Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

ANTAL v. BUDZANOSKI

November 23, 1970

Louis Antal et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Michael Budzanoski et al., Defendants


Weber, D.J.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: WEBER

Plaintiffs are a large number of individuals who are members of the United Mine Workers of America, an International Union, and belong to local unions within the jurisdiction of District 5 UMWA, a subordinate branch of said Union. They bring this action individually on their own behalf and on behalf of the other members of the Union. The individual defendants are the officers of District 5 UMWA sued in their official capacities and individually. Also named as defendants are District 5 of the United Mine Workers of America, a labor organization, having its principal place of business in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the United Mine Workers of America, International Union, the parent organization of District 5, which has its principal place of business in Washington, D.C., and which is a labor organization within the meaning of the statute in question. Also named are a large number of local unions of the UMWA, all of which are within the jurisdiction of District 5, UMWA.

 The primary aim of plaintiffs' suit is to compel the District 5 officers to comply with alleged requirements of the Constitution of the UMWA, International Union, and the District 5 UMWA Union.

 Plaintiffs allege that the individual defendant officers have obtained control of the legislative and elective machinery of the District 5 organization by continuing to maintain local unions which do not contain the requisite number of ten working members required by the Constitution of the International Union and the Constitution of the District 5 Union which contains the same requirement. Plaintiffs further allege that by maintaining these "ghost" local unions the defendant officers secured or controlled the appointment of delegates to the 1970 District 5 Convention called for April 1970 at which time certain resolutions and amendments to the District 5 Constitution were adopted, which would not have been adopted without the votes of delegates from these locals. Particularly under attack are (1) increases in the Workmen's Compensation assessment levied solely on the working members of the Union; (2) gerrymandering the sub-districts of District 5; and (3) permitting the casting of absentee ballots and other significant constitutional changes.

 Prior to the 1970 Convention of District 5 the plaintiffs sought an injunction restraining the seating of such delegates from the "ghost" locals, but the Court declined to enter a preliminary injunction prior to the Convention and later dismissed the Complaint without prejudice. Pellegrini et al. v. UMWA et al., Civil Action No. 70-413, Western District of Pennsylvania.

 Plaintiffs claim jurisdiction of this Court under 29 USCA §§ 411, 412; 501(a); 185, and 28 USCA § 1331.

 The defendants have moved to dismiss the Complaint on the grounds that this Court has no jurisdiction on any of the grounds asserted. The difficulty of the Court with a pleading such as this is that when so many separate allegations of causes of action are alleged by so many party-plaintiffs against so many and such different types of defendants it becomes extremely difficult for the Court to find the specific jurisdictional grounds which connects any individual plaintiff with any separate defendant under the terms of the statutes which strictly limit the jurisdiction of the United States District Court to rather narrow and rather specifically confined causes of action, some of which contain specific procedural prerequisites.

 The statutory limitations and restrictions were expressly imposed by Congress to avoid as much as possible judicial interference into the internal management of labor organizations and to compel, as far as possible, the parties involved to seek their remedies through the internal machinery of the labor organizations. See Horner v. Ferron, 362 F.2d 224, 228 (9th Cir. 1966), and Highway Truck Drivers and Helpers Local 107 v. Cohen, 182 F. Supp. 608, 622 (E.D. Pa.), affd., 284 F.2d 162 (3rd Cir. 1960). What the plaintiffs seek is declaratory relief with respect to the interpretation of the Constitutions of the labor organizations involved, injunctive relief against the continuance of certain practices alleged to be inconsistent therewith, and monetary damages payable to the defendant Unions as well as the individual plaintiffs, punitive damages, costs and fees. The plaintiffs allege that this action is brought as a class action on behalf of all individuals who are members of the defendant organizations and further that although these organizations are named nominal parties-defendant the action is brought by the plaintiffs on their behalf and for their benefit.

 In addition to the general relief which plaintiffs seek after a plenary proceeding they have also moved for a preliminary injunction directed solely against the casting of absentee ballots in the election scheduled for December 8, 1970, as was authorized by the constitutional amendment adopted in the April 1970 Convention under attack. We will consider the jurisdictional grounds alleged which are attacked by defendants' motion to dismiss, together with the motion for a preliminary injunction and the objections thereto.

 I.

 Plaintiffs' cause of action under Sec. 501 of the LMRD Act of 1959 must be dismissed for the following reasons:

 1. Sec. 501(b) permits a suit by a member against " . . . any officer, agent, shop steward, or representative of any labor organization." Therefore, plaintiffs may not maintain this action against the many local unions, District 5 UMWA, and UMWA International Union who are named parties-defendant. Woody v. Sterling Alum. Prod., 244 F. Supp. 84 (E.D. Mo. 1965), affd., 365 F.2d 448 (8th Cir. 1966).

 This record shows no such application made or leave granted. Such leave is a condition precedent to the bringing of such suit. Addison v. Grand Lodge, 318 F.2d 504 (9th Cir. 1963); Coleman v. Brotherhood, 340 F.2d 206 (2d Cir. 1965); Highway Truck Drivers and Helpers Local 107 v. Cohen, 182 F. Supp. 608 (E.D. Pa. 1960); Purcell v. Keane, 406 F.2d 1195 (3d Cir. 1969); Horner v. Ferron, 362 F.2d 224 (9th Cir. 1966).

 A factor in the showing of good cause requirement can be the extent to which plaintiffs have utilized or exhausted their internal union remedies. Coleman v. Brotherhood, supra; and Purcell v. Keane, supra.

 3. Sec. 501(a) imposes the duties upon union officers "to hold its money and property solely for the benefit of the organization and its members and to manage, invest, and expend the same in accordance with its constitution and bylaws and any resolutions of the governing bodies adopted thereunder, . . .".

 The complaint contains no allegations of failure to hold money or property for the benefit of the organization nor of any expenditure not authorized by the Constitution or bylaws or resolutions.

 Numerous cases have held that Sec. 501(b) remedies are available only on a cause of action dealing with the fiduciary responsibility with respect to the money or property of the union. Gurton v. Arons, 339 F.2d 371 (2d Cir. 1964); Coleman v. Brotherhood, 340 F.2d 206 (2d Cir. 1965); Holton v. McFarland, 215 F. Supp. 372 (D. Alaska 1963); Richardson v. Tyler, 309 F. Supp. 1020 (N.D. Ill. 1970); Aho v. Bintz, 290 F. Supp. 577 (D. Minn. 1968).

 Plaintiffs have cited the broad application of the term fiduciary duties as such duties are set forth in 29 USCA § 501, particularly in the case of Johnson v. Nelson, 325 F.2d 646 (8th Cir. 1963). The language of Johnson is broad, but the case actually involved the refusal of certain union officers to pay monies as directed by a resolution of the local.

 We can find no support for plaintiffs in either Gartner v. Soloner, 384 F.2d 348 (3d Cir. 1967), or Purcell v. Keane, 406 F.2d 1195 (3d Cir. 1969). Both cases concerned the expenditure of union funds. Both concerned the power of the court to award legal fees as part of their power of relief, the question at issue in Johnson v. Nelson, supra. Neither applied Sec. 501(b) relief to anything but a problem involving expenditures of union funds. Gartner, supra, was a proceeding under 29 USCA § 412 and Purcell, supra, was solely concerned with the "exhaustion of remedies" question in Sec. 501 cases.

 Also Highway Truck Drivers v. Cohen, 182 F. Supp. 608 (E.D. Pa.), affd., per curiam, 284 F.2d 162 (3d Cir. 1960), although using broad language, enjoined union officers from paying legal fees from the union treasury for the defense of those officers in criminal proceedings against them arising out of the alleged misuse of union funds. Nor is Falcone v. Dantinne, 420 F.2d 1157 (3d Cir. 1969), at all pertinent to our issue.

 In summary, we have found no Sec. 501(b) action arising out of any other circumstance than the use of union funds. None of the other citations of plaintiffs are pertinent to this question of the scope of Sec. 501. In fact few deal with Sec. 501 causes of action.

 4. Another procedural requirement to jurisdiction is lacking here. Sec. 501 requires a prior seeking of internal remedies.

 It is particularly noted that the letter of request addressed to Defendant Budzanoski as President of District 5, UMWA, by counsel for plaintiffs does not address itself to fiduciary violation under Sec. 501, but rather to the alleged violation of the International and District 5 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.