The opinion of the court was delivered by: VAN DUSEN
VAN DUSEN, Circuit Judge (Sitting by Designation).
After filing in January 1967, a Motion to Dismiss this Civil Action instituted in December 1966, which includes in Count I an alleged cause of action under 29 U.S.C. § 501,
the Union defendant in February 1967 filed the Motion (Document 8) now before the court, requesting that the order of December 23, 1966, granting plaintiffs' application for leave to sue, be vacated for the four reasons discussed below.
I. Contention that the Union and its representatives had not refused or failed to sue within a reasonable time after being requested to do so
The request to sue, addressed to the Union's General Executive Board (Exhibit C-1 to the Complaint), was dated November 7, 1966, and there was attached to the above Motion (Document 8) a copy of a letter of November 29, 1966, saying that the allegations in the November 7 letter were being referred to the Union Council of Delegates so that it could appoint a three-man committee to investigate the charges. This letter did not say that if the allegations were found to be accurate suit would be brought against the International President (Sal B. Hoffmann) or the members of the General Executive Board of the Union, who were alleged to be violating their fiduciary duties, in the November 7 letter. An affidavit attached to the above Motion (Document 8) stated that a three-man committee consisting of Ben Shouse (Chairman), Dominic Zappia, and Wardwell Lamberson had been selected and that their first meeting would be February 8, 1967. At the argument on this Motion held October 20, counsel for the Union stated that the committee had held hearings February 23-24, 1967, and one hearing in September 1967. There is no evidence that any corrective action has been taken by the Union.
If this Motion had been brought before the court in February 1967, it is most probable that the order of December 23, 1967, would have been vacated, but the filing of this Motion (Document 8) with the Clerk was never brought to the attention of the undersigned until June or July 1967. In July 1967, counsel were notified of an August argument date, but this was continued until October 20 at the request of counsel.
It would be a futile act to vacate the December 1966 order now and require plaintiffs to file another motion to authorize the filing of a complaint because the committee had not acted to correct the alleged grievances of plaintiffs within a reasonable time. It is now approximately a year since the Union was asked to remedy the alleged breaches of fiduciary duty and to sue Mr. Hoffmann by the letter of November 7, 1966. No showing of any remedial action or of a suit by the Union appears in this record.
II. Contention that plaintiffs failed to give the Union a reasonable opportunity to investigate or take remedial action
As stated under I, the Union has had approximately a year to take remedial action and to bring suit, but no such action has been shown.
III. Contention that exhaustion of internal remedies is a prerequisite to securing leave to file a suit under 29 U.S.C. § 501
On this record, no exhaustion of internal remedies is required for leave to file this suit. See Horner v. Ferron, 362 F.2d 224, 231 (9th Cir. 1966), and cases cited at pages 12-13 of plaintiff's brief (Document 23).
IV. Contention that "good cause" to file this action, as provided in 29 U.S.C. § 501(b), has not been shown
The allegations and exhibits of the verified Complaint set forth breaches of fiduciary duties by Union representatives. The Union has not placed on the record even sworn affidavits, denying each allegation relevant to the claims under 29 U.S.C. § 501 as stated, and has filed none of the testimony taken at the February and September hearings before the Union committee mentioned above. It is "inappropriate to consider, at such a hearing (on the issue of good cause under 29 U.S.C. § 501(b)), defenses which require the resolution of complex questions of law going to the substance of the case. Defenses of this kind should be appraised only on motion for summary judgment or after a trial. Defenses which necessitate the determination of a genuine issue of material fact, being beyond the scope of summary judgment procedure, are a fortiori, beyond the scope of a proceeding to determine whether a section 501(b) complaint may be filed. Defenses involving disputed questions of fact should be appraised only after a trial at which the parties and the court can have the benefit of a complete inquiry, assisted by such pre-trial discovery as may be undertaken." Horner v. Ferron, supra at 229.