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U.S. v. INTERNATIONAL BROTH. OF TEAMSTERS

June 2, 1999

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Edelstein, District Judge.

OPINION & ORDER

BACKGROUND

This opinion emanates from the voluntary settlement of an action commenced by the United States of America against, inter alia, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters ("IBT" or "the union") and the IBT's General Executive Board ("GEB"). The settlement is embodied in the voluntary consent order entered March 14, 1989 ("Consent Decree"). The goals of the Consent Decree are to rid the IBT of the hideous influence of organized crime and establish a culture of democracy within the union. The long history of this case has been set forth in this Court's numerous prior opinions. Accordingly, only those facts necessary for resolving the instant matter shall be set forth.

FACTS

On June 30, 1994, the IRB issued a report recommending that the IBT charge Simpson with violating the IBT Constitution by (1) bringing reproach upon the IBT and (2) interfering with Local 743's legal obligations by allowing Donald Peters to act as an agent and representative of Local 743 after the entry of a consent decree barring Peters from these positions. See United States v. IBT [Simpson], 931 F. Supp. 1074, 1080 (S.D.N.Y. 1996). On July 5, 1994, the IBT charged Simpson as the IRB recommended and returned the matter to the IRB for adjudication. Id.

The IRB conducted a hearing on the charges against Simpson on December 20 and 21, 1994. On July 25, 1995, the three member panel of the IRB issued a unanimous decision finding that the charges against Simpson were proven. Accordingly, the IRB permanently barred Simpson from holding any IBT-affiliated office or employment. The IRB's decision was then forwarded to this Court for review. See id. at 1079.

After the IRB issued its decision, in a motion to this Court, Simpson raised the issue of recusal of Lacey for the first time. In that motion, for which Simpson now seeks reconsideration, he alleged that a letter Lacey wrote to Thomas Puccio ("Puccio"), the Trustee of Local 295 ("April 1994 letter"), was evidence that Lacey was biased against Simpson. On June 27, 1996, this Court rejected Simpson's claim of bias and affirmed the IRB's decision. See id. at 1074. In refusing Simpson's demand for Lacey's recusal, this Court employed the "involved officer or member" standard set forth in Article XIX, § 1(a) of the IBT Constitution. Id. at 1103.

Simpson appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, who in turn, affirmed this Court's decision. See United States v. IBT, 120 F.3d 341 (2d Cir. 1997). In rejecting Simpson's claim of bias, the Second Circuit held that

  Simpson's claim [of bias] is based solely on [his]
  speculation and conclusory allegations. Simpson has
  sought to conjure a claim that Lacey [is] biased
  against him from a series of inferences based on a
  single sentence in the [April 1994 letter] that
  Simpson claims demonstrates that Lacey is biased in
  favor of Carey. From this one sentence, Simpson
  infers that Lacey is partial to Carey, that this
  alleged partiality makes Lacey biased against Simpson
  because of an alleged "falling out" between Carey and
  Simpson, and that this alleged bias against him
  caused the IRB to take action against Simpson that
  the IRB otherwise would not have taken.

Id. at 347-48 (citations and footnote omitted).

In a similar case, former IBT Vice President Gene Giacumbo ("Giacumbo") claimed that the same April 1994 letter proved that Lacey was biased against him. This Court similarly rejected Giacumbo's claim, again using the "involved officer or member" standard. See United States v. IBT [Giacumbo], 951 F. Supp. at 1129-30. On Appeal, the Second Circuit remanded the Giacumbo matter to this Court, finding that the appropriate standard for determining whether an IRB member should recuse himself is the "evident partiality" standard of the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA"), 9 U.S.C. § 10(a)(2). See United States v. IBT [Giacumbo], 170 F.3d 136.

On March 26, 1999, this Court issued a decision finding that even under the evident partiality standard there was no basis for Giacumbo's claim that Lacey should have recused himself. See United States v. IBT [Giacumbo], 1999 WL 169635, at *3, 1999 U.S.Dist. LEXIS 3957 (S.D.N.Y. March 26, 1999) at *9-10. This Court reasoned that:

  The full test of the April 1994 letter and the
  circumstances surrounding that letter demonstrated no
  partiality on the part of Lacey toward Carey.
  Instead, the letter expressed Lacey's objection to
  the litigation tactics of Puccio. As Lacey explained
  during his July 30, 1998 testimony before the
  Subcommittee on Education and the Workforce of the
  United States House of Representatives
  ("Subcommittee"), he wrote the letter after he had
  been informed that Puccio had threatened to ...

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