Conley v. Gibson 6051 28, No. 7

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBLACK
Citation2 L.Ed.2d 80,355 U.S. 41,78 S.Ct. 99
Decision Date18 November 1957
Docket NumberNo. 7
PartiesJ. D. CONLEY et al., Petitioners, v. Pat J. GIBSON, General Chairman of Locals 6051 and 28, etc., et al

355 U.S. 41
78 S.Ct. 99
2 L.Ed.2d 80
J. D. CONLEY et al., Petitioners,

v.

Pat J. GIBSON, General Chairman of Locals 6051 and 28, etc., et al.

No. 7.
Argued Oct. 21, 1957.
Decided Nov. 18, 1957.

Page 42

Mr. Joseph C. Waddy, Washington, D.C., for petitioners.

Mr. Edward J. Hickey, Jr., Washington, D.C., for respondent.

Mr. Justice BLACK delivered the opinion of the Court.

Once again Negro employees are here under the Railway Labor Act1 asking that their collective bargaining agent be compelled to represent them fairly. In a series of cases beginning with Steele v. Louisville & Nashville R. Co., 323 U.S. 192, 65 S.Ct. 226, 89 L.Ed. 173, this Court has emphatically and repeatedly ruled that an exclusive bargaining agent under the Railway Labor Act is obligated to represent all employees in the bargaining unit fairly and without discrimination because of race and has held that the courts have power to protect employees against such invidious discrimination.2

This class suit was brought in a Federal District Court in Texas by certain Negro members of the Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship Clerks, petitioners here, on behalf of themselves and other Negro employees similarly situated against the Brotherhood, its Local Union No. 28 and certain officers of both. In summary, the complaint

Page 43

made the following allegations relevant to our decision: Petitioners were employees of the Texas and New Orleans Railroad at its Houston Freight House. Local 28 of the Brotherhood was the designated bargaining agents under the Railway Labor Act for the bargaining unit to which petitioners belonged. A contract existed between the Union and the Railroad which gave the employees in the bargaining unit certain protection from discharge and loss of seniority. In May 1954, the Railroad purported to abolish 45 jobs held by petitioners or other Negroes all of whom were either discharged or demoted. In truth the 45 jobs were not abolished at all but instead filled by whites as the Negroes were ousted, except for a few instances where Negroes were rehired to fill their old jobs but with loss of seniority. Despite repeated pleas by petitioners, the Union, acting according to plan, did nothing to protect them against these discriminatory discharges and refused to give them protection comparable to that given white employees. The complaint then went on to allege that the Union had failed in general to represent Negro employees equally and in good faith. It charged that such discrimination constituted a violation of petitioners' right under the Railway Labor Act to fair representation from their bargaining agent. And it concluded by asking for relief in the nature of declaratory judgment, injunction and damages.

The respondents appeared and moved to dismiss the complaint on several grounds: (1) the National Railroad Adjustment Board had exclusive jurisdiction over the controversy; (2) the Texas and New Orleans Railroad, which had not been joined, was an indispensable party defendant; and (3) the complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief could be given. The District Court granted the motion to dismiss holding that Congress had given the Adjustment Board exclusive jurisdiction over

Page 44

the controversy. The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, apparently relying on the same ground, affirmed. 229 F.2d 436. Since the case raised an important question concerning the protection of employee rights under the Railway Labor Act we granted certiorari. 352 U.S. 818, 77 S.Ct. 37, 1 L.Ed.2d 44.

We hold that it was error for the courts below to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. They took the position that § 3 First (i) of the Railway Labor Act conferred exclusive jurisdiction on the Adjustment Board because the case, in their view, involved the interpretation and application of the collective bargaining agreement. But § 3 First (i) by its own terms applies only to 'disputes between an employee or group of employees and a carrier or carriers.'3 This case involves no dispute between employee and employer but to the contrary is a suit by employees against the bargaining agent to enforce their statutory right not to be unfairly discriminated against by it in bargaining.4 The Adjustment Board has no

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power under § 3 First (i) or any other provision of the Act to protect them from such discrimination. Furthermore, the contract between the Brotherhood and the Railroad will be, at most, only incidentally involved in resolving this controversy between petitioners and their bargaining agent.

Although the District Court did not pass on the other reasons advanced for dismissal of the complaint we think it timely and proper for us to consider them here. They have been briefed and argued by both parties and the respondents urge that the decision below be upheld, if necessary, on these other...

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40414 practice notes
  • ABECASSIS v. WYATT, CIVIL ACTION NO. H-09-3884
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • March 31, 2011
    ...the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Twombly abrogated the Supreme Court's prior statement in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957), that "a complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can pro......
  • Burrell v. City University of New York, No. 94 CIV. 8711(RWS).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • February 26, 1998
    ...S.Ct. 2893, 106 L.Ed.2d 195 (1989); Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73, 104 S.Ct. 2229, 81 L.Ed.2d 59 (1984); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957). In determining the sufficiency of the complaint, consideration is limited to the factual allegations ......
  • Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Wash. v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec., Civil Action No. 18-2473 (RC)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • November 30, 2020
    ...Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (omission in original) (quoting Conley v. Gibson , 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957) ). Because "[a] Rule 12(b)(6) motion is intended to test the legal sufficiency of the complaint," the c......
  • Coronet Ins. Co. v. Seyfarth, No. 86 C 1935.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • July 16, 1987
    ...facts entitling them to relief. Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73, 104 S.Ct. 2229, 2233, 81 L.Ed.2d 59 (1984); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 102, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957). The court must accept all well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true, and must view tho......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
40492 cases
  • ABECASSIS v. WYATT, CIVIL ACTION NO. H-09-3884
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • March 31, 2011
    ...the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Twombly abrogated the Supreme Court's prior statement in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957), that "a complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can pro......
  • Burrell v. City University of New York, No. 94 CIV. 8711(RWS).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • February 26, 1998
    ...S.Ct. 2893, 106 L.Ed.2d 195 (1989); Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73, 104 S.Ct. 2229, 81 L.Ed.2d 59 (1984); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957). In determining the sufficiency of the complaint, consideration is limited to the factual allegations ......
  • Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Wash. v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec., Civil Action No. 18-2473 (RC)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • November 30, 2020
    ...Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (omission in original) (quoting Conley v. Gibson , 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957) ). Because "[a] Rule 12(b)(6) motion is intended to test the legal sufficiency of the complaint," the c......
  • Coronet Ins. Co. v. Seyfarth, No. 86 C 1935.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • July 16, 1987
    ...facts entitling them to relief. Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73, 104 S.Ct. 2229, 2233, 81 L.Ed.2d 59 (1984); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 102, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957). The court must accept all well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true, and must view tho......
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17 books & journal articles
  • The Roberts Court and Supreme Court's New Antitrust Law for the Global Knowledge and Entrepreneurial Economy in a “Perfect Storm” of Danger—And Opportunity
    • United States
    • Antitrust Bulletin Nbr. 54-1, March 2009
    • March 1, 2009
    ...Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1965 (2007). Justices Stevensand Ginsburg dissented.47 Id. at 1974.48 Id. at 1962.49 Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957) (“[A] complaint should notbe dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt thatthe plaintiff can prove ......
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    • Environmental justice: legal theory and practice
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    ...to a certainty that the plaintiffs can prove no facts in support of their claim which would entitle them to relief. Conley v. Gibson , 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); Bruce v. Riddle , 631 F.2d 272, 273-74 (4th Cir. 1980). The court must accept the factual allegations in the complaint and must c......
  • Addressing the problem: the judicial branches
    • United States
    • Environmental justice: legal theory and practice - second edition
    • May 23, 2012
    ...to a certainty that the plaintiffs can prove no facts in support of their claim which would entitle them to relief. Conley v. Gibson , 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); Bruce v. Riddle , 631 F.2d 272, 273-74 (4th Cir. 1980). The court must accept the factual allegations in the complaint and must c......
  • Addressing the Problem: The Judicial Branches
    • United States
    • Environmental justice: legal theory and practice. 3rd Edition
    • November 20, 2014
    ...to a certainty that the plaintifs can prove no facts in support of their claim which would entitle them to relief. Conley v. Gibson , 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); Bruce v. Riddle , 631 F.2d 272, 273-74 (4th Cir. 1980). he court must accept the factual allegations in the complaint and must con......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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