897 F.2d 715 (4th Cir. 1990), 88-2173, Ridenour v. Andrews Federal Credit Union

Docket Nº:88-2173, 88-2197 and 88-2198.
Citation:897 F.2d 715
Party Name:Paul W. RIDENOUR; Oliver H. Perry, II; Paula A. Geitner; Judith L. Hopper, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. ANDREWS FEDERAL CREDIT UNION; Frank J. Colson, Chairman, Board of Directors; Lasalle Petty, Jr., Col. Vice Chairman, Board of Directors; Leo M. Neff, Secretary and Member Board of Directors; Woodrow W. Jenkins, Treasurer and Member Board of Director
Case Date:March 02, 1990
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
 
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897 F.2d 715 (4th Cir. 1990)

Paul W. RIDENOUR; Oliver H. Perry, II; Paula A. Geitner;

Judith L. Hopper, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

v.

ANDREWS FEDERAL CREDIT UNION; Frank J. Colson, Chairman,

Board of Directors; Lasalle Petty, Jr., Col. Vice Chairman,

Board of Directors; Leo M. Neff, Secretary and Member Board

of Directors; Woodrow W. Jenkins, Treasurer and Member

Board of Directors; William J. Baldridge; Ronald J.

Fitzgerald; Frederick Szwed, Members, Board of Directors;

Ronald G. Nahas; Jack Arzoomanian, Chairman, Supervisory

Committee; William F. Brooks, Defendants-Appellees,

National Credit Union Administration, Amicus Curiae.

Oliver H. PERRY, II; Paul W. Ridenour; Paula A. Geitner;

Judith L. Hopper, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

v.

ANDREWS FEDERAL CREDIT UNION; Frank J. Colson, Mr.,

Chairman, Board of Directors; Lasalle Petty, Jr., Col. Vice

Chairman, Board of Directors; Leo M. Neff, Secretary and

Member Board of Directors; Woodrow W. Jenkins, Treasurer

and Member Board of Directors; William J. Baldridge; Peter

J. Orlik, Jr.; Ronald J. Fitzgerald; Ronn M. Hamrah, Lt.

Col.; Frederick Szwed, Members, Board of Directors; Ronald

G. Nahas, President; Jack Arzoomanian, Chairman,

Supervisory Committee; William F. Brooks, Defendants-Appellees,

National Credit Union Administration, Amicus Curiae.

Judith L. HOPPER; Paul W. Ridenour; Oliver H. Perry, II;

Paula A. Geitner, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

v.

ANDREWS FEDERAL CREDIT UNION; Frank J. Colson; Lasalle

Petty, Jr., Col. Vice Chairman, Board of Directors; Leo M.

Neff, Secretary and Member Board of Directors; Woodrow W.

Jenkins, Treasurer and Member Board of Directors; William

J. Baldridge; Peter J. Orlik, Jr.; Ronald J. Fitzgerald;

Ronn M. Hamrah, Lt. Col.; Frederick Szwed, Members, Board

of Directors; Ronald G. Nahas, President; Jack

Arzoomanian, Supervisory Committee, Defendants-Appellees,

National Credit Union Administration, Amicus Curiae.

Nos. 88-2173, 88-2197 and 88-2198.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

March 2, 1990

Argued July 10, 1989.

Rehearing and Rehearing In Banc Denied Marcy 27, 1990.

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William J. Kenney (William J. Kenney & Associates, P.C., Washington, D.C., on brief), for plaintiffs-appellants.

Francis Joseph Nealon (Marianne P. Eby, Amy S. Owen, Miles & Stockbridge, Washington, D.C., Paul W. Grimm, Robert Smith, Jordan, Coyne, Savits & Lopata, Baltimore, Md., on brief), for defendants-appellees.

Before ERVIN, Chief Judge, and PHILLIPS and WILKINSON, Circuit Judges.

PHILLIPS, Circuit Judge:

Paul Ridenour, Oliver Perry, Paula Geidner, and Judith Hopper appeal the district court's order dismissing for lack of subject matter jurisdiction their claims against Andrews Federal Credit Union and several individual defendants relating to alleged adverse employment actions taken against them by the defendants. The appellants sought recovery on the ground that the credit union and some of its officers violated rights secured to them, in their capacity as shareholders-members of the defendant credit union, by the Federal Credit Union Act, 12 U.S.C. Secs. 1751 et seq. (FCUA). In addition, they alleged violations of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000e, and breaches of state law tort and contract duties. The district court held that it lacked jurisdiction because the claims relating to the FCUA did not "arise under" federal law, the Title VII claims had not satisfied jurisdictional prerequisites, and no independent jurisdictional basis existed over the pendent state claims. We affirm dismissal of the federal claims, though on somewhat different grounds as to the claims under the FCUA. We remand the state claims for the court to determine whether to exercise pendent jurisdiction over them.

I

Until 1987, appellants Geidner, Hopper, and Perry were supervisory employees of the local Andrews Federal Credit Union, and appellant Ridenour served as Secretary-Treasurer of the credit union and on its board of directors. In their complaints

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in the district court, the appellants alleged that Ronald Nahas, the President of the credit union and one of the numerous individual defendants, had some time before 1986 adopted a pattern and practice of overt sexual harassment of credit union employees. Responding to complaints from employees under their supervision during 1986 and 1987, Geidner, Perry, and Hopper reported Nahas' allegedly offensive practices to Ridenour in his capacity as an officer and director of the credit union. After investigation and inquiry, Ridenour compiled a report concerning Nahas' conduct and, pursuant to federal regulations, submitted the report to the supervisory committee of Andrews Federal Credit Union.

In November 1987, the board of directors removed Ridenour from his position on the credit union's board of directors. Ridenour had been elected to a new three-year term in March 1987, but had not been renominated as Secretary-Treasurer. His removal from the Board instigated the various claims in this action. Ridenour himself alleged that his removal violated his rights as a credit union member under 12 U.S.C. Secs. 1760, 1761, and 1761b. Those sections of the Federal Credit Union Act, 12 U.S.C. Secs. 1751 et seq., he claimed, entitled him to remedies for violations of his rights to democratic governance of his credit union. Ridenour also asserted claims under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000e and various state law causes of action. In a claim under the FCUA similar to Ridenour's, Geidner, Hopper, and Perry alleged "wrongful interference with [the] credit union's democratic governance" supposedly in violation of 12 U.S.C. Sec. 1760. They sought relief for the frustration of their credit union voting rights caused by the removal of Ridenour, for whom they had voted in the March 1987 board of directors election. In addition to some state law claims, Geidner, Hopper, and Perry also sued under Title VII, alleging that during 1987 they were either discharged or constructively discharged from their jobs at the credit union in retaliation for their role in pursuing the complaints against Nahas.

The district court dismissed the entire action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court held that the claims invoking the FCUA did not "arise under" federal law because resolution of a federal question would play no significant role in the proceedings. It also held that none of the Title VII claims could support federal jurisdiction, because none of the plaintiffs had filed a timely charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a jurisdictional prerequisite to a civil suit under Title VII. Finally, having found no independent basis for federal jurisdiction, the court held that it lacked the power to exercise pendent jurisdiction over the state law claims. This appeal followed, with appellants challenging only the dismissal of their FCUA and state-law pendent claims. 1

II

We consider first the district court's jurisdictional dismissal of the claims alleging violations of rights secured by the FCUA.

A

Though the district court seems to have analyzed the jurisdictional issue as being whether the necessity to resolve substantial federal questions caused appellants' state-law claims to "arise under" federal law, see, e.g., Franchise Tax Board v. Construction Laborers Vacation Trust, 463 U.S. 1, 9, 103 S.Ct. 2841, 2846, 77 L.Ed.2d 420 (1983); Smith v. Kansas City Title & Trust Co., 255 U.S. 180, 41 S.Ct. 243, 65 L.Ed. 577 (1921), it is plain from the record that appellants' invocations of the provisions of the FCUA were by way of asserting federal causes of action allegedly conferred by or implicit in those provisions. Count I of Ridenour's complaint alleges that the defendants' actions in removing him from the Board of Directors of the

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credit union "wrongfully and illegally interfered with [his] rights and duties pursuant to 12 U.S.C. Section 1761 and 1761b...." 2 Count II alleges wrongful interference

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with Ridenour's right, under 12 U.S.C. Sec. 1760, to a democratically governed credit union. 3 The other plaintiffs allege, inter alia, that they had voted for Ridenour's election to the Board of Directors and that his wrongful removal violated their Sec. 1760 rights to democratic governance of the credit union. All of the plaintiffs asked for...

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