Walsh v. International Longshoremen's Ass'n, AFL-CIO, Local 799, AFL-CI

Citation630 F.2d 864
Decision Date17 September 1980
Docket NumberR,AFL-CI,LOCAL,No. 80-1330,80-1330
Parties105 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2809, 89 Lab.Cas. P 12,304 Michael F. WALSH, etc., Petitioner, Appellant, v. INTERNATIONAL LONGSHOREMEN'S ASSOCIATION,799, International Longshoremen's Association,espondents, Appellees.
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)

James Holcomb, Washington, D. C., with whom William A. Lubbers, Gen. Counsel, John E. Higgins, Jr., Deputy Gen. Counsel, Harold J. Datz, Associate Gen. Counsel, Joseph E. Mayer, Asst. Gen. Counsel, and Peter B. Mirsky, Deputy Asst. Gen. Counsel, Washington, D. C., on brief, for petitioner, appellant.

Duane R. Batista, Danielle de Benedictis, William G. Ferris, and Nutter, McLennen & Fish, Boston, Mass., on brief, for Allied International, Inc., amicus curiae.

Ernest L. Mathews, Jr., New York City, with whom Gary G. Nicolosi, Andre Mazzola Mardon, New York City, Joseph Doyle, Condon & Doyle, Boston, Mass., and Thomas W. Gleason, New York City, on brief, for respondents, appellees.

Before COFFIN, Chief Judge, CAMPBELL and BOWNES, Circuit Judges.

LEVIN H. CAMPBELL, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from a decision of the district court denying a preliminary injunction under section 10(l ) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 160(l ).

The facts are essentially undisputed. In December of 1979, armed forces of the USSR invaded Afghanistan. In protest of that action, on January 9, 1980, Thomas Gleason, President of the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA), ordered members of the ILA to cease handling cargoes bound for or arriving from the USSR and all cargoes traveling on ships of USSR registry. 1

As a result of this order, ILA locals in ports along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts have refused to refer members for work involving Soviet ships or cargoes.

This policy has prevented the loading and unloading of cargoes belonging to various shippers in these ports. At least three such shippers have responded by filing charges with the NLRB against the ILA and the particular locals involved. These charging parties have characterized the ILA's policy as a secondary boycott in violation of section 8(b)(4)(i), (ii)(B) of the National Labor Relations Act-that is, a refusal by the union to handle goods associated with the USSR in an attempt to force the shippers, the carriers, and/or the stevedores to cease doing business with the USSR or with each other.

The Board has adopted this characterization of the ILA's policy. While the charges are pending with the Board, at least three regional directors have brought actions in three federal district courts seeing preliminary injunctions under section 10(l ) of the NLRA, 29 U.S.C. § 160(l ). First, the regional director of region 23 brought an action in the Southern District of Texas 2 in response to charges filed with the Board by the Kansas and Texas Farm Bureaus and the American Farm Bureau Federation. The farm bureaus had filed the charges because locals of the ILA had refused to refer longshoremen to load grain bound for the USSR aboard the Belgium, a ship of Belgian registry under charter by a Soviet chartering company. The District Court for the Southern District of Texas, in an unpublished memorandum and opinion dated February 15, 1980, denied the Board's petition on the ground that the dispute was not "in commerce," so that the Board had no jurisdiction over it.

The regional director of region 10 brought the second section 10(1 ) petition in the Southern District of Georgia, 3 in response to a charge filed by Occidental Chemical Corporation, a manufacturer of chemical products which had been unable to receive its shipments of raw materials originating in the USSR because of the refusal of the ILA local in Savannah to unload the goods. In an unpublished opinion dated March 4, 1980, the district court rejected the union's assertion of res judicata, found jurisdiction in the Board, and issued the requested injunction. That injunction is currently in effect and prevents the ILA from pursuing its policy in the ports of Savannah and Brunswick, Georgia. The rulings of both the Texas and Georgia district courts are currently on appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The action which led to this appeal was brought by the regional director of region 1 on March 26, 1980 in response to a charge filed by Allied International, Inc., an American importer of wood products. Allied had purchased certain wood products from the USSR and arranged to have them transported to various east coast ports by Waterman Steamship Lines, a domestic company operating ships of U.S. registry. At the time of president Gleason's announcement, one such ship was in the port of Boston, where a portion of Allied's products was scheduled to be unloaded. The ship was scheduled to make further stops at other ports for additional unloading. However, because of the ILA's policy as announced by president Gleason, Waterman was informed that ILA members would not unload the Soviet wood products from that ship at any ports beyond Boston, and that they would not unload Soviet cargo from any later ships. As a result, Waterman unloaded all of Allied's cargo in Boston, rerouted a later ship to Montreal and cancelled its agreement to transport Soviet wood products for Allied on a third ship.

In the district court, the respondents asserted that the decision of the district court for the Southern District of Texas in Baldovin barred this action under the doctrine of res judicata. Respondents also argued that the Board lacked jurisdiction over the dispute, that it lacked reasonable cause to believe that an unfair labor practice had occurred, and that the union's action was a form of political expression protected by the first amendment. In a memorandum and order dated April 30, 1980, the district court rejected the claim of res judicata and found jurisdiction in the Board, but also found no reasonable cause to believe that an unfair labor practice had occurred. 4 The court therefore denied the petition.

In this court, the Board argues that the district court was incorrect in its conclusion that there was no reasonable cause to believe that an unfair labor practice had occurred. The ILA renews its jurisdictional and first amendment defenses while supporting the district court's conclusion on the secondary boycott issue. Neither party raised the issue of res judicata. However, since it appeared that the doctrine might be dispositive of the case, we ordered the parties to submit supplementary briefs on the issue. After reviewing those briefs along with relevant portions of the records in the Baldovin and Mack cases, we have concluded that this action is barred by the decision of the district court in Baldovin. We therefore vacate the judgment of the district court insofar as it is based upon the grounds stated in the court's opinion and remand with directions that the petition be dismissed simply on the ground of res judicata.

I. The Preclusive Effect of Decisions Under Section 10(l)

Res judicata 5 is a judicially created rule that bars relitigation of claims and issues that have been previously determined. The outlines of the rule are clearly set forth in Commissioner v. Sunnen, 333 U.S. 591, 68 S.Ct. 715, 92 L.Ed. 898 (1947):

"The rule provides that when a court of competent jurisdiction has entered a final judgment on the merits of a cause of action, the parties to the suit and their privies are thereafter bound not only as to every matter which was offered and received to sustain or defeat the claim or demand, but as to any other admissible matter which might have been offered for that purpose." (Citations omitted.)

Under the narrower rule of collateral estoppel,

"Where the second action between the same parties is upon a different cause or demand ... the judgment in the prior action operates as an estoppel, not as to matters which might have been litigated and determined, but 'only as to those matters in issue or points controverted, upon the determination of which the finding or verdict was rendered'." (Citations omitted.)

Id. at 597-98, 68 S.Ct. at 719.

The Supreme Court described the purposes and importance of these two related doctrines in its recent opinion in Montana v. United States, 440 U.S. 147, 99 S.Ct. 970, 59 L.Ed.2d 210 (1979):

"Application of both doctrines is central to the purpose for which civil courts have been established, the conclusive resolution of disputes within their jurisdictions.... (Citations omitted). To preclude parties from contesting matters that they have had a full and fair opportunity to litigate protects their adversaries from the expense and vexation attending multiple lawsuits, conserves judicial resources, and fosters reliance on judicial action by minimizing the possibility of inconsistent decisions."

Id. at 153-54, 99 S.Ct. at 974.

As these purposes relate to all kinds of litigation, res judicata and collateral estoppel have been applied to every category of cases. Cf. St. Louis Typographical Union v. Herald Co., 402 F.2d 553, 555 (8th Cir. 1968) (calling res judicata a "principle of universal jurisprudence"). Nevertheless, the Board argues, and the district court in this case held, that decisions in proceedings under section 10(l ), because of their preliminary and ancillary nature, should not be treated as final judgments so as to trigger the application of these doctrines. The parties have cited no cases, other than the district court decision in this case, which directly address the question of the preclusive effect of decisions in section 10(l ) proceedings, nor have we found any such cases. We therefore address the question as one of first impression. 6

Section 10(l ) of the National Labor Relations Act directs regional directors of the Board to seek preliminary injunctive relief in a district court, pending final adjudication by the Board, whenever they...

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