National Labor Relations Board v. Duval Jewelry Company of Miami, No. 234

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtDOUGLAS
Citation357 U.S. 1,2 L.Ed.2d 1097,78 S.Ct. 1024
PartiesNATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Petitioner, v. DUVAL JEWELRY COMPANY OF MIAMI, Inc., Duval Jewelry Company, Jenkins and Sons, Inc., et al
Decision Date09 June 1958
Docket NumberNo. 234

357 U.S. 1
78 S.Ct. 1024
2 L.Ed.2d 1097
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Petitioner,

v.

DUVAL JEWELRY COMPANY OF MIAMI, Inc., Duval Jewelry Company, Jenkins and Sons, Inc., et al.

No. 234.
Argued May 20, 1958.
Decided June 9, 1958.

Page 2

Mr. Norton J. Come, Washington, D.C., for petitioner.

Mr. Theo. Hamilton, Jacksonville, Fla., for respondents.

Mr. Justice DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

This controversy grows out of an effort of a union to obtain a representation election1 among the employees of respondent, Duval Jewelry Co., a retail store. The latter moved to dismiss on the ground that its interstate operations were inadequate to meet the jurisdictional

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tests of the Act. Five subpoenas duces tecum and one subpoena ad testificandum were issued.2 The persons to whom the subpoenas were directed moved before both the Board and the hearing officer to revoke the sub-

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poenas.3 The Board refused to entertain the motions to revoke on the grounds that those motions, under its Rules and Regulations,4 require an initial ruling by the hearing officer. That officer after granting an opportunity for a hearing denied the motions to revoke. That ruling was not appealed; and respondents refused to comply with the subpoenas. Thereupon the Board instituted this proceeding in the District Court for enforcement of them.5

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The District Court quashed the subpoenas holding them unreasonable and oppressive. It also held they had been invalidly issued. 141 F.Supp. 860. The Court of Appeals reversed the District Court on the subpoena ad testificandum; and no question concerning it is before us. But it upheld the District Court as respects the subpoenas duces tecum, on the ground that the Board alone could rule on motions to revoke subpoenas duces tecum in representation proceedings. 5 Cir., 243 F.2d 427. The case is here on a writ of certiorari, 355 U.S. 809, 78 S.Ct. 34, 2 L.Ed.2d 28, which we granted because of a conflict among the Circuits. See, e.g., National Labor Relations Board v. Lewis, 9 Cir., 249 F.2d 832, 833, 836—837; National Labor Relations Board v. Gunaca, D.C., 135 F.Supp. 790, affirmed 7 Cir., 230 F.2d 542.

There is a degree of delegation of authority in connection with a motion to revoke a subpoena duces tecum. The Board's Rules and Regulations provide that a motion to revoke is first heard by the regional director or by the hearing officer.6 But the ruling of that subordinate official is not final. Machinery is provided in the Rules for an appeal from that ruling to the Board. 7

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We are advised that in practice the aggrieved party asks the Board for leave to appeal, stating the grounds relied upon. The Board in deciding whether to grant the appeal considers the merits. If no substantial question has been raised, leave to appeal is denied. If a substantial question is presented, leave to appeal is granted. Sometimes when leave to appeal is granted, action is forthwith taken on the merits, the ruling of the hearing officer being reversed or modified.8 Or where an immediate ruling by the Board on a motion to revoke is not required, the Board defers its ruling until the entire case is transferred to it in normal course.9

Section 11(1) of the Act, as noted,10 gives a person served with a subpoena duces tecum the right to 'petition the Board to revoke'; and that section provides that

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'the Board shall revoke * * * such subpena if in its opinion' the statutory requirements are not satisfied. The limited nature of the delegated authority distinguishes the case from Cudahy Packing Co. v. Holland, 315 U.S. 357, 62 S.Ct. 651, 86 L.Ed. 895, and Fleming v. Mohawk Wrecking Co., 331 U.S. 111, 67 S.Ct. 1129, 91 L.Ed. 1375, where the person endowed with the power to issue subpoenas delegated the function to another. While there is delegation here, the ultimate decision on a motion to revoke is reserved to the Board, not to a subordinate. All that the Board has delegated is the preliminary ruling on the motion to revoke. It retains the final decision on the merits. One who is aggrieved by the ruling of the regional director or hearing officer can get the Board's ruling. The fact that special permission of the Board is required for the appeal11 is not important. Motion for leave to appeal is the method of showing that a substantial question is raised concerning the validity of the subordinate's ruling. If the Board denies leave, it has decided that no substantial question is presented. We think that no more is required of it under the statutory system embodied iin § 11. No matter how strict or stubborn the statutory requirement may be, the law does not 'preclude practicable administrative procedure in obtaining the aid of assistants in the department.' See Morgan v. United States, 298 U.S. 468, 481, 56 S.Ct. 906, 912, 80 L.Ed. 1288; Eagles v. U.S. ex rel. Samuels, 329 U.S. 304, 315, 316, 67 S.Ct. 313, 319, 91 L.Ed. 308. It is not of help to say that on some matters the Board has original jurisdiction, on others appellate jurisdiction. We are dealing with a matter on which the Board has the final say. As in the case of many other matters coming before hearing examiners, it merely delegates the right to make a preliminary ruling. Much of the work of the Board necessarily has to be done through agents. Section 5 of the Act provides that 'The Board may, by one or more

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of its members or by such agents or agencies as it may designate, prosecute any inquiry necessary to its functions in any part of the United States.' 29 U.S.C.A. § 155. As we have seen12 hearings on these representation cases 'may be conducted by an officer or employee of the regional office.' Certainly preliminary rulings on subpoena questions are as much in the purview of a hearing officer as his rulings on evidence and the myriad of questions daily presented to him. He does not, of course, have the final word. Ultimate decision on the merits of all the issues coming before him is...

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43 practice notes
  • Vokas Provision Co. v. N.L.R.B., Nos. 84-5886
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • 21 Julio 1986
    ...& Son Co., 428 F.2d 938, 942 (1st Cir.1970)); see also Hydro Conduit Corp., 274 N.L.R.B. No. 190 (1985). Cf. N.L.R.B. v. Duval Jewelry Co., 357 U.S. 1, 78 S.Ct. 1024, 2 L.Ed.2d 1097 (1958); Lewis v. N.L.R.B., 357 U.S. 10, 78 S.Ct. 1029, 2 L.Ed.2d 1103 In the absence of a subpoena, it is wel......
  • Long Beach Fed. S. & L. Ass'n v. Federal Home Loan Bk. Bd., No. 1039-60-PH.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • 18 Noviembre 1960
    ...International Typographical Union, D.C., 76 F.Supp. 895; N. L. R. B. v. Lewis, 9 Cir., 249 F.2d 832; and N. L. R. B. v. Duval Jewelry Co., 357 U.S. 1, 78 S.Ct. 1024, 2 L.Ed.2d 1097. 29 U.S.C.A. § 161 (1) reads in part: "Such person may petition the Board to revoke, and the Board shall revok......
  • Government of Virgin Islands v. Fredericks, No. 77-1963
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 7 Junio 1978
    ...control. . . ." See Lyles v. United States, 103 U.S.App.D.C. 22, 254 F.2d 725 (1957) (En banc ) Cert. denied 356 U.S. 961, 78 S.Ct. 997, 2 L.Ed.2d 1097 (1958). Since at Voir dire the jury was informed of the effect of a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict, as the majority points out, t......
  • Osthus v. Whitesell Corp.., No. 09–3209.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 22 Abril 2011
    ...to regional directors because it is a ministerial act requiring no exercise of discretion), and NLRB v. Duval Jewelry Co. of Miami, Inc., 357 U.S. 1, 6–8, 78 S.Ct. 1024, 2 L.Ed.2d 1097 (1958) (concluding the Board can delegate the preliminary ruling on a motion to revoke subpoena to a regio......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
43 cases
  • Vokas Provision Co. v. N.L.R.B., Nos. 84-5886
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • 21 Julio 1986
    ...& Son Co., 428 F.2d 938, 942 (1st Cir.1970)); see also Hydro Conduit Corp., 274 N.L.R.B. No. 190 (1985). Cf. N.L.R.B. v. Duval Jewelry Co., 357 U.S. 1, 78 S.Ct. 1024, 2 L.Ed.2d 1097 (1958); Lewis v. N.L.R.B., 357 U.S. 10, 78 S.Ct. 1029, 2 L.Ed.2d 1103 In the absence of a subpoena, it is wel......
  • Long Beach Fed. S. & L. Ass'n v. Federal Home Loan Bk. Bd., No. 1039-60-PH.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • 18 Noviembre 1960
    ...International Typographical Union, D.C., 76 F.Supp. 895; N. L. R. B. v. Lewis, 9 Cir., 249 F.2d 832; and N. L. R. B. v. Duval Jewelry Co., 357 U.S. 1, 78 S.Ct. 1024, 2 L.Ed.2d 1097. 29 U.S.C.A. § 161 (1) reads in part: "Such person may petition the Board to revoke, and the Board shall revok......
  • Government of Virgin Islands v. Fredericks, No. 77-1963
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • 7 Junio 1978
    ...control. . . ." See Lyles v. United States, 103 U.S.App.D.C. 22, 254 F.2d 725 (1957) (En banc ) Cert. denied 356 U.S. 961, 78 S.Ct. 997, 2 L.Ed.2d 1097 (1958). Since at Voir dire the jury was informed of the effect of a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict, as the majority points out, t......
  • Osthus v. Whitesell Corp.., No. 09–3209.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 22 Abril 2011
    ...to regional directors because it is a ministerial act requiring no exercise of discretion), and NLRB v. Duval Jewelry Co. of Miami, Inc., 357 U.S. 1, 6–8, 78 S.Ct. 1024, 2 L.Ed.2d 1097 (1958) (concluding the Board can delegate the preliminary ruling on a motion to revoke subpoena to a regio......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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