Raus v. Brotherhood of Ry. Carmen of U.S. and Canada, No. 93

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore LAY, Chief Judge, HEANEY and ROSS; ROSS
Parties108 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2994, 92 Lab.Cas. P 13,126 Leonard R. RAUS, Delmar D. Steadman and Richard Tasto, Appellants, v. BROTHERHOOD RAILWAY CARMEN OF the UNITED STATES AND CANADA, and Brotherhood Railroad Carmen of United States and Canada, Bluff City Lodgeouncil Bluffs, Iowa and The Chicago and North Western Transportation Company, Appellees.
Docket NumberNo. 93,No. 80-2036,C
Decision Date10 November 1981

Page 791

663 F.2d 791
108 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2994, 92 Lab.Cas. P 13,126
Leonard R. RAUS, Delmar D. Steadman and Richard Tasto, Appellants,
v.
BROTHERHOOD RAILWAY CARMEN OF the UNITED STATES AND CANADA,
and Brotherhood Railroad Carmen of United States and Canada,
Bluff City Lodge No. 93, Council Bluffs, Iowa and The
Chicago and North Western Transportation Company, Appellees.
No. 80-2036.
United States Court of Appeals,
Eighth Circuit.
Submitted Sept. 17, 1981.
Decided Nov. 10, 1981.

Page 793

George Sutera, Vincent P. Sutera, Sutera & Sutera, Papillion, Neb., and Bruce D. Fleming, Atty. at Law, Council Bluffs, Iowa, for plaintiffs-appellants.

Frank W. Davis, Jr. (argued), Gamble, Riepe, Burt, Webster & Davis, Des Moines, for defendant-appellee, Chicago and North Western Transportation Co.

Mulholland & Hickey, Edward J. Hickey, Jr., Michael S. Wolly (argued), Washington, D. C., for Union defendants-appellees.

Before LAY, Chief Judge, HEANEY and ROSS, Circuit Judges.

ROSS, Circuit Judge.

Appellants challenge the district court's 1 orders granting the appellee railroad's motion for judgment on the pleadings and the appellee union's motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12. The district court sustained these motions based on its conclusion that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the appellant's claims. 2 For the reasons stated herein, this court must affirm in part and reverse and remand in part to the district court.

I. Background

Appellants are three employees of the Chicago and Northwestern Transportation Company and members of the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen of the United States and Canada. In January of 1980 these employees filed a complaint in federal district court against the railroad and union loosely alleging that the railroad breached the collective bargaining agreement it had with the union by not allowing the appellant employees to enter an apprentice training program. The appellants also alleged that the union violated its duty of fair representation by not enforcing their rights under the collective bargaining agreement. Appellants asserted that the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 141-185, provides the statutory authority for their suit in federal district court. 3

Appellees argued that the Railway Labor Act (RLA), 45 U.S.C. §§ 151-188 (1976), governs this suit, and because the appellants have not exhausted their administrative remedies under that Act, the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. The district court framed the issue in this case as "whether this court has jurisdiction when two causes of action, one controlled by the LMRA and the other by the RLA, are presented." Raus v. Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, 498 F.Supp. 1294, 1297 (S.D.Iowa 1980).

Page 794

The district court's statement of the general law applicable to labor disputes is substantially correct. Generally, under 45 U.S.C. § 153 First (i) of the Railway Labor Act, 4 minor disputes 5 between an employee and the railroad concerning terms of the collective bargaining agreement are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the National Railroad Adjustment Board. Andrews v. Louisville and Nashville Railroad, 406 U.S. 320, 322, 325, 92 S.Ct. 1562, 1564, 1565, 32 L.Ed.2d 95 (1972). See Union Pacific Railroad v. Sheehan, 439 U.S. 89, 93, 99 S.Ct. 399, 402, 58 L.Ed.2d 354 (1978); Glover v. St. Louis-San Francisco Railway, 393 U.S. 324, 328, 89 S.Ct. 548, 550, 21 L.Ed.2d 519 (1969). Suits by employees against only their unions for a breach of the duty of fair representation do not fall under the explicit provisions of the Railway Labor Act because they are not "disputes between an employee or group of employees and a carrier or carriers" within the meaning of the Railway Labor Act. 6 Glover v. St. Louis-San Francisco Railway, supra, 393 U.S. at 328, 89 S.Ct. at 550; Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 44, 78 S.Ct. 99, 101, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957). "(I)t is beyond cavil that a suit against the union for breach of its duty of fair representation is not within the jurisdiction of the National Railroad Adjustment Board * * *." 7 Czosek v. O'Mara, 397 U.S. 25, 27-28, 90 S.Ct. 770, 772-773, 25 L.Ed.2d 21 (1970).

However, the district court did err in concluding that the Labor Management Relations Act applied to the appellant railroad employees' cause of action against their union. Although Section 301 of the LMRA, 29 U.S.C. § 185, has been construed as providing an implied statutory basis for suits in federal district court by employees against their unions for unfair representation, 8 29 U.S.C. § 152(2) and (3) expressly exempt from the LMRA, employers and employees subject to the Railway Labor Act. Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Jacksonville Terminal Co., 394 U.S. 369, 376, 89 S.Ct. 1109, 1114, 22 L.Ed.2d 344 (1969); Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen v. United Transportation Union, 471 F.2d 8, 9 (6th Cir. 1972). Thus, federal courts do not have jurisdiction under 29 U.S.C. § 185 over suits brought by parties that are covered by the Railway Labor Act. See Corbin v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., 432 F.Supp. 939 (N.D.Cal.1977); Bruno v. Northeast Airlines, Inc., 229 F.Supp. 716 (D.Mass.1964). 9

Page 795

In light of the above this court believes that the issue presented in this case on appeal is as follows: In the absence of exhaustion of proceedings before the Adjustment Board under the Railway Labor Act, do federal courts have subject matter jurisdiction to entertain a suit by employees in which a cause of action against the employer railroad for violation of the collective bargaining agreement is joined with a cause of action against the union for breach of its duty of fair representation in not pursuing a grievance arising out of that alleged violation of the collective bargaining agreement?

II. Jurisdiction Concerning the Cause of Action Against the Union

Although the exact legal basis for its conclusion that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction is not clear, 10 the district court dismissed the appellants' complaint as to the union on these grounds. We find that the district court erred in dismissing the complaint as it relates to the union's breach of its duty of fair representation.

It is well established that a

suit against the union for breach of its duty of fair representation is not within the jurisdiction of the National Railroad Adjustment Board or subject to the ordinary rule that administrative remedies should be exhausted before resort to the courts. * * * The claim against the union defendants for the breach of their duty of fair representation is a discrete claim quite apart from the right of individual employees expressly extended to them under the Railway Labor Act to pursue their employer before the Adjustment Board.

Czosek v. O'Mara, supra, 397 U.S. at 28, 90 S.Ct. at 772-773 (citations and footnote omitted). This is true regardless of the fact that the fair representation claim stems from the failure of the union to process a grievance arising out of a violation of the collective bargaining agreement. Id. Conley v. Gibson, supra, 355 U.S. at 44-45, 78 S.Ct. at 101-102.

The statutory duty of fair representation by a union is judicially "implied from the (Railway Labor Act) and the policy which it has adopted." Steele v. Louisville and Nashville Railroad, 323 U.S. 192, 204, 65 S.Ct. 226, 232, 89 L.Ed. 173 (1944). 11

Page 796

Federal court jurisdiction over such a suit is clearly granted under 28 U.S.C. § 1337 (1976) 12 since it is one "arising under a law regulating commerce of which the federal courts are given jurisdiction * * *." Tunstall v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen, 323 U.S. 210, 213, 65 S.Ct. 235, 237, 89 L.Ed. 187 (1944) (citations omitted). The fact that the appellants mistakenly plead 29 U.S.C. § 185 as the basis for jurisdiction is not fatal to their complaint. The general rule is that where a basis for federal court jurisdiction appears clearly from an examination of the face of the complaint, the court may sustain the suit even if the plaintiff has not relied upon that basis. Vukonich v. Civil Service Commission, 589 F.2d 494, 496 n.1 (10th Cir. 1978); Harary v. Blumenthal, 555 F.2d 1113, 1115 n.1 (2d Cir. 1977); Mumford v. Glover, 503 F.2d 878, 882 (5th Cir. 1974); Rock v. Bryant, 459 F.Supp. 64, 67 (E.D.Ark.), aff'd, 590 F.2d 340 (8th Cir. 1978); C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure §§ 1206, 1210 (1969).

The next question is whether, since the district court clearly has jurisdiction over the fair representation cause of action, the court also has jurisdiction over a cause of action against the railroad that is joined with that claim?

III. Jurisdiction as to the Railroad

We agree with the district court that, beyond the basic principles set forth in Section I of this opinion, the law in this area is somewhat confusing. We also agree that the district court lacked jurisdiction over the appellants' cause of action against the railroad for a violation of the collective bargaining agreement in this case. However, we do not agree with the analysis employed by the district court in reaching that conclusion.

Appellants argue that this suit is a single hybrid dispute between the employees on one hand and the union and management together on the other. Therefore, they assert that it falls within the purview of those cases granting federal court jurisdiction to such hybrid suits. Appellees assert, and the district court found, that because: (1) the essence of the dispute is the alleged violation of the collective bargaining agreement by the railroad, which is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Railroad Adjustment Board under the RLA, and (2) the appellants have failed to exhaust those remedies, the district court lacks jurisdiction, regardless of the fact that the union was made a party defendant in the suit. Raus v. Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, supra, 498 F.Supp. at 1297.

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    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Arizona
    • November 20, 2008
    ...of the employer is permissible" in the court proceedings against the union. Raus v. Bhd. Ry. Carmen of the U.S. and Can., 663 F.2d 791, 797-98 (8th Cir. The Plaintiff West Pilots have neither alleged nor presented any specific facts suggesting collusion. "[Accusations of `bad fait......
  • 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
    ...bargaining agreement, then 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1337 confers original federal jurisdiction. See, e.g., Raus v. Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, 663 F.2d 791, 796 (8th Cir.1981). Steele v. Louisville & Nashville R.R., 323 Page 775 U.S. 192, 199, 204, 65 S.Ct. 226, 230, 232, 89 L.Ed. 173 (1944), ......
  • Emswiler v. CSX Transp., Inc., No. 11–3517.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • July 20, 2012
    ...one of the unions was allegedly aligned with the carrier against merged company employees); Raus v. Bhd. Ry. Carmen of U.S. & Canada, 663 F.2d 791, 798 (8th Cir.1981) (finding the critical question to be whether there was collusion, and holding that collusion was not alleged). Emswiler ......
  • Thompson v. United Transp. Union, No. 08-CV-65-LRR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • December 15, 2008
    ...(holding that § 1337(a) is the source of federal jurisdiction for duty of fair representation claims); Raus v. Bhd. of Ry. Carmen, 663 F.2d 791, 796 (8th Cir.1981) (same); see also Breininger v. Sheet Metal Workers Int'l Assoc. Local Union No. 6, 493 U.S. 67, 83, 110 S.Ct. 424, 107 L.Ed.2d ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
40 cases
  • Addington v. Us Airline Pilots Ass'n, No. CV-08-1633-PHX-NVW.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Arizona
    • November 20, 2008
    ..."[j]oinder of the employer is permissible" in the court proceedings against the union. Raus v. Bhd. Ry. Carmen of the U.S. and Can., 663 F.2d 791, 797-98 (8th Cir. The Plaintiff West Pilots have neither alleged nor presented any specific facts suggesting collusion. "[Accusations of `bad fai......
  • 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
    ...bargaining agreement, then 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1337 confers original federal jurisdiction. See, e.g., Raus v. Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, 663 F.2d 791, 796 (8th Cir.1981). Steele v. Louisville & Nashville R.R., 323 Page 775 U.S. 192, 199, 204, 65 S.Ct. 226, 230, 232, 89 L.Ed. 173 (1944), held......
  • Emswiler v. CSX Transp., Inc., No. 11–3517.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • July 20, 2012
    ...and one of the unions was allegedly aligned with the carrier against merged company employees); Raus v. Bhd. Ry. Carmen of U.S. & Canada, 663 F.2d 791, 798 (8th Cir.1981) (finding the critical question to be whether there was collusion, and holding that collusion was not alleged). Emswiler ......
  • Thompson v. United Transp. Union, No. 08-CV-65-LRR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • December 15, 2008
    ...(holding that § 1337(a) is the source of federal jurisdiction for duty of fair representation claims); Raus v. Bhd. of Ry. Carmen, 663 F.2d 791, 796 (8th Cir.1981) (same); see also Breininger v. Sheet Metal Workers Int'l Assoc. Local Union No. 6, 493 U.S. 67, 83, 110 S.Ct. 424, 107 L.Ed.2d ......
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