Feller v. Brock, TRI-COUNTY

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore ERVIN, and WILKINSON, Circuit Judges, and HAYNSWORTH; ERVIN
Citation802 F.2d 722
Parties105 Lab.Cas. P 34,854, 6 Fed.R.Serv.3d 43 Homer FELLER, d/b/a Mount Levels Orchards and Farms, Appellee, v. William E. BROCK, Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor; William J. Haltigan, Regional Administrator for Employment and Training of the United States Department of Labor; Edwin Meese, Attorney General of the United States; Lyle Karne, District Director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the United States Department of Justice, Appellants.GROWERS, INC.; John Cushwa; Douglas Dirting; Lloyd Lutman; William Kilmer; Richard W. Blizzard; Richard Lowman; Charles Lewis; Turner Ramey, Appellees, v. William E. BROCK, Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor; William J. Haltigan, Regional Administrator for Employment and Training of the United States Department of Labor; Edwin Meese, Attorney General of the United States; Lyle Karne, District Director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the United States Department of Justice, Appellants. Homer FELLER, d/b/a Mount Levels Orchards and Farms, Appellee, v. William E. BROCK, Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor; William J. Haltigan, Regional Administrator for Employment and Training of the United States Department of Labor; Edwin Meese, Attorney General of the United States; Lyle Karne, District Director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the United States Department of Justice, Defendants, and Lucius Donaldson; Sammie Mackey; Neville Davey; Rebecca Brown; Errol Brown; James Vassell, Appellants.GROWERS, INC., John Cushwa; Douglas Dirting; Lloyd Lutman; William Kilmer; Richard W. Blizzard; Richard Lowman; Charles Lewis; Turner Ramey, Appellees, v. William E. BROCK, Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor; William J. Haltigan, Regional Administrator for Employment and Training of the United States Department of Labor; Edwin Meese, Attorney General of the United States; Lyle Karne, District Director of the Immigration and Natura
Docket NumberNos. 85-1912,TRI-COUNTY
Decision Date02 October 1986

Page 722

802 F.2d 722
105 Lab.Cas. P 34,854, 6 Fed.R.Serv.3d 43
Homer FELLER, d/b/a Mount Levels Orchards and Farms, Appellee,
v.
William E. BROCK, Secretary of Labor, United States
Department of Labor; William J. Haltigan, Regional
Administrator for Employment and Training of the United
States Department of Labor; Edwin Meese, Attorney General
of the United States; Lyle Karne, District Director of the
Immigration and Naturalization Service of the United States
Department of Justice, Appellants.
TRI-COUNTY GROWERS, INC.; John Cushwa; Douglas Dirting;
Lloyd Lutman; William Kilmer; Richard W.
Blizzard; Richard Lowman; Charles
Lewis; Turner Ramey, Appellees,
v.
William E. BROCK, Secretary of Labor, United States
Department of Labor; William J. Haltigan, Regional
Administrator for Employment and Training of the United
States Department of Labor; Edwin Meese, Attorney General
of the United States; Lyle Karne, District Director of the
Immigration and Naturalization Service of the United States
Department of Justice, Appellants.
Homer FELLER, d/b/a Mount Levels Orchards and Farms, Appellee,
v.
William E. BROCK, Secretary of Labor, United States
Department of Labor; William J. Haltigan, Regional
Administrator for Employment and Training of the United
States Department of Labor; Edwin Meese, Attorney General
of the United States; Lyle Karne, District Director of the
Immigration and Naturalization Service of the United States
Department of Justice, Defendants,
and
Lucius Donaldson; Sammie Mackey; Neville Davey; Rebecca
Brown; Errol Brown; James Vassell, Appellants.
TRI-COUNTY GROWERS, INC., John Cushwa; Douglas Dirting;
Lloyd Lutman; William Kilmer; Richard W.
Blizzard; Richard Lowman;
Charles Lewis; Turner Ramey, Appellees,
v.
William E. BROCK, Secretary of Labor, United States
Department of Labor; William J. Haltigan, Regional
Administrator for Employment and Training of the United
States Department of Labor; Edwin Meese, Attorney General
of the United States; Lyle Karne, District Director of the
Immigration and Naturalization Service of the United States
Department of Justice, Defendants,
and
Lucius Donaldson; Sammie Mackey; Neville Davey; Rebecca
Brown; Errol Brown; James Vassell, Appellants.
Nos. 85-1912(L), 85-1949, 85-2275, and 85-2276.
United States Court of Appeals,
Fourth Circuit.
Argued April 8, 1986.
Decided Oct. 2, 1986.

Page 723

Marc Richman, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Civ. Div., and Garry G. Geffert, W.Va. Services Plan, Inc. (Richard K. Willard, Asst. Atty. Gen., William A. Kolibash, U.S. Atty., William Kanter, Civ. Div., Dept. of Justice, on brief) for appellants.

Clarence E. Martin, III and Susan R. Snowden (Martin & Seibert, on brief) for appellees.

Page 724

Before ERVIN, and WILKINSON, Circuit Judges, and HAYNSWORTH, Senior Circuit Judge.

ERVIN, Circuit Judge:

This appeal challenges the propriety of a preliminary injunction issued by a West Virginia federal district court which directly conflicts with a permanent injunction issued by a federal district court in the District of Columbia. 1 Because the West Virginia preliminary injunction reversed the status quo ante litem, forced the defendants to risk contempt in either West Virginia or the District of Columbia, and undermined the public interest in the orderly administration of justice, we hereby vacate it. We also reverse the district court's refusal to permit intervention as of right by a plaintiff in the District of Columbia action and by several other individuals who will be affected by the outcome of this litigation.

I.

This case arises out of a dispute about the piece rate which must be paid to West Virginia apple pickers under the Department of Labor's (DOL) temporary foreign worker program. See 20 C.F.R. Secs. 655.0-655.212 (1985). This issue has been litigated at length in federal courts in the District of Columbia. Although the plaintiffs in the case at bar, Tri-County Growers (Tri-County) and Mount Levels Orchards and Farms (Mount Levels), were not parties to the District of Columbia litigation, those proceedings are integrally related to the problems currently confronting this court.

Under the temporary foreign worker program, American agricultural employers may receive certification to employ non-immigrant aliens temporarily when there are insufficient American workers to meet the employer's needs. The program is frequently used for short-term, labor-intensive tasks such as harvesting. One primary constraint on the foreign worker program is that the foreign workers cannot adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed United States workers. This policy is enforced in part through the adverse effect rate (AER), an hourly wage which must be paid to both aliens and domestic workers in order for an employer to receive certification. For enterprises such as apple growing, in which workers are paid not by the hour but by the amount of fruit they pick, the AER is converted into a regional piece rate.

In 1982, the Jefferson County, West Virginia branch of the NAACP and several named plaintiffs, including applicant for intervention Lucius Donaldson, sued DOL in District of Columbia district court. See NAACP, Jefferson County Branch v. Donovan, 558 F.Supp. 218 (D.D.C.1982) (NAACP I). The NAACP alleged that DOL was certifying use of alien workers by West Virginia apple growers who were paying piece rates based on improper productivity levels. The result was that foreign and domestic apple pickers did not earn the AER. DOL attempted to join Tri-County and Mount Levels, the growers 2 identified in the NAACP I allegations, as indispensable parties under Fed.R.Civ.P. 19(b). Tri-County and Mount Levels were not joined, and they chose not to intervene. NAACP I concluded with an injunction prohibiting DOL from certifying growers who did not pay a sufficiently high piece rate at a given productivity level.

DOL did not appeal NAACP I. However, its compliance with the spirit, and possibly the letter, of the NAACP I injunction was less than complete. In 1983, the NAACP, Donaldson, and others, representing a national class of workers, sued DOL in District of Columbia district court to obtain, inter alia, a raise in West Virginia's AER and concomitant piece rate. See NAACP, Jefferson County Branch v.

Page 725

Donovan, 566 F.Supp. 1202 (D.D.C.1983) (NAACP II). Once again, no growers were parties to the action. NAACP II concluded with an injunction prohibiting DOL from certifying any grower who failed to adjust its piece rate to permit an employee working at a set productivity rate to earn the current AER.

Instead of appealing NAACP II, DOL promulgated a completely new piece rate regulation. In the guise of enforcing its injunctions, the District of Columbia district court overturned the new regulation. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the district court order, holding that the court's power to supervise its injunctions did not extend to barring a new administrative scheme. The circuit court did not suggest, however, that the NAACP I and II injunctions were invalid in relation to the previous administrative scheme. See NAACP, Jefferson County Branch v. Donovan, 737 F.2d 67 (D.C.Cir.1984).

The NAACP then filed yet another suit, challenging the new regulation as arbitrary and capricious. Again, the growers were not parties to the suit. The District Court for the District of Columbia upheld the new regulation, but the District of Columbia Circuit Court struck it down because DOL failed to provide a reasoned explanation for the new scheme. See NAACP, Jefferson County Branch v. Donovan, 765 F.2d 1178 (D.C.Cir.1985). On remand, the District of Columbia district court declared the new regulation "to be of no force and effect" and reinstated the previous piece rate regulation "as interpreted by this Court" in NAACP I and NAACP II.

In late summer 1985, Tri-County and Mount Levels applied for certification to hire foreign apple pickers. These growers did not intend to pay the higher piece rate determined by applying the NAACP II formula. Believing it was bound by the injunction in NAACP II because the piece rate regulation litigated in that case had been reinstated, DOL refused certification.

Tri-County and Mount Levels then filed the instant lawsuit in West Virginia district court, claiming that the piece rates set by NAACP II are wrong and are inapplicable because they were not parties to that litigation. They also claimed that DOL's refusal of certification was arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion. With the apple harvest season fast approaching, the West Virginia district court issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting DOL from refusing certification on the basis of the NAACP II piece rate. The district court ordered Tri-County and Mount Levels to pay foreign workers a lower piece rate and to escrow the difference between that rate and the rate set by NAACP II. 3

In accordance with the West Virginia injunction, DOL certified Tri-County and Mount Levels. The NAACP and its co-plaintiffs then brought a contempt action in District of Columbia district court because certification in compliance with the West Virginia preliminary injunction violated the injunction in NAACP II. The District of Columbia district court held that DOL was in fact violating its outstanding injunction. See NAACP, Jefferson County Branch v. Brock, 619 F.Supp. 846, 849-50 (D.D.C.1985). However, because DOL had made good faith efforts to comply with the District of Columbia order, it was not held in contempt. Id. at 850-51.

In addition to raising the contempt problem, Lucius Donaldson, a plaintiff in NAACP I and II, moved to intervene in the West Virginia litigation. Five domestic apple pickers in West Virginia who worked for growers other than Tri-County and Mount Levels and one West Virginia picker who worked for a grower affiliated with Tri-County also moved to intervene. The

Page 726

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  • Religious Sisters of Mercy v. Azar, Case No. 3:16-cv-00386
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of North Dakota
    • January 19, 2021
    ...(5th Cir. 1985). "Prudence requires that whenever possible, coordinate courts should avoid issuing conflicting orders." Feller v. Brock, 802 F.2d 722, 728 (4th Cir. 1986) (citations omitted). "When an injunction sought in one federal proceeding would interfere with another federal proceedin......
  • N.C. State Conference of the NAACP v. Berger, No. 19-2273
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • June 7, 2021
    ...are not based on incorrect legal principles. See Stuart v. Huff , 706 F.3d 345, 349–50 (4th Cir. 2013) ; see also Feller v. Brock , 802 F.2d 722, 729–30 (4th Cir. 1986) (finding that denial of intervention as of right to apple pickers was reversible error and admitting intervenors as partie......
  • N.C. State Conference of the NAACP v. Berger, No. 19-2273
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • August 14, 2020
    ...decisions not based on incorrect legal principles. See Stuart v. Huff , 706 F.3d 345, 349–50 (4th Cir. 2013) ; see also Feller v. Brock , 802 F.2d 722, 729-30 (4th Cir. 1986) (finding that denial of intervention as of right to apple pickers was reversible error and admitting intervenors as ......
  • Jones v. Koons Auto. Inc., Civil Action No. DKC 09–3362.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • November 5, 2010
    ...should have been permitted to intervene as of right where case affected “the amount of income they expected to earn”); Feller v. Brock, 802 F.2d 722, 730 (4th Cir.1986) (reversing denial of intervention as of right by individual apple pickers who could receive higher wages as a result of ju......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
184 cases
  • Religious Sisters of Mercy v. Azar, Case No. 3:16-cv-00386
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of North Dakota
    • January 19, 2021
    ...(5th Cir. 1985). "Prudence requires that whenever possible, coordinate courts should avoid issuing conflicting orders." Feller v. Brock, 802 F.2d 722, 728 (4th Cir. 1986) (citations omitted). "When an injunction sought in one federal proceeding would interfere with another federal proceedin......
  • N.C. State Conference of the NAACP v. Berger, No. 19-2273
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • June 7, 2021
    ...are not based on incorrect legal principles. See Stuart v. Huff , 706 F.3d 345, 349–50 (4th Cir. 2013) ; see also Feller v. Brock , 802 F.2d 722, 729–30 (4th Cir. 1986) (finding that denial of intervention as of right to apple pickers was reversible error and admitting intervenors as partie......
  • N.C. State Conference of the NAACP v. Berger, No. 19-2273
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • August 14, 2020
    ...decisions not based on incorrect legal principles. See Stuart v. Huff , 706 F.3d 345, 349–50 (4th Cir. 2013) ; see also Feller v. Brock , 802 F.2d 722, 729-30 (4th Cir. 1986) (finding that denial of intervention as of right to apple pickers was reversible error and admitting intervenors as ......
  • Jones v. Koons Auto. Inc., Civil Action No. DKC 09–3362.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • November 5, 2010
    ...should have been permitted to intervene as of right where case affected “the amount of income they expected to earn”); Feller v. Brock, 802 F.2d 722, 730 (4th Cir.1986) (reversing denial of intervention as of right by individual apple pickers who could receive higher wages as a result of ju......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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