Brennan v. LOCAL U. NO. 639, INT. BRO. OF TEAMSTERS, ETC., No. 73-1938.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
Writing for the CourtROBB, Circuit , dissenting
Citation494 F.2d 1092
PartiesPeter J. BRENNAN, Secretary of Labor, et al. v. LOCAL UNION NO. 639, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS, WAREHOUSEMEN AND HELPERS OF AMERICA, Ind., Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 73-1938.
Decision Date08 March 1974

494 F.2d 1092 (1974)

Peter J. BRENNAN, Secretary of Labor, et al.
v.
LOCAL UNION NO. 639, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS, WAREHOUSEMEN AND HELPERS OF AMERICA, Ind., Appellant.

No. 73-1938.

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit.

Argued November 30, 1973.

Decided March 8, 1974.


494 F.2d 1093

Philip W. Amram, Washington, D. C., with whom Gilbert Hahn, Jr., and Solaman G. Lippman, Washington, D. C., were on the brief, for appellant.

Harold A. Mouzon, Jr., Atty., U. S. Dept. of Labor, with whom Morton Hollander, Atty., Dept. of Justice, was on the brief for appellee, Brennan. John V. Long, Washington, D. C., entered an appearance for appellees Daniel George and Phillip A. Feaster.

Before ROBB and WILKEY, Circuit Judges, and VAN PELT,* United States Senior District Judge for the District of Nebraska.

VAN PELT, Senior District Judge:

Local Union No. 639, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, Inc. (hereinafter the Union) appeals from an order of the district court granting summary judgment to the Secretary of Labor (hereinafter the Secretary) and two members of the Union, Daniel George and Phillip A. Feaster. The action was originally brought by the Secretary against the Union under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, as amended (hereinafter the Act) to set aside an election of officers held by the Union on January 23, 1972. The complaint alleged that the Union violated § 401(e) of the Act1 by failing to mail notice of the election to each member of the Union at his last known home address at least fifteen days prior to the election and by imposing an unlawful meeting attendance requirement on candidates for office.2 After the action was filed, two members of the Union who had complained of the conduct of the election to the Secretary3 were allowed to intervene in the suit.

On June 8, 1973, the intervenors moved for a summary judgment under

494 F.2d 1094
Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. On June 26, the Union noticed the deposition of the Secretary or his designee. On July 10, the Secretary filed a motion for summary judgment on the same grounds as the intervenors. On July 13, the Secretary filed a motion for a protective order under Rule 26(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure which was granted on July 17 despite the objections of the Union. On August 17, after an extensive oral argument the district court granted the motions for summary judgment saying
"The Court finds that there is no dispute of the fact that out of 6,487 members of the union, notice of the \'72 election was mailed only at a maximum to 2,700 of them; that this is a clear violation of 29 U.S.C. § 481(e); that under the circumstances where 58 percent of the membership did not receive the statutory notice and where only 23 percent of the membership voted, the Court is entitled to conclude irrebutably that the election was effected thereby.
"I shall, therefore, grant summary judgment to the plaintiff, declare the election null and void, order a new election, order costs for the plaintiff, and deny the defendant\'s motion to dismiss."4

On August 21, the district court entered an order directing a new election under the supervision of the Secretary and further directing that no meeting attendance requirement be imposed on the right of members to be candidates.

The issues on appeal are: 1) Is it permissible to grant a summary judgment under § 402(c) of the Act; 2) If a summary judgment is permissible under the Act, was it proper in the factual context of this case; 3) Was the directive of the district judge prohibiting the application of the meeting attendance requirement proper; 4) Was the protective order proper? For the reasons given below, we affirm the order of the district court.

I. THE PROPRIETY OF A SUMMARY JUDGMENT UNDER § 402(c).

Section 402(c)5 of the Act grants the Secretary the authority to bring a civil action against a labor organization if, after investigating a complaint by a member of that organization who has exhausted his internal remedies, he finds that there is probable cause to believe that the organization has violated any of the election procedures specified in § 401. Section 402 also provides that:

"If, upon a preponderance of the evidence after a trial upon the merits, the court finds —
. . . that the violation of section 401 may have affected the outcome of an election, the court shall declare the election, if any, to be void and direct the conduct of a new election under the supervision of the Secretary and, so far as lawful and practicable, in conformity with the constitution and bylaws of the labor organization." (Emphasis added)

The Union argues that the statute specifically requires a trial and that summary judgment is improper when the crucial facts are contested. In addition, it argues that the clear import of Wirtz v. Hotel, Motel & Club Employees Union, Local 6, 391 U.S. 492, 88 S.Ct. 1743, 20 L.Ed.2d 763 (1968), (hereinafter Wirtz v. Local 6) is that § 402 requires a trial on the merits in every case.

In only one case, Hodgson v. District 5, U.M.W. 68 L.C. ¶ 12,867 (W.D.Pa. 1972), has a court read the language of § 402 literally and held that under no circumstances could the Secretary be granted a summary judgment in an action

494 F.2d 1095
brought under that section. In that case, the court, in denying the Secretary's motion for summary judgment, quoted § 402(c) and stated, "We interpret the foregoing language in the Act to require a trial before we can decide whether or not to grant relief requested in the complaint." (Emphasis in original) The court, reasoning that, "Congress must have had some reason for incorporating this provision in the Act," held that § 402(c) requires a trial in all actions brought under it

Several other courts, however, have granted summary judgments to the Secretary in action brought under § 402. In Hodgson v. District 6, U.M.W., 474 F.2d 940 (6th Cir. 1972), the court, in reversing the district court which had granted summary judgment to the union, held that the complainant had exhausted his internal union remedies and that the rule which had barred his candidacy was an unreasonable rule in violation of § 401(e) and granted summary judgment to the Secretary. In Schultz v. Independent Employees Union, 62 L. C. ¶ 10,869 (E.D.Wis.1970), the court granted judgment to the Secretary after holding a hearing. The facts in this case were very similar to those in the instant case and involved the failure to mail notice of an election to the members of the union. In addition, in Wirtz v. Local 1622, Carpenters, 285 F.Supp. 455 (N.D.Cal.1968), the court granted judgment to the Secretary on the basis of stipulated facts, without holding a trial, on a complaint which alleged violations including the failure to mail notice of an election.

The Union places heavy reliance on Hodgson v. Local 734, Teamsters, 336 F.Supp. 1243 (N.D.Ill.1972), in which the court refused to grant summary judgment to the union. However, this case does not support the Union's position. In this case the main issue was whether the complainants had exhausted their internal union remedies with respect to several of the alleged violations. Factual issues arose as to whether notice of several of the violations had been adequate and whether certain of the alleged irregularities were, in fact, violations of the Act.6 It is clear that the court's refusal to grant summary judgment was based on the failure to meet the requirements of Rule 56, since there were still genuine issues of material fact which had to be resolved and not on the basis that the language of § 402(c) as to "a trial upon the merits" precludes granting summary judgment.

The union also argues that the clear import of Wirtz v. Local 6, 391 U.S. 492, 88 S.Ct. 1743, 20 L.Ed.2d 763 (1968), is to require a trial in every action under § 402. However, a careful reading of the case shows that its main effect was to lessen the burden on the Secretary to prove that a violation of § 401 may have affected the outcome of an election, by holding that any proved violation of § 401 creates a prima facie case that the outcome may have been affected. The Court was not directly faced with the problem presented in this case and its

494 F.2d 1096
opinion simply does not support the contention that § 402 requires a trial in every case

With respect to interpreting labor legislation the Supreme Court has said:

"We have cautioned against a literal reading of congressional labor legislation; such legislation is often the product of conflict and compromise between strongly held and opposed views, and its proper construction frequently requires consideration of its wording against the background of its legislative history and in light of the general objectives Congress sought to achieve . . . . The LMRDA is no exception." Wirtz v. Local 153, Glass Blowers Association, 389 U.S. 463, 468, 88 S.Ct. 643, 646, 19 L.Ed.2d 705 (1968).7

Thus, the language in the Act referring to, "a trial upon the merits," must be read in light of the overall scheme of the Act. There is no indication that the Congress in using this language intended to make inapplicable to such actions Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure providing for summary judgment. In fact the contrary would appear from the fact that Rule 81 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure relating to applicability makes no exception of the Act under which this case was brought. In addition, there is an apparent congressional concern that there be an early resolution of allegations regarding disputed elections evidenced by the short deadline provided for the protestant to appeal to the Secretary (one calendar month after he has exhausted his internal remedies), and the refusal to allow a stay of the district court's order pending appeal. It is equally clear that Congress was...

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28 practice notes
  • Usery v. Local Union No. 639 Intern. Broth. of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, Ind., No. 74-1851
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 27 August 1976
    ...8, 1974, this court affirmed the grant of summary judgment, Brennan v. Local Union 639, Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, 161 U.S.App.D.C. 173, 494 F.2d 1092 Meanwhile, on December 16, 1973, after oral argument in this court, the ballots for the rerun election were cast, although they were not count......
  • Powers-Bunce v. District of Columbia, Civil Action No. 06-1586 (RMC).
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • 27 March 2008
    ...from undue burden or expense, and to promote efficient resolution of a case. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c); Brennan v. Local Union No. 639, 494 F.2d 1092, 1100 (D.C.Cir. 1974). It is not unusual to deny discovery requests when additional facts are not necessary to resolve a dispositive motion. See......
  • Marshall v. Local Union No. 639, Intern. Broth. of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, Inc., No. 77-2038
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 23 January 1979
    ...court affirmed the District Court's order on March 8, 1974. Brennan v. Local Union 639, Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, 161 U.S.App.D.C. 173, 494 F.2d 1092 4 The unsuccessful candidates again filed a protest with the Secretary of Labor, but this time the Secretary rejected it. Brief for Appellee, ......
  • Chao v. Local 54, Hotel Employees and Restaurant, No. 00-3256(JEI).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • 9 October 2001
    ...to vote of the time and manner of seeking nomination and of the place and date of the election.'" Brennan v. Local Union 639, 494 F.2d 1092, 1097 (D.C.Cir. 1974) (citing Cong. Rec. 15189 (Senate, April 23, 1959)) (emphasis added). However, this language was ultimately replaced by the c......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
28 cases
  • Usery v. Local Union No. 639 Intern. Broth. of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, Ind., No. 74-1851
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 27 August 1976
    ...8, 1974, this court affirmed the grant of summary judgment, Brennan v. Local Union 639, Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, 161 U.S.App.D.C. 173, 494 F.2d 1092 Meanwhile, on December 16, 1973, after oral argument in this court, the ballots for the rerun election were cast, although they were not count......
  • Powers-Bunce v. District of Columbia, Civil Action No. 06-1586 (RMC).
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • 27 March 2008
    ...from undue burden or expense, and to promote efficient resolution of a case. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c); Brennan v. Local Union No. 639, 494 F.2d 1092, 1100 (D.C.Cir. 1974). It is not unusual to deny discovery requests when additional facts are not necessary to resolve a dispositive motion. See......
  • Marshall v. Local Union No. 639, Intern. Broth. of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, Inc., No. 77-2038
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 23 January 1979
    ...court affirmed the District Court's order on March 8, 1974. Brennan v. Local Union 639, Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, 161 U.S.App.D.C. 173, 494 F.2d 1092 4 The unsuccessful candidates again filed a protest with the Secretary of Labor, but this time the Secretary rejected it. Brief for Appellee, ......
  • Chao v. Local 54, Hotel Employees and Restaurant, No. 00-3256(JEI).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • 9 October 2001
    ...eligible to vote of the time and manner of seeking nomination and of the place and date of the election.'" Brennan v. Local Union 639, 494 F.2d 1092, 1097 (D.C.Cir. 1974) (citing Cong. Rec. 15189 (Senate, April 23, 1959)) (emphasis added). However, this language was ultimately replaced by t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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