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New Jersey State Nurses Association v. Treacy

argued: July 14, 1987.

NEW JERSEY STATE NURSES ASSOCIATION, AS A NON-PROFIT CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, AND ON BEHALF OF MEMBERS OF NEW JERSEY STATE NURSES ASSOCIATION
v.
VIRGINIA TREACY, FRANCES BIKOFF, ESTHER BEDIONES, MAUREEN GETTLE, BARBARA BIVEN, MARGARET ALLEN, ADDIE CHEATHAM, DEBBIE DIXON, MARION GINSBERG, JOANNE SACKS, DEBBIE SCIULLO AND ANN YOUNG, DEFENDANTS-COUNTERCLAIMANTS, AND JNESO, AN UNINCORPORATED LABOR ORGANIZATION, ADDITIONAL COUNTERCLAIMANT V. BARBARA WRIGHT, IN HER CAPACITY AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MURIEL SHORE, IN HER CAPACITY AS PRESIDENT OF THE NEW JERSEY STATE NURSES ASSOCIATION, ADDITIONAL DEFENDANTS ON THE COUNTERCLAIM NEW JERSEY STATE NURSES ASSOCIATION, APPELLANT



On Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey-Newark D.C. Civil Action No. 85-4912.

Author: Higginbotham

Opinion OF THE COURT

A. LEON HIGGINBOTHAM, JR., Circuit Judge.

The New Jersey State Nurses Association ("NJSNA") appeals from an order granting partial summary judgment in favor of defendant-appellee Jersey Nurses Economic Security Organization ("JNESO"). We hold that the district court order is not appealable under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(a)(1) (1982).

I.

NJSNA is a professional association of approximately 5,500 registered nurses in the state of New Jersey, of which JNESO until September 1985 was the collective bargaining component. The two orgainizations had separate boards of directors and officers. NJSNA, however, collected membership dues for both organizations, distributing thirty dollars of each annual $195 membership fee to JNESO. Although JNESO was initially created in 1970 pursuant to NJSNA's by-laws, 1981 amendments to the by-laws of both organizations deleted all references to each other, except that JNESO continued under the official name of "Jersey Nurses Economic Security Organization of the New Jersey State Nurses Association."

In September 1985, the Board of Directors of JNESO voted to disaffiliate from NJSNA, subject to approval by JNESO's members. On October 18, 1985, that approval was given when JNESO-represented employees voted 615 to 92 in favor of the disaffiliation resolution.

Two days prior to his ballot count, NJSNA filed suit against JNESO and various individual defendants in New Jersey Superior Court, alleging, inter alia,, that the prospective disaffiliation was invalid and requesting damages and injunctive relief. JNESO successfully removed the case to federal district court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441 (1982). Subject matter jurisdiction was asserted pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 185 (1982), the Labor Management Relations Act.*fn1

In federal court, JNESO filed an answer and counterclaim on the ground that disaffiliation was proper. NJSNA then moved to remand the matter to state court or, in the alternative, for preliminary injunctive relief. These motions were denied on November 7, 1985. JNESO in turn moved for a preliminary injunction. By opinion and order dated December 4, 1985, the district court granted JNESO's motion to the extent

that NJSNA be enjoined from [(1)] interfering with JNESO's collective bargaining activities, [(2)] from indicating to employers that JNESO is no longer a collective bargaining representative or that it remains affiliated with NJSNA; [(3)] from attempting to conduct any collective bargaining activities in conflict with those already handled by JNESO; or [(4)] from interfering with JNESO's mail or dues collection procedures.

New Jersey State Nurses Ass'n v. Treacy, No. 85-4912 (D.N.J. Dec. 4, 1985) (order granting preliminary injunction). It also granted JNESO's request for payment of certain collective bargaining expenses. The district court denied, however, JNESO's request "that any dues deduction payments it receives in excess of $25,000 shall be held in escrow pending final adjudication. " Id. NJSNA appealed from this injunctive order. On August 7, 1986, this Court affirmed the judgment of the district court. New Jersey State Nurses Ass'n v. Treacy, 800 F.2d 1134 (3d Cir. 1986) (order affirming preliminary injunction).

While the appeal from the preliminary injunction was pending before this Court, JNESO moved for partial summary judgment. The motion included a request to "convert [the] preliminary injunction in favor of JNESO into a final order." Appellant's Rely Brief at 2a. At a hearing on March 17, 1986, the district court adjourned the motion pending further discovery.

On September 5, 1986, a month after this Court affirmed the issuance of the preliminary injunction, JNESO renewed its motion for partial summary judgment. In its notice of motion, JNESO characterized its request as to the disaffiliation issue as "requesting that . . . [the district] court convert its earlier preliminary injunction to a final injunction by declaring that JNESO is the sole collective bargaining representative of all nurses presently covered by extant collective bargaining agreements [that] it negotiated." Appellant's Reply Brief at 6a. (emphasis added). On October 28, 1986, the district court, in a letter opinion, stated that "the court now renders final earlier preliminary determinations that [JNESO's] . . . right [to disaffiliation] exists." New Jersey State Nurses Ass'n v. Treacy, No. 85-4912, letter op. at 2 (D.N.J. Oct. 28, 1986). The letter opinion also noted that JNESO had "previously moved to convert the preliminary injunction to a permanent injunction. . . . " Id. at 4. Neither this letter opinion nor the subsequent order signed on November 26, 1986,*fn2 however, further discusses JNESO's requests for injunctive relief or for "conversion" of the preliminary injunction to a permanent one. The district court order simply states that "the Court having issued a written opinion dated October 1986, for the reasons set forth in that opinion, it is on this 26th day of November, 1986, hereby ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that JNESO's motion for summary judgment is hereby granted and its disaffiliation of October 1985 is declared to be valid and legal. . . ." New Jersey State Nurses Ass'n v. Treacy, No. 85-4912 (D.N.J. Nov. 26, 1986) (order granting partial summary judgment).

NJSNA brought this appeal, asserting the existence of appellate jurisdiction pursuant to 28 ...


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