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Monarch Long Beach Corp. v. Soft Drink Workers

May 20, 1985

MONARCH LONG BEACH CORP., PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT
v.
SOFT DRINK WORKERS, LOCAL 8L2, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, DAVID LEVINGER, AS PRESIDENT OF SAID LOCAL UNION, ANTHONY VINCI, AS SECRETARY-TREASURER OF SAID LOCAL UNION, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



Appeal from a judgment entered in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Wexler, J., dismissing both counts of Monarch Long Beach Corporation's complaint against Soft Drink Workers, Local 812 and officers of that union. Count one, a claim under section 303 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 187 (1982), was dismissed on timeliness grounds. Count Two, a pendent state law claim, was dismissed on federal preemption grounds. The dismissal of count one was reversed and that claim was remanded for trial. The dismissal of count two was affirmed.

Kaufman, Oakes and Meskill, Circuit Judges.

Author: Meskill

MESKILL, Circuit Judge:

This is an appeal from a judgment entered in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Wexler, J., dismissing both counts of Monarch Long Beach Corporation's (Monarch) complaint against Soft Drink Workers, Local 812, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and the President and Secretary-Treasurer of Local 812 (collectively Local 812 or the union). Both counts sought damages for alleged injuries to Monarch's business resulting from the secondary boycott activities of the union. Relying on DelCostello v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 462 U.S. 151, 76 L. Ed. 2d 476, 103 S. Ct. 2281 (1983), the district court dismissed count one, a claim under section 303 of the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA), 29 U.S.C. § 187 (1982), as untimely filed. The court dismissed the second count, a pendent state claim, on federal preemption grounds.

We believe that the district court's application of DelCostello was incorrect and that count one was timely filed and should not have been dismissed. The district court correctly concluded that Monarch's state law claim was preempted by federal law.

BACKGROUND

Local 812 is a labor organization that represents primarily workers employed by soft drink manufacturers in the New York City metropolitan area. In 1977 and 1978, due at least in part to the high costs of doing business in and around the New York city, a number of soft drink manufacturers in Local 812's jurisdiction suffered precipitous declines in business. As a result, many Local 812 members lost their jobs. A survey conducted by the union revealed that a substantial number of area retailers purchased their soft drink products from outside of Local 812's territory.

Monarch, a retailer and wholesaler of beer and soda located in Local 812's jurisdiction, at all times relevant to this litigation purchased most of its soda from non-local manufacturers. On March 27, 1978, Local 812 began to picket and distribute handbills at Monarch's retail outlet. Union members urged customers to buy only locally produced soft drinks from Monarch.

On April 7, 1978, Monarch filed an unfair labor practice charge against Local 812. the National Labor Relations Board (N.L.R.B. or Board) issued a complaint against the union for engaging in prohibited secondary boycott activities in violation of section 8(b) (4) (ii) (B) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), 29 U.S.C. § l58(b) (4) (ii) (B) (1982). The Board's petition for a section 10(l), 29 U.S.C. § 160(l) (1982), injunction was denied by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York on May 30. The picketing continued through June 1978, while hearings were being held before the N.L.R.B. administrative law judge (ALJ). Picketing finally ended on August 25, 1978 when the New York Supreme Court, at Monarch's request, issued a preliminary injunction.*fn1

The ALJ decided against Local 812 in March 1979. The Board affirmed the ALJ's findings and conclusions and issued a cease and desist order against the union. Local 812 appealed to the D.C. Court of Appeals.*fn2 That court affirmed the Board's decision and granted the Board's cross-application for enforcement. Soft Drink Workers Union Local 812 v. N.L.R.B., 212 U.S. App. D.C. 10, 657 F.2d 1252 (D.C. Cir. 1980).

Monarch filed this action in the federal district court for the Eastern District of New York on August 25, 1981--exactly three years from the date on which the picketing ended. The district court dismissed Monarch's complaint on September 21, 1984.

Discussion

A. Count One--The Section 303 Claim

Seeking reparation for economic harm allegedly caused by Local 812's conduct, Monarch's federal cause of action stated a claim for damages under section 303 of the LMRA. That provision confers upon any person "injured in his business or property" as a result of secondary boycott activities--conduct deemed unlawful for the limited purpose of the provision--a right of action to "recover ...


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