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Goodman v. Laborers International Union of North America

September 5, 1984

WILLIAM GOODMAN, SR. AN INDIVIDUAL, APPELLANT
v.
LABORERS" INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA, A LABOR ORGANIZATION, LOCAL UNION NO. 135, LABORERS" INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA, A LABOR ORGANIZATION, AND DANIEL L. WOODALL, PRESIDENT OF LOCAL UNION 135 AND AN INDIVIDUAL, APPELLEES



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Author: Seitz

Before: SEITZ and ADAMS, Circuit Judges, and LATCHUM, Senior District Judge*fn*

Opinion OF THE COURT

SEITZ, Circuit Judge.

I.

William Goodman, Sr., plaintiff, appeals from an order granting defendants' motion for summary judgment in an action charging the denial of a "full and fair hearing" in a union disciplinary action as required by § 101(a)(5) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 ("LMDRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 411(a)(5). Jurisdiction for this appeal is under 28 U.S.C. § 1291.

Mr. Goodman,*fn1 a member of Local Union No. 135, Laborers' International Union of North America ("Local 135"), was charged in a union disciplinary proceeding with a variety of offenses having the common gravamen that he had exceeded his authority while acting as the local's business manager. After a series of internal union hearings and appeals, Mr. Goodman was barred from holding any elected union office for a period of 5 years.

Goodman was first charged in February of 1982 by the president of Local 135. A trial board consisting of seven local union men was convened on March 8, 1982, pursuant to Local 135's constitution. Although Goodman was given notice of the hearing, he refused to attend, allegedly because he believed that the members of the trial board were biased against him. The trial board, meeting without Goodman, heard testimony from witnesses and took evidence on the charges, and then found Goodman guilty of the offenses charged. The trial board removed Goodman from the office of business manager and barred him from pursuing any elected union office for a period of 5 years. This finding was ratified by a vote of the general membership of Local 135 at a meeting on March 17, 1982.

Goodman, protesting the decision of the Local's trial board, appealed to the international Union's General Executive Board. The Executive Board scheduled a hearing before a concededly unbiased Eastern Hearings Panel on August 4, 1982.Goodman was permitted to present his case and he called two witnesses. The Eastern Hearings Panel recommended that the local trial board's findings and sanctions be affirmed. These recommendations were accepted by the General Executive Board on August 23, 1982.

More than four months after the local hearing, but before the appeal to the Eastern Hearing Panel, Goodman filed this action for damages and injunctive relief against the Laborers' International Union of North America, Local 135, and the president of Local 135 (collectively the "Union"). The action was brought under § 102 of the LMRDA, 29 U.S.C. § 412, alleging a violation of § 101(a)(5) of the LMRDA. The district court, upon cross motions for summary judgment, ruled from the bench in favor of the defendant and dismissed the plaintiff's complaint. The plaintiff filed a timely notice of appeal and comes to this court seeking a review of the decision that he received a full and fair hearing from the union before being barred from standing for election for union office.

II.

A preliminary question is whether the procedural safeguards afforded by the LMRDA apply to the disciplinary proceedings against William Goodman. Section 101(a)(5) states:

No member of any labor organization may be fined, suspended, expelled, or otherwise disciplined except for nonpayment of dues by such organization or by any officer thereof unless such member has been (A) served with written specific charges; (B) given a reasonable ...


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