contract of employment. There is no indication in the complaint
that Wilson has any pending grievance against the carrier other
than his discharge. A judicial determination of his claim for
reinstatement and wages would afford complete relief. Such a
determination would render meaningless a declaratory judgment
that the carrier should have recognized his CIO representative in
an attempt to settle the identical claim.
The charge of deprivation of property without due process of
law lacks merit for two reasons. In the first place, private
parties, as distinguished from agencies of the government, either
state or federal, are not charged with the protection of
constitutional rights. In consequence, their conduct is not
deemed to be unconstitutional. Shelley v. Kraemer, 1948,
334 U.S. 1, 8, 68 S.Ct. 836, 92 L.Ed. 1161, 3 A.L.R.2d 441. Second, the
Railway Labor Act does not accord any binding effect to the
decision of the highest operating official of a carrier to
disallow a grievance claim. Such a decision amounts to nothing
more than a refusal to settle. As such, it does not constitute a
deprivation of any property rights. Similarly, the refusal of the
Board to entertain the merits of Wilson's claim for wrongful
discharge does not constitute a final adjudication of that claim.
It merely remands Wilson to the conciliatory procedures which the
statute prescribes as a mandatory condition precedent to
submission to the Board.
Finally, although it is not essential to the determination of
the pending motions, we agree with defendants that the demand for
a wholesale adjudication of the rights of all carrier employees
to representation by persons of their choice in handling
grievances with their respective employers is without merit. No
decree of this Court could operate as a binding adjudication of
the rights of any persons other than the parties to this cause.
This is not to say that binding decrees cannot be made with
respect to persons other than the named parties to an action, if
they are members of a class and if they are adequately
represented. But no such representation is alleged in this
complaint, nor does it contain any allegations establishing that
this controversy exists between carrier employees other than
Wilson, and carriers other than Santa Fe. While parties to a
controversy may of course be brought before the court by the
class action device, if the requirements for a class action are
met, they must nevertheless be parties to the controversy sought
to be adjudicated, and not merely persons who, because of actual
or potential involvement in similar controversies, are interested
in the judicial precedent which may be established.
There remains pending and undisposed the action of plaintiff
Wilson against defendant Santa Fe for wrongful dismissal. This is
a simple suit for breach of contract and the jurisdiction of this
Court is predicated solely on diversity of citizenship. The
complaint alleges the jurisdictional amount, but whether
plaintiff Wilson ever had a bona fide claim in that sum will
depend upon the evidence. I merely caution the parties that if
from the proofs it shall appear that plaintiff's claim was only
colorable, this Court's diversity jurisdiction may be defeated.
St. Paul Mercury Indemnity Co. v. Cab Co., 1938, 303 U.S. 283,
289, 58 S.Ct. 586, 82 L.Ed. 845.
This Opinion is filed in lieu of findings of fact and
conclusions of law. The parties will submit within five days a
draft order consistent herewith.