Peter S. Churgel, Delbert D. Hoke, Sam C. Bitetti, et al., Defendants/Appellees. State of Alaska, Intervenor-Defendant/Appellee.
Case Date:June 20, 1986
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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Page 252

796 F.2d 252 (9th Cir. 1986)

BECHTEL PETROLEUM, INC., formerly Bechtel Incorporated,

Plaintiff/Appellant,

v.

Thomas B. WEBSTER, Eric S. Schrank, Van A. Bulf, Peter S.

Churgel, Delbert D. Hoke, Sam C. Bitetti, et al.,

Defendants/Appellees.

State of Alaska, Intervenor-Defendant/Appellee.

No. 85-2422.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

June 20, 1986

        Argued and Submitted June 10, 1986.

        Jon Anderson, Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges, San Francisco, Cal., for plaintiff-appellant.

        Stephan H. Williams, Anchorage, Alaska, for defendants-appellees.

        Appeal From United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

        Before HUG, BEEZER and KOZINSKI, Circuit Judges.

        PER CURIAM:

        Bechtel Petroleum, Inc. ("Bechtel") seeks reversal of the district court's dismissal of its suit to enjoin an action in Alaska state court. Bechtel contends that a state wage and hours class action suit brought by its employees must be enjoined, in part, to protect the res judicata effect of a consent judgment entered in a federal Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") enforcement case brought against appellant by the Secretary of Labor. 1

        The Anti-Injunction Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2283, generally prohibits a federal court from granting an injunction to stay proceedings in state court, but authorizes an exception for an injunction "where necessary ... to protect or effectuate its judgments." See Parsons Steel, Inc. v. First Alabama Bank, --- U.S. ----, 106 S.Ct. 768, 770, 88 L.Ed.2d 877 (1986); see generally Golden v. Pacific Maritime Association, 786 F.2d 1425, 1428 (9th Cir.1986). Bechtel relies on this "relitigation exception" in contending the district court erred by refusing to enjoin the state court action.

Page 253

        This appeal raises several difficult questions involving application of res judicata principles, including (1) whether the Secretary of Labor must be regarded as the "privy" of affected employees when bringing an FLSA enforcement action against an employer, despite the fact that employees may not participate in or object to the action; (2) if the Secretary is regarded as a privy for purposes of the FLSA, whether the Secretary has any authority to compromise employee claims based on state wage and hour acts; (3) whether employees' acceptance of backpay awards in settlement of an FLSA complaint constitutes waiver...

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