Murphy v. International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 18, Nos. 82-3702

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore ENGEL and JONES, Circuit Judges, and SPIEGEL; ENGEL; The result of our careful review of this extensive record is to uphold in nearly all respects the judgment entered by Judge Lambros. The departure we take from his conclusions in certain ins
Citation774 F.2d 114
Parties120 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2837, 54 USLW 2255, 103 Lab.Cas. P 11,663 William F. MURPHY, Plaintiff-Appellee, Cross-Appellant, v. INTERNATIONAL UNION OF OPERATING ENGINEERS, LOCAL 18; John Possehl; Charles Rutherford; John Frank; Frank Miller; and S.A. Blair, Defendants-Appellants, Cross-Appellees.
Decision Date30 September 1985
Docket NumberNos. 82-3702,82-3747

Page 114

774 F.2d 114
120 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2837, 54 USLW 2255,
103 Lab.Cas. P 11,663
William F. MURPHY, Plaintiff-Appellee, Cross-Appellant,
v.
INTERNATIONAL UNION OF OPERATING ENGINEERS, LOCAL 18; John
Possehl; Charles Rutherford; John Frank; Frank
Miller; and S.A. Blair,
Defendants-Appellants, Cross-Appellees.
Nos. 82-3702, 82-3747.
United States Court of Appeals,
Sixth Circuit.
Argued Feb. 14, 1985.
Decided Sept. 30, 1985.

Page 116

William Fadel, Cleveland, Ohio, Bernard M. Baum, argued, Baum, Sigman & Gold, Chicago, Ill., for defendants-appellants, cross-appellees.

Alan Miles Ruben, argued, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State

Page 117

University, Cleveland, Ohio, for plaintiff-appellee, cross-appellant.

Before ENGEL and JONES, Circuit Judges, and SPIEGEL, District Judge. *

ENGEL, Circuit Judge.

This case represents the latest and, it might be hoped, the last of extensive litigation dating from 1973 and involving an intraunion conflict for control of Local 18 of the International Union of Operating Engineers. This litigation, brought by William F. Murphy, was first commenced on December 21, 1973. Murphy's continuing conflict with Local 18 has already been before this court twice. International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 18 v. NLRB, 496 F.2d 1308 (6th Cir.1974); NLRB v. International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 18, 555 F.2d 552 (6th Cir.1977). The closely allied disputes involving dissident union members John, Ervin, William, and Walter Shimman and their supporters have spawned an even greater flow of litigation. The intraunion conflicts within the International Union of Operating Engineers have also been a specific concern of Congress as it considered the adequacy of federal labor law as it affects union democracy. Interim Report, Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field, S.Rep. No. 1417, 85th Cong., 2d Sess. 371-443 (1958); see also Nelson v. Johnson, 212 F.Supp. 233, 265 (D.Minn.), aff'd, 325 F.2d 646 (8th Cir.1963). The detailed facts are to be found in the extensive record in this appeal and in nearly two hundred pages of findings of fact and conclusions of law made by United States District Judge Thomas D. Lambros. The district court's opinion is reported at Murphy v. International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 18 et al., 99 L.R.R.M. 2074 (N.D.Ohio 1978).

The result of our careful review of this extensive record is to uphold in nearly all respects the judgment entered by Judge Lambros. The departure we take from his conclusions in certain instances reflect, in the main, changes or refinements in the law which have taken place since particular rulings were made. On the whole, however, Judge Lambros has by prodigious and careful work fulfilled a highly difficult task with skill, intelligence and care. We commend him for it.

The International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 18 ("Local 18" or the "Union") and John Frank appeal 1 and William F. Murphy cross-appeals from the judgment entered in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in this labor dispute. Appellants contend that the district court erroneously found violations of section 411 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act ("LMRDA") (or "Landrum-Griffin Act"), 29 U.S.C. Secs. 401-531; 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1985(3); section 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act, ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. Sec. 185; and various pendent state law claims. Murphy argues that the district court should not have vacated its punitive damages award, should have taxed his expert witness fees as costs, and should have found in his favor on one additional count under section 411.

I. THE FACTS

Local 18 is the collective bargaining representative for approximately 16,000 members who operate and maintain heavy equipment in the construction industry in eighty-five counties in Ohio and four counties in Kentucky. Local 18 is directed by a Business Manager, thirteen other elected officers, and its Executive Board. The Executive Board is comprised of the Business Manager and five of the Union's other

Page 118

elected officers as well as three elected members from each of Local 18's six administrative districts. Each of these six districts is under the direction of a District Representative, who is assisted by Business Agents and clerical employees, all of whom serve at the Business Manager's discretion.

During the period in question here, John Possehl was Local 18's Business Manager, and John Frank was both Vice-President of Local 18 and Business Agent of District One in Cleveland (from 1962 to 1968) and District Two in Toledo (after 1968).

The Union operates an exclusive hiring hall under a variety of collective bargaining agreements to which it is a party. Under the Union's employment referral system, each member who is seeking employment registers in a district's work referral deck. A member may only be registered in one deck at any time. Referrals are then made on the basis of the member's seniority as an operating engineer and the length of time his card has been in the deck.

Murphy was a Local 18 member who was within District One's jurisdiction. The district court found that Murphy had been associated with the "dissident movement" within Local 18 since 1970. In his lawsuit Murphy claimed that the Union discriminated against the dissidents as class in decision-making work referrals, and access to Union publications. He presented evidence that because of his opposition to the leadership, he was intimidated and subjected to violence, deprived of job referrals, denied a full and fair disciplinary hearing before Local 18's membership, unfairly rejected for reinstatement to the membership, and otherwise deprived of his rights as a Local 18 member. Murphy claimed that these actions were the result of a conspiracy among the Local 18 leaders named as defendants in his suit below.

Specifically, Murphy proved that the Union manipulated its work referral system to deny dissidents, including Murphy, employment opportunities. The number of days Murphy was employed through the Union declined from more than 200 days per year before 1970 (when he joined the dissident movement) to less than 100 days per year after 1970. Other Local 18 members who were not considered dissidents did not suffer equivalent declines in employment.

In addition, the district court found that the Local 18 leadership used verbal and physical harassment to control the dissidents. 2 Murphy alleged and proved that he was twice physically attacked by agents of Local 18's leadership: on June 27, 1970, he was beaten by two District Two Executive Board members (James Grothaus and Kenneth Delaney) after an Executive Board meeting, and on January 23, 1972, he was knocked unconscious by two District Three members (Raymond Eugene Shell and A.J. Roberts) while passing out dissident literature before a statewide Local 18 meeting.

Finally, Murphy established that the Union improperly disciplined him for his alleged theft of an election control list. Murphy was charged with the theft and tried before the District One membership, as required by Local 18's constitution and bylaws. The membership voted to convict him, and he was suspended for two years. In the district court Murphy proved that the District One leadership arranged to have members from other districts attend the meeting at which his disciplinary hearing was held in order to ensure his conviction. Murphy also established that as additional punishment for his conviction, the District One leadership removed his work referral card from its referral deck and refused to reregister the card, even though the removal was not a punishment which had been imposed at his hearing. Moreover,

Page 119

Murphy showed that after his two-year suspension had ended, the Union refused to reinstate him as a member.

II. THE ACTION

On December 21, 1973, Murphy filed this action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, alleging violations of the LMRDA, 29 U.S.C. Secs. 411, 412. During and at the close of the bench trial, Murphy amended his complaint to add claims under 42 U.S.C. Secs. 1981 and 1985(3), as well as other sections of the LMRDA (29 U.S.C. Secs. 481(c), 501, 523, 529, and 530), 29 U.S.C. Sec. 185, and a number of pendent claims. Named as defendants were Local 18, John Possehl, John Frank, Charles Rutherford (Local 18 President), Frank Miller (a District One officer), and S.A. Blair (a Local 18 officer).

On July 18, 1978, Judge Lambros entered judgment in Murphy's favor against Local 18, Possehl, and Frank under 29 U.S.C. Secs. 411, 412, and 529; 29 U.S.C. Sec. 185 (against Local 18 only); and 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1985(3). He also found in Murphy's favor on state law claims of breach of implied contract (against Local 18 only), breach of fiduciary duty (against Possehl only), assault and battery, and conspiracy. Judge Lambros entered judgment on all counts in favor of defendants Rutherford, Miller, and Blair. Murphy v. International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 18, et al., 99 L.R.R.M. 2074 (N.D.Ohio 1978) (hereinafter "Dist. Ct. op.").

The court found Local 18, Possehl, and Frank jointly liable for compensatory damages for Murphy's lost wages and benefits (in an amount to be determined) and $10,000 for pain and suffering. It also awarded Murphy punitive damages in the amount of $30,000 against Possehl, $20,000 against Frank, and $150,000 against Local 18. However, because Possehl had died before judgment was entered, the district court vacated the award of all damages against him. The court also granted Murphy injunctive relief, requiring the Union to cease discrimination against him in its work referral system, to allow him to exercise his right to participate in Union activities, and to expunge its records of all entries concerning his disciplinary hearing and conviction. Moreover, the court ordered measures to make the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
44 practice notes
  • Chrysler Workers Ass'n v. Chrysler Corp., No. C 84-7273.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • April 16, 1986
    ...§ 185, for breach of a collective bargaining agreement by an employee. See Murphy v. International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 18, 774 F.2d 114, 134 (6th Cir.1985), citing, Farmer v. ARA Services, Inc., 660 F.2d 1096, 1106-07 (6th Cir.1981); Hechenberger v. Western Electric Co., Inc......
  • Kovach v. Turner Dairy Farms, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:12–CV–00432.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • March 8, 2013
    ...*9–10 (E.D.Pa. Oct. 22, 1985) (speech threatening violence actionable under § 411); Murphy v. Int'l Union of Operating Eng'rs, Local 18, 774 F.2d 114, 123, 125 (6th Cir.1985) (economic discrimination, intimidation, and physical violence by the union is actionable under § 411 even if Plainti......
  • Kovach v. Serv. Pers. & Emps. of the Dairy Indus., Civil Action No. 2:12–cv–00432.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • September 30, 2014
    ...an attempt to intimidate dissidents before a Section 411 violation is established.” Murphy v. Int'l Union of Operating Eng'rs, Local 18, 774 F.2d 114, 126 (6th Cir.1985) (emphasis in original). In Wiglesworth v. Chauffeurs, Teamsters & Helpers Local Union 771, the court declined to grant su......
  • International Woodworkers of America, AFL-CIO and its Local No. 5-376 v. Champion Intern. Corp., AFL-CIO
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • June 2, 1986
    ...also Smillie v. Park Chemical Co., 710 F.2d 271 (6th Cir.1983) (SEC action); but see Murphy v. International Union of Operating Engineers, 774 F.2d 114 (6th Cir.1985) (LMRDA 75 Paschall v. Kansas City Star Co., 695 F.2d 322, 338-39 (8th Cir.1982), rev'd on other grounds en banc, 727 F.2d 69......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
44 cases
  • Chrysler Workers Ass'n v. Chrysler Corp., No. C 84-7273.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • April 16, 1986
    ...§ 185, for breach of a collective bargaining agreement by an employee. See Murphy v. International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 18, 774 F.2d 114, 134 (6th Cir.1985), citing, Farmer v. ARA Services, Inc., 660 F.2d 1096, 1106-07 (6th Cir.1981); Hechenberger v. Western Electric Co., Inc......
  • Kovach v. Turner Dairy Farms, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:12–CV–00432.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • March 8, 2013
    ...*9–10 (E.D.Pa. Oct. 22, 1985) (speech threatening violence actionable under § 411); Murphy v. Int'l Union of Operating Eng'rs, Local 18, 774 F.2d 114, 123, 125 (6th Cir.1985) (economic discrimination, intimidation, and physical violence by the union is actionable under § 411 even if Plainti......
  • Kovach v. Serv. Pers. & Emps. of the Dairy Indus., Civil Action No. 2:12–cv–00432.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • September 30, 2014
    ...an attempt to intimidate dissidents before a Section 411 violation is established.” Murphy v. Int'l Union of Operating Eng'rs, Local 18, 774 F.2d 114, 126 (6th Cir.1985) (emphasis in original). In Wiglesworth v. Chauffeurs, Teamsters & Helpers Local Union 771, the court declined to grant su......
  • International Woodworkers of America, AFL-CIO and its Local No. 5-376 v. Champion Intern. Corp., AFL-CIO
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • June 2, 1986
    ...also Smillie v. Park Chemical Co., 710 F.2d 271 (6th Cir.1983) (SEC action); but see Murphy v. International Union of Operating Engineers, 774 F.2d 114 (6th Cir.1985) (LMRDA 75 Paschall v. Kansas City Star Co., 695 F.2d 322, 338-39 (8th Cir.1982), rev'd on other grounds en banc, 727 F.2d 69......
  • 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