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Moglia v. Geoghegan

decided: November 6, 1968.

KATHLEEN MOGLIA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
JAMES GEOGHEGAN ET AL., AS TRUSTEES OF LOCAL 282 PENSION TRUST FUND, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



Waterman and Feinberg, Circuit Judges, Zampano, District Judge.*fn*

Author: Waterman

WATERMAN, C.J.:

This is an appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, dismissing plaintiff-appellant's complaint. Appellant sought a declaratory judgment pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2201 and Rule 57, Fed. R. Civ. P., declaring her to be entitled to receive payments under the Pension Plan of Local 282-Pension Trust Fund of $200.00 per month for a period of thirty-six months commencing May 1, 1965; directing appellees, as trustees of said Fund, to make such payments; and awarding her any reasonable attorney's fees incurred by her in enforcing the trust. Jurisdiction in the district court was founded on the existence of a question arising under a statute of the United States regulating interstate commerce, the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947, § 302, 29 U.S.C. § 186, making the action one of which the district court had original jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1337. Appellees moved for summary judgment on the ground that appellant was not entitled to the relief she sought. Appellant also moved for summary judgment. Appellant's motion was denied and appellees' motion was granted. The learned district judge explained the result he reached in a reasoned opinion which contained the detailed facts involved. His opinion is reported at 55 LC 11,874 267 F. Supp. 641 (1967). We affirm the result reached below.

Appellant is the widow of John J. Moglia (Moglia) who died on August 7, 1966. At all times relevant to this case Moglia had been a member in good standing of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, Local 282 (Local 282), a labor organization representing employees of employers within the meaning of Section 302 (a)(2), Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947; 29 U.S.C. § 186(a)(2).

Appellees are the Trustees (Trustees) of the Local 282-Pension Trust Fund (Fund) which was established in 1955 by Local 282 and various employers who had entered into collective bargaining agreements with the Local. The Fund was the successor of other trust funds in which the Local had theretofore participated and was created by execution of an agreement and declaration of trust (trust agreement).

The trust agreement authorized the Trustees to receive payments from employers who signed collective bargaining agreements with the Local requiring such payments. The trust agreement specified that the Fund be used to provide retirement benefits for employees of contributing employers pursuant to a Pension Plan to be formulated by the Trustees.

The Fund was supposed to be maintained in strict conformity with Section 302(a) and (b) and with Section 302(c)(5) of the Labor-Management Act of 1947. Section 302(a) and (b) provide as follows:

(a) It shall be unlawful for any employer or association of employers or any person who acts as a labor relations expert, adviser, or consultant to an employer or who acts in the interest of an employer to pay, lend, or deliver, or agree to pay, lend, or deliver, any money or other thing of value --

(1) to any representative of any of his employees who are employed in an industry affecting commerce; or

(2) to any labor organization, or any officer or employee thereof, which represents, seeks to represent, or would admit to membership, any of the employees of such employer who are employed in an industry affecting commerce;

(b) (1) It shall be unlawful for any person to request, demand, receive, or accept, or agree to receive or accept, any payment, loan, or delivery of any money or other thing of value prohibited by subsection (a) of this section.

Violations of Section 302 are punishable by criminal penalties. Section 302(d) provides:

(d) Any person who willfully violates any of the provisions of this section shall, upon conviction thereof, be guilty of a misdemeanor and be subject to a fine of not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

Section 302(c)(5) establishes limited exceptions to subsections (a) and (b) for payments to trust funds which meet specified requirements. The statutory ...


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