Medlin v. Boeing Vertol Co., No. 79-1027

CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
Writing for the CourtBefore HUNTER, WEIS and GARTH; JAMES HUNTER, III
Citation620 F.2d 957
Parties104 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2247, 88 Lab.Cas. P 12,036 MEDLIN, Mitchel C., Theurer, James, Reed, William and McClintock, Earl, DeVault, Donald C., v. BOEING VERTOL COMPANY, Bowers, James and Owens, E. v. LOCAL 1069 OF the UNITED AUTOMOBILE AEROSPACE AND AGRICULTURAL IMPLEMENT WORKERS OF AMERICA (UAW). Medlin, Mitchel C., Theurer, James, Reed, William and McClintock, Earl, DeVault, Donald C., Appellants inBoeing Vertol Company, Appellant inLocal 1069 of the United Automobile Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), Appellant into 79-1029.
Decision Date22 April 1980
Docket NumberNo. 79-1029,No. 79-1028,Nos. 79-1027,No. 79-1027

Page 957

620 F.2d 957
104 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2247, 88 Lab.Cas. P 12,036
MEDLIN, Mitchel C., Theurer, James, Reed, William and
McClintock, Earl, DeVault, Donald C.,
v.
BOEING VERTOL COMPANY, Bowers, James and Owens, E.
v.
LOCAL 1069 OF the UNITED AUTOMOBILE AEROSPACE AND
AGRICULTURAL IMPLEMENT WORKERS OF AMERICA (UAW).
Medlin, Mitchel C., Theurer, James, Reed, William and
McClintock, Earl, DeVault, Donald C., Appellants
in No. 79-1027
Boeing Vertol Company, Appellant in No. 79-1028
Local 1069 of the United Automobile Aerospace and
Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW),
Appellant in No. 79-1029.
Nos. 79-1027 to 79-1029.
United States Court of Appeals,
Third Circuit.
Argued Nov. 15, 1979.
Decided April 22, 1980.

Page 958

John W. Nails, Chester, Pa. (argued), for Mitchel C. Medlin, James Theurer, William Reed, Earl McClintock and Donald C. DeVault.

Paula R. Markowitz (argued), Markowitz & Richman, Philadelphia, Pa., for Local 1069 of the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW).

Jerome A. Hoffman (argued), Jeffrey G. Weil, Barbara P. Ianacone, Dechert Price & Rhoads, Philadelphia, Pa., for Boeing Vertol Company, James and Owens E. Bowers.

Before HUNTER, WEIS and GARTH, Circuit Judges.

OPINION OF THE COURT

JAMES HUNTER, III, Circuit Judge.

1. In this appeal we have raised, sua sponte, the question of subject matter jurisdiction. 1 The original action was filed in state court by five employees against their former employer, Boeing Vertol Company. The employer filed a third party action against the union, Local 1069 of the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, which had represented the employees. The case was removed by the union to federal district court without objection where it was decided on the merits. Because we conclude that the district court did not have subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate plaintiffs' claims we will vacate the judgment of the district court and remand to the district

Page 959

court with instructions to remand the case to the state court.
I

2. Plaintiffs, five former employees of Boeing Vertol, were originally laid off by the company between 1969 and 1970. In early 1973 they were sent notices offering them reinstatement with their previously accrued seniority if they accepted immediately. Each plaintiff promptly quit other jobs and accepted the offer.

3. Shortly after their return to Boeing Vertol, however, they were informed by the company that it had erroneously interpreted the relevant provision of the collective bargaining agreement and that, in fact, they were not entitled to their prior seniority. In May 1973 the Union filed a grievance on behalf of the employees. The grievance claimed that the company's original interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement was correct and that the new interpretation constituted a unilateral change in the binding agreement by the company. The dispute was eventually submitted to arbitration and, on July 17, 1975, was resolved in favor of the company's interpretation of the contract.

4. Meanwhile, in May 1975, the plaintiffs were once again laid off. In March 1977 four of the plaintiffs brought this action in the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Pennsylvania alleging misrepresentation in the reinstatement letter and breach of the contract created by the letter. They were joined in February 1978 by the fifth plaintiff. 2

5. Boeing Vertol, in defense, alleged that the layoffs in 1975 took place pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement and that the only contract between Boeing and the plaintiffs was that agreement. Moreover, Boeing asserted that all five plaintiffs were, at all relevant times, employees of the Company and that the collective bargaining agreement provides that "the exclusive remedy for the disposition of any claim, dispute or grievance of any kind of any employee against the Company" shall be the grievance procedure of the bargaining agreement. Therefore, the company argues, the failure to process their misrepresentation and breach of contract claim through the grievance procedure forestalls the instant lawsuit.

6. In May of 1978, Boeing Vertol filed a third party complaint which joined Local 1069 as an additional defendant in the suit. See Pa.R.Civ.P. 2252-2255. The complaint by the company against the union contains two counts. It alleges first, that it was the union's false representation which misled the plaintiffs and caused their injury, and second, that the union should have processed the plaintiffs' misrepresentation claim through the mandatory grievance procedure. On each of these counts, Boeing Vertol contends, in the alternative, that the union is solely liable to the plaintiffs, but that if Boeing is liable, the union is jointly and severally liable, and that if Boeing is liable, it is entitled to recover all amounts it has expended, in indemnity from the union.

7. The union promptly removed the case to federal court on the ground that Boeing Vertol's complaint stated a federal cause of

Page 960

action against the union. Removal was not challenged, and the district court proceeded to trial on the merits of the case. The trial, however, was terminated at the conclusion of the employees' case. No evidence was received on the third party claim.
II

8. At the outset, we must emphasize the nature of our inquiry. Because removal was not challenged in this case, our purpose is not to review the procedures utilized in this case for compliance with the general federal removal statute. 28 U.S.C. § 1441 (1976). Grubbs v. General Electric Credit Corp., 405 U.S. 699, 702, 92 S.Ct. 1344, 1347, 31 L.Ed.2d 612 (1972). Any irregularity in these procedures has been waived. See American Fire & Cas. Co. v. Finn, 341 U.S. 6, 16-17, 71 S.Ct. 534, 541, 95 L.Ed. 702 (1951).

9. It is beyond dispute, however, that failure to challenge removal cannot confer subject matter jurisdiction which it does not otherwise possess upon the federal district court. See Id. at 17-18, 71 S.Ct. at 542 ("The jurisdiction of the federal court is carefully guarded against expansion by judicial interpretation or by prior action or consent of the parties.") It is the responsibility of this court to inquire, sua sponte, into the question of the subject matter jurisdiction of the district court. Pharmadyne Laboratories, Inc. v. Kennedy, 596 F.2d 568, 570 n. 3 (3d Cir. 1979); In re Trimble Co., 479 F.2d 103, 110 (3d Cir. 1973); see Louisville & Nashville R.R. Co. v. Mottley, 211 U.S. 149, 152, 29 S.Ct. 42, 43, 53 L.Ed. 126 (1908); Cameron v. Hodges, 127 U.S. 322, 325, 8 S.Ct. 1154, 1155, 32 L.Ed. 132 (1888). The exact limits of our task have been set by the Supreme Court.

(W)here after removal a case is tried on the merits without objection and the federal court enters judgment, the issue in subsequent proceedings on appeal is not whether the case was properly removed, but whether the federal district court would have had original jurisdiction of the case had it been filed in that court.

Grubbs v. General Electric Credit Corp., 405 U.S. at 702, 92 S.Ct. at 1347 (emphasis added).

10. We shall begin by examining each of the complaints to determine whether the case, as it first appeared in federal court, was properly within our subject matter jurisdiction. We then consider the claims as they stood at the time of judgment. Because we conclude that at no time during the proceedings was there a federal cause of action, we find it unnecessary to pass upon a number of thorny jurisdictional problems. 3

III

11. We first examine the third party complaint, filed by Boeing Vertol against the union, which provided the alleged basis for the removal of this case. The first count of that two count complaint alleges misrepresentation by the union to the plaintiff employees. This is a nonfederal claim which need not concern us here.

12. The second count of the complaint alleges that plaintiffs' claims should have been processed as a grievance under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement and that the collective bargaining agreement provides that the grievance procedure is the sole remedy for the disposition of claims by employees against the company. It is urged that these allegations state a cause of action for breach of the union's duty of fair representation. Boeing also contends that the complaint states a cause of action under section 301(a) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a) (1976), for breach by the union of

Page 961

the collective bargaining agreement. We disagree with both arguments.

13. The duty of fair representation is the duty owed by the union to the employees to represent their interests fairly and in good faith. Vaca v. Sipes, 386 U.S. 171, 177, 87 S.Ct. 903, 909, 17 L.Ed.2d 842 (1967); Humphrey v. Moore, 375 U.S. 335, 342, 84 S.Ct. 363, 367, 11 L.Ed.2d 370 (1964); Nedd v. United Mine Workers, 400 F.2d 103, 105-06 (3d Cir. 1968); Gainey v. Brotherhood of Ry. and S.S. Clerks, 313 F.2d 318 (3d Cir. 1963). This duty arises out of the union-employee relationship. Nedd v. United Mine Workers, 400 F.2d at 106, and the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 158-159 (1976), which creates and defines that relationship. 4 See Hines v. Anchor Motor Freight, Inc., 424 U.S. 554, 563-64, 96 S.Ct. 1048, 1055-56, 47 L.Ed.2d 231 (1976); Vaca v. Sipes, 386 U.S. 171, 177, 87 S.Ct. 903, 909, 17 L.Ed.2d 842 (1967); Deboles v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 552 F.2d 1005, 1013-14 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 434 U.S. 837, 98 S.Ct. 126, 54 L.Ed.2d 98 (1977); Augspurger v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Eng'rs, 510 F.2d 853, 857-58 (8th Cir. 1975); Smith v. Local 25, Sheet Metal Workers Int'l Ass'n, 500 F.2d 741, 746 (5th Cir. 1974). To violate the duty, however, it is necessary that the union act with a bad faith motive. Augspurger v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Eng'rs, 510 F.2d 853, 859 (8th Cir. 1975); Balowski v. United Auto. Wor...

To continue reading

Request your trial
67 practice notes
  • Graf v. Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Ry. Co., No. 882
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • January 7, 1983
    ...Cir.1978); Farmer v. ARA Services, Inc., 660 F.2d 1096, 1103 (6th Cir.1981). The Third Circuit's decision in Medlin v. Boeing Vertol Co., 620 F.2d 957, 961 (3d Cir.1980), however, supports Vaca v. Sipes, 386 U.S. 171, 194, 87 S.Ct. 903, 918, 17 L.Ed.2d 842 (1967), the Supreme Court's fulles......
  • Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Ward Trucking Corp., No. 94-3377
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • April 10, 1995
    ...Apprentices of Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Indus. of U.S. and Canada, AFL-CIO, 628 F.2d 812, 813 (3d Cir.1980); Medlin v. Boeing Vertol Co., 620 F.2d 957, 958 & n. 1 (3d Cir.1980); Jersey Central Power & Light Co. v. Local Unions 327, 749, 1289, 1298, 1303, 1309 and 1314 of Int'l Brotherhood ......
  • MCI Telecommunications Corp. v. Teleconcepts, Inc., No. 94-5426
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • December 8, 1995
    ...the district court nor Teleconcepts ever raised this issue we have an obligation to do so sua sponte. See Medlin v. Boeing Vertol Co., 620 F.2d 957, 960 (3d Cir.1980); Carlsberg Resources Corp. v. Cambria Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 554 F.2d 1254, 1256 (3d MCI's action is based upon Teleconcepts' fa......
  • Abramowich v. CSX Transp., Inc., Civil Action No. 3:11–109.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • September 26, 2013
    ...members was made in bad faith or that the union's actions were in any way arbitrary or discriminatory. See Medlin v. Boeing Vertol Co., 620 F.2d 957, 961 (3d Cir.1980) (“[I]t is essential that plaintiffs allege a bad faith motive on the part of the union.”); Bazarte v. United Transp. Union,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
67 cases
  • Graf v. Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Ry. Co., No. 882
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • January 7, 1983
    ...Cir.1978); Farmer v. ARA Services, Inc., 660 F.2d 1096, 1103 (6th Cir.1981). The Third Circuit's decision in Medlin v. Boeing Vertol Co., 620 F.2d 957, 961 (3d Cir.1980), however, supports Vaca v. Sipes, 386 U.S. 171, 194, 87 S.Ct. 903, 918, 17 L.Ed.2d 842 (1967), the Supreme Court's fulles......
  • Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Ward Trucking Corp., No. 94-3377
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • April 10, 1995
    ...Apprentices of Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Indus. of U.S. and Canada, AFL-CIO, 628 F.2d 812, 813 (3d Cir.1980); Medlin v. Boeing Vertol Co., 620 F.2d 957, 958 & n. 1 (3d Cir.1980); Jersey Central Power & Light Co. v. Local Unions 327, 749, 1289, 1298, 1303, 1309 and 1314 of Int'l Brotherhood ......
  • MCI Telecommunications Corp. v. Teleconcepts, Inc., No. 94-5426
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • December 8, 1995
    ...the district court nor Teleconcepts ever raised this issue we have an obligation to do so sua sponte. See Medlin v. Boeing Vertol Co., 620 F.2d 957, 960 (3d Cir.1980); Carlsberg Resources Corp. v. Cambria Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 554 F.2d 1254, 1256 (3d MCI's action is based upon Teleconcepts' fa......
  • Abramowich v. CSX Transp., Inc., Civil Action No. 3:11–109.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • September 26, 2013
    ...members was made in bad faith or that the union's actions were in any way arbitrary or discriminatory. See Medlin v. Boeing Vertol Co., 620 F.2d 957, 961 (3d Cir.1980) (“[I]t is essential that plaintiffs allege a bad faith motive on the part of the union.”); Bazarte v. United Transp. Union,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT