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UNITED STATES v. INTL. BHD. OF TEAMSTERS

September 9, 1996

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, -against- INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, et al., Defendants. IN RE IBT'S APPLICATION TO ENJOIN PLAINTIFFS IN INTERNATIONAL BHD. OF TEAMSTERS LOCAL UNION 107
v.
INTERNATIONAL BHD. OF TEAMSTERS, NO. 96-5633 (E.D. PA.), FROM PROSECUTING THAT CASE IN ANY COURT OR FORUM OTHER THAN THIS COURT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: EDELSTEIN

 EDELSTEIN, District Judge :

 This opinion emanates from the voluntary settlement of an action commenced by plaintiff United States of America ("the Government") against, inter alia, defendant International Brotherhood of Teamsters ("the IBT" or "the Union") and the IBT's General Executive Board. The settlement is embodied in the voluntary consent order entered March 14, 1989 ("Consent Decree"). The goal of the Consent Decree is to rid the IBT of the hideous influence of organized crime through a two-phased implementation of the Consent Decree's various remedial provisions. In the first phase of the Consent Decree, these provisions provided for three court-appointed officers: the Independent Administrator ("IA") to oversee the Consent Decree's provisions, the Investigations Officer to bring charges against corrupt IBT members, and the Election Officer to supervise the electoral process that led up to and included the 1991 election for IBT International Union Office. In the second phase of the Consent Decree, the IA was replaced by a three-member Independent Review Board ("IRB").

 During its more than seven-year history, the Consent Decree has spawned a tremendous amount of litigation that has required this Court to issue numerous opinions. In one of those opinions, pursuant to this Court's authority under the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a), this Court enjoined "all local unions, joint councils, area conferences, and other entities subordinate to or affiliated with the IBT, and any members, officers, representatives, agents and employees of the IBT or any such IBT affiliated entity, from filing or taking any legal action that challenges, impedes, seeks review of or relief from, or seeks to prevent or delay any act of any of the court officers appointed by this Court pursuant to the Consent Order in this action, in any court or forum in any jurisdiction except this Court[.]" December 15, 1989, Order at 3; see also United States v. International Bhd. of Teamsters [All Writs Act Decision], 728 F. Supp. 1032 (S.D.N.Y.), modification denied, 735 F. Supp. 502 (S.D.N.Y.), aff'd, 907 F.2d 277 (2d. Cir. 1990).

 On August 15, 1996, Local 107 of the IBT ("Local 107" or "the Local"), located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, commenced an action in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania challenging an emergency trusteeship imposed over Local 107 by IBT General President Ron Carey ("Carey") in response to a recommendation by the Independent Review Board of the IBT ("the IRB"). International Bhd. of Teamsters v. Local Union 714 of the IBT, Civ. No. 95-5633 (E.D. Pa.) (HB) ("Local 107 Action"). Currently pending before this Court is an application by the IBT for an Order enjoining Local Union 107 from prosecuting the Local 107 Action, or any claims raised by the parties therein, in any court or forum other than this Court, and enjoining all other parties from litigating such claims concerning the Local 107 trusteeship in any court or forum other than this Court. After reviewing the facts underlying this action, this Court finds that: (1) the Local 107 Case is properly within the jurisdiction of this Court; (2) the Local 107 Case falls squarely within the four corners of this Court's All Writs Act Decision; (3) the All Writs Act empowers this Court to enjoin the parties to the Local 107 Case from pursuing any further legal action regarding this case in any forum other than this Court; and (4) the Local 107 Case should be transferred immediately to this Court for all further matters.

 FACTS

 Local 107 initiated the Local 107 Action in opposition to an attempt by IBT General President Ron Carey to impose an emergency trusteeship over the Local, upon the recommendation of the IRB. (Memorandum of Law in Support of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters' Application for Injunctive Relief, United States of America v. International Bhd. of Teamsters, 88 Civ. 4486 ("IBT Memo"), at 2 (Aug. 26, 1996).) Pursuant to the authority vested in the IRB by the IBT Constitution and the Consent Decree, the IRB investigated allegations of corruption and misconduct by Local 107 and its officers and Executive Board. Following this investigation, the IRB issued an investigative report detailing evidence of wrongdoing at Local 107, such as the continuing association of Local 107 officers with individuals reputed to be associated with organized crime, id. at 4; see (Independent Review Board, Trusteeship Recommendation Concerning Local 107 ("IRB Report"), at 5-8 (Aug. 6, 1996)), financial malpractice, (IBT Memo at 4-5); (IRB Report at 8-16), and failure to hold regular membership meetings as required by the IBT Constitution and Local 107 By-Laws. (IBT Memo at 5); (IRB Report at 17-19.) Pursuant to the IRB Rules approved by this Court, United States v. International Bhd. of Teamsters [IRB Rules Decision], 829 F. Supp. 602 (S.D.N.Y 1993), the IRB recommended that Carey place Local 107 in trusteeship "in order to correct financial malpractice, to ensure that the Local is run in compliance with the IBT Constitution and the Local's Bylaws and for the benefit of the Local's members," (IRB Report at 1), and required Carey to report on the actions he took in response to the IRB Report and recommendation within two weeks. (IBT Memo at 5); (Letter from John J. Cronin, Jr., Administrator of the IRB, to IBT General President Ron Carey (Aug. 6, 1996).)

 On August 9, 1996, Carey issued a notice to the officers and members of Local 107, explaining the contents of the IRB Report and stating that, in response to the evidence outlined in the IRB Report, he would impose an emergency trusteeship over the affairs of Local 107 on August 12, 1996. (Notice to the Officers and Members of Local 107, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from IBT General President Ron Carey (Aug. 1, 1996) (copy on file with Clerk of the Court of the Southern District of New York).) On August 12, 1996, Carey imposed an emergency trusteeship over Local 107 pursuant to the authority vested in him by Article VI, Section 5 of the IBT Constitution. (IBT Memo at 5.)

 In response to the General President's actions, Local 107, its officers, and certain of its members filed suit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in opposition to the trusteeship. Id. at 6; see (Complaint, International Bhd. of Teamsters, Local Union 107 v. International Bhd. of Teamsters, Civil Action No. 96-5633 (E.D. Pa.) (HB) ("Local 107 Complaint") (Aug. 14, 1996).) They also moved for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction seeking, inter alia, an order "enjoining [the IBT] and their agents from imposing and/or maintaining a trusteeship over Local 107 until such time as this matter is litigated." (Local 107 Complaint at 1, 9-10.) The Local 107 plaintiffs claim that: (1) "no lawful reason exists for the imposition of the trusteeship, either emergency or otherwise, over the affairs of Local 107," id. P 21); (2) the IBT imposed the trusteeship over Local 107 "as a political reprisal" against the officers and members of local 107 for their alleged support of Carey's political opponent in the 1996 election for IBT General President, id. PP 25-26; and (3) that no emergency situation existed to justify Carey's imposition of trusteeship over Local 107 without a prior union hearing. id. PP 32-33. The Local 107 plaintiffs maintain that the IBT's actions violate various provisions of the Labor Management Reporting Disclosure Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 411-12, 462, 464, id. at 6-8, the IBT Constitution, id. at 9, and Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 185. Id. at 8-9.

 On August 20, 1996, Judge Bartle granted Local 107's request for a preliminary injunction, finding that no emergency situation existed to warrant imposition of trusteeship over Local 107 without a prior union hearing. International Bhd. of Teamsters Local Union 107 v. International Bhd. of Teamsters, 935 F. Supp. 599, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12227, 1996 WL 472378, at *4 (E.D. Pa. 1996). The court further enjoined the IBT and Carey from exercising control over Local 107 pending further court order, and ordered that the IBT and Carey could apply to dissolve the injunction after an internal union hearing and determination of the charges against Local 107. Id. at *6.

 On August 26, 1996, the IBT filed an application with this Court seeking an Order enjoining Local Union 107 from prosecuting the Local 107 Action, or any claims raised by the parties therein, in any court or forum other than this Court, and enjoining all other parties from litigating such claims concerning the Local 107 trusteeship in any court or forum other than this Court. (Application of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, United States v. International Bhd. of Teamsters, 88 Civ. 4486 (Aug. 26, 1996) ("IBT Application").) The IBT claims that the Local 107 Action implicates the Consent Decree because it challenges the merits of a trusteeship recommendation made by the IRB pursuant to the Consent Decree, and because the action raises claims regarding election misconduct that are properly within the jurisdiction of the Election Officer appointed pursuant to the Consent Decree. Id. at 2; (IBT Memo at 10-15.) It further contends that, because the Local 107 Action implicates the Consent Decree, it is properly within the jurisdiction of this Court pursuant to both the Consent Decree and this Court's All Writs Act Decision. (IBT Application at 2); (IBT Memo at 8-9.) In addition, the IBT asserts that enjoining the Local 107 Action in Pennsylvania "will be fully consistent" with other injunctions recently issued by this Court in unrelated but similar IBT-trusteeship cases. (IBT Application at 2); (IBT Memo at 7-8.)

 On August 27, 1996, this Court received a submission from the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York ("the Government") regarding the Local 107 Action. (Letter from Assistant United States Attorney Karen B. Konigsberg to the Honorable David N. Edelstein, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York (Aug. 27, 1996).) In this submission, the Government states that it supports the instant IBT application to enjoin the Local 107 Action. Id. at 1. It further claims that the Local 107 Action raises issues regarding the imposition of a trusteeship upon an IBT local IRB similar to those recently resolved by this Court in other IBT-trusteeship cases. Id. The Government also maintains that the Local 107 Action implicates the Consent Decree, and that it "should be brought before this Court in order to prevent interference with the authority and actions of the officers appointed under the Consent Decree and with this Court's jurisdiction over the implementation of the Decree." Id. at 2.


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