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OLD DUTCH FARMS, INC. v. MILK DRIVERS

March 6, 1968

OLD DUTCH FARMS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
MILK DRIVERS AND DAIRY EMPLOYEES LOCAL UNION NO. 584, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS, WAREHOUSEMEN AND HELPERS OF AMERICA, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MISHLER

Memorandum of Decision and Order

 MISHLER, District Judge.

 Plaintiff moves pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for summary judgment on the issue of liability.

 The movant is a New York corporation having its principal place of business within the Eastern District of New York, and defendant is a labor organization engaged in representing or acting for members within this district within the meaning of section 185(c)(2) of title 29, United States Code. Jurisdiction is predicated upon sections 1331 and 1337 of title 28 and section 303 *fn1" of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947.

 The complaint contains two separately labelled "causes of action". The first charges that defendant violated section 8(b)(4) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended; *fn2" the second alleges that the National Labor Relations Board's order concluding that defendant engaged in certain proscribed secondary activity is dispositive of the issue of liability in this action.

 In May, 1963, plaintiff, a licensed milk dealer, owned and operate one retail store and six delivery routes, all in Kings County, New York, and was purchasing its milk from The Balsam Farm, Inc. (Balsam). At about that time, however, plaintiff became embroiled in a labor dispute with defendant. Plaintiff alleges that defendant, on May 27, 1963, directed Balsam's employees to picket and strike their employer, thereby inducing, coercing and compelling Balsam to cease supplying plaintiff with milk. Plaintiff filed unfair labor practices charges with the N.L.R.B. the following day.

 On June 18, 1963, the Board petitioned this court for an injunction under section 10(l) of the N.L.R.A., *fn3" but after an extensive hearing the Honorable John F. Dooling, Jr. denied the petition as a matter of law. *fn4"

 Returning to the administrative milieu, the matter was called for a hearing before Trial Examiner Owsley Vose on August 13, 1963. All parties and their counsel appeared and were afforded a full opportunity to be heard, to examine and cross-examine witnesses, and to submit oral arguments. The parties agreed not to call any witnesses, however, preferring to stipulate that the testimony and exhibits that had been adduced before Judge Dooling in connection with the section 10(l) injunction proceeding should be considered as having been adduced before the trial examiner as well. The parties further stipulated that the trial examiner could also consider certain testimony which, it was agreed, would have been given by three additional witnesses had they been called to testify.

 Following the hearing before the trial examiner, defendant was granted additional time within which to file a brief. Instead, it chose to file Judge Dooling's findings of fact and conclusions of law in the injunction proceeding.

 In a decision dated October 9, 1963, the trial examiner concluded that defendant had conducted an illegal secondary boycott. The Board affirmed, expressly adopting the trial examiner's findings, conclusions and recommendations, and the Court of Appeals granted enforcement of the Board's order. *fn5"

 The present action for damages under section 303 was instituted several weeks after the second circuit's determination. Defendant initially won a stay of the action pending arbitration, but the circuit court reversed. *fn6" Following the Supreme Court's denial of certiorari, defendant filed an answer denying substantially all of the material allegations of the complaint and asserting four affirmative defenses to the first cause of action: (1) laches; (2) statute of limitations; (3) exclusive jurisdiction in the arbitrator; and (4) prior settlement of the dispute. The fifth and sixth affirmative defenses were directed against the second cause of action.

 Plaintiff maintains that defendant's denials and affirmative defenses lack both merit and substance. In short, the former argues that since the latter has already been adjudged to have engaged in conduct proscribed by section 8(b)(4), the only issue left to be tried is the question of damages.

 Although there is language in some of the cases to the effect that the principles of res judicata and collateral estoppel are inapplicable to administrative proceedings, such language is certainly too broad. *fn7" The policy considerations favoring finality to litigation, the prevention of needless duplication, and the avoidance of additional burdens in time and expense are as relevant to the administrative as to the judicial process. See, United States v. Utah Const. & Mining Co., 384 U.S. 394, 420, 86 S. Ct. 1545, 1559, 16 L. Ed. 2d 642 (1966); International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, Local No. 15 v. Eagle-Picher Mining & Smelting Co., 325 U.S. 335, 340, 65 S. Ct. 1166, 1168, 89 L. Ed. 1649 (1945). Furthermore, complete disclosure at the administrative level should be encouraged. United States v. Utah Const. & Mining Co., supra. Thus, "[when] an administrative agency is acting in a judicial capacity and resolves disputed issues of fact properly before it which the parties have had an adequate opportunity to litigate, the courts have not hesitated to apply res judicata to enforce repose." United States v. Utah Const. & Mining Co., supra, 384 U.S. at 422, 86 S. Ct. at 1560.

 Where there is some good reason for a new judicial inquiry into the same facts, however, the courts will not view the administrative findings as final. See, United States v. Utah Const. & Mining Co., supra at 421 n. 18, 86 S. Ct. at 1559 n. 18. Indeed, they appear in accord with Professor Davis's view that the doctrine of res judicata should be used when the reasons for it are present in full force, modified when such modification is needed, and rejected when the reasons against its use outweigh those in its favor. 2 Davis, Administrative Law ยง 18.02 at 548 (1958). *fn8" The crucial issue upon this motion, ...


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