Noe v. Local 983, Motor Vehicle Operators Union, Index Nos. 154208/2022

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (New York)
Writing for the CourtHON. LYLE E. FRANK JUSTICE
Citation2022 NY Slip Op 31833 (U)
PartiesJOLIFER NOE, CARMEN RODRIGUEZ, NATIVA PALMER, ERIC AUGUSTE, RICHARD RIVERA Plaintiff, v. LOCAL 983, MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATORS UNION, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, JOE ORO, Defendant.
Decision Date10 June 2022
Docket NumberIndex Nos. 154208/2022,001

2022 NY Slip Op 31833(U)

JOLIFER NOE, CARMEN RODRIGUEZ, NATIVA PALMER, ERIC AUGUSTE, RICHARD RIVERA Plaintiff,
v.

LOCAL 983, MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATORS UNION, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, JOE ORO, Defendant.

Index Nos. 154208/2022, 001

Supreme Court, New York County

June 10, 2022


Unpublished Opinion

MOTION DATE 05/18/2022

AMENDED DECISION + ORDER ON MOTION

HON. LYLE E. FRANK JUSTICE

The following e-filed documents, listed by NYSCEF document number (Motion 001) 3, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78 were read on this motion to/for _INJUNCTION/RESTRAINING ORDER

This petition arises out of a dispute regarding an upcoming election for the Local 983 Motor Vehicle Operators Union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal

Employees ("Local 983").[1] For the foregoing reasons, the Court grants Petitioners a preliminary injunction to enjoin Respondents from conducting its election until the deficiencies in the election process are corrected.

As a threshold matter, Respondents argue that Article 78 is in inappropriate for the petitioners to seek redress in this matter. The Court agrees. The Petitioners cite Matter of LaSonde v. Seabrook, 89 A.D.3d 132, 933 N.Y.S.2d 195 (N.Y.A.D. 1st Dept. 2011) for the proposition that union members may seek redress of the Courts through an Article 78 proceeding to ensure the union's compliance with its constitution. However, the sentence cited modifies the previous sentence which discusses when this applies i.e. where the union has incorporated.

1

However, an earlier sentence of the same decision does to this Court give the petitioner the opportunity to seek redress from this Court, and that is the sentence that the union's constitution constitutes a contract between the union and its member.

Therefore, although this matter was brought pursuant to CPLR Article 78, the Court exercises its authority exercise our authority under CPLR 103 (c), and in this particular case, nostra sponte convert the petition to a declaratory judgment action (see Matter of Medicon Diagnostic Labs. V Perales, 74 N.Y.2d 539, 544, 549 N.E.2d 124, 549 N.Y.S.2d 933 [1989] [noting that the Appellate Division had sua sponte converted the article 78 proceeding to a declaratory judgment action]; Matter of Oglesby v McKinney, 28 A.D.3d 153, 158, 809 N.Y.S.2d 334 [2006], affd 7 N.Y.3d 561, 858 N.E.2d 1136, 825 N.Y.S.2d 431 [2006] ["this (article 78) proceeding should be converted, sua sponte, to a declaratory judgment action"]). (Matter of Scarano v City of NY, 86 A.D.3d 444, 445 [1st Dept 2011]).

As such, if the Petitioners have demonstrated likelihood of success on the merits and irreparable harm and that the equities tilts in their favor, the petitioners will be entitled to injunctive relief. The Court will now turn to this.

The Court believes that the Petitioners will succeed on the merits in its argument that the Local 983 constitution has been violated by the Respondents....

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