United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, E.D
October 22, 1952
ILLINOIS CENT. RY. CO. ET AL.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Campbell, District Judge.
This is a petition to review and set aside an award of the
National Railroad Adjustment Board. The complaint contains four
counts, each of which sets forth the following allegations:
From November 1938 to August 1946, plaintiff was employed by
the Illinois Central Railway Company as a switchman and engine
foreman. On August 28, 1946, plaintiff was discharged from the
service of Illinois Central for an alleged violation of one of
its Operating Rules. The plaintiff then filed a grievance With
a Lodge of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, wherein he
demanded that he be reinstated in the service of Illinois
Central with seniority unimpaired and paid for all time lost.
The dispute growing out of said grievance was submitted to the
First Division, National Railroad Adjustment Board for
adjustment. The Division failed to agree upon an award because
of a deadlock, and, pursuant to the provisions of the Railway
Labor Act, 45 U.S.C.A. § 151 et seq., a referee was selected to
sit with the Division and make an award. The award suggested by
the referee and adopted by the Division denied plaintiff's
request to be reinstated in the service of Illinois Central
with seniority unimpaired, and denied plaintiff's demand for
pay for all time lost.
In the First Count of the complaint, plaintiff alleges that
the award was contrary to the law and the evidence. In the
Second Count, plaintiff states that since an adverse award
would not be conclusive as to Illinois Central, the award in
the instant case is not conclusive as to plaintiff, but is
reviewable by this court. In the Third Count, plaintiff alleges
that the award was arbitrary, capricious, and unsupported by
the evidence, and therefore deprived plaintiff of a property
right in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.
Finally, in the Fourth Count, plaintiff contends that since
Section 3 of the Railway Labor Act grants employers a right to
judicial review of adverse National Railroad Adjustment Board
awards, but denies a similar right to employees, said Section
contravenes the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. Plaintiff
further contends that the powers conferred upon the National
Railroad Adjustment Board by Section 3 of the Railway Labor Act
"constitute an unconstitutional delegation of judicial power to
a non-governmental administrative tribunal." In each of the
four counts, plaintiff asks the court to set aside the award
ordered by the National Railroad Adjustment Board, to order
plaintiff's reinstatement in the service of Illinois Central
with seniority rights unimpaired, and to order that Illinois
Central pay plaintiff for all time lost.
The matter is now before the court on the motion of the
Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen to be dismissed as an
involuntary plaintiff, and the motion of Illinois Central
Railway Company for summary judgment as to each of the four
counts of the complaint.
(1) The complaint indicates that the Brotherhood of Railroad
Trainmen is the collective bargaining agent of the class of
railroad employees of which plaintiff was a member, and, in
that capacity, the Brotherhood represented plaintiff before the
National Railroad Adjustment Board. The complaint indicates no
other relationship between the Brotherhood and the plaintiff.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 19, 28 U.S.C.A. provides
that "persons having a joint interest shall be made parties",
and "When a person who should join as a plaintiff refuses to do
so, he may be made a defendant or, in proper cases, an
involuntary plaintiff." Plaintiff's allegations do not disclose
that he and the Brotherhood have a "joint interest" in this
suit, and plaintiff certainly has not brought this suit as a,
class action under Rule 23. The motion of the Brotherhood of
Railroad Trainmen to be dismissed as an involuntary plaintiff
must therefore be granted.
(2) The principal question posed by Illinois Central's motion
for summary judgment is whether or not the action of the
National Railroad Adjustment Board in denying plaintiff's claim
is reviewable by this court. Section 3, subd. 1(m) of the
Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C.A. § 153, subd. 1(m), provides:
"The awards of the several divisions of the
Adjustment Board shall be stated
in writing. A copy of the awards shall be
furnished to the respective parties to the
controversy, and the awards shall be final and
binding upon both parties to the dispute, except
insofar as they shall contain a money award."
Plaintiff argues that the Board refused to order Illinois
Central to reimburse him for lost pay, and that this refusal
was a "money award" as that term is used in the exception
specified in Section 3, subd. 1(m). It is plaintiff's
contention that "whether the administrative decision is
negative or positive is immaterial so long as it is a decision
(award) in reference to money." This contention is neither
novel nor correct. In Reynolds v. Denver & Rio Grande Western
R. Co., 10 Cir., 1949, 174 F.2d 673
, 675, the court construed
Section 3, subd. 1(m) in this manner:
"It would seem that this language is clear and
susceptible only of one construction, namely, that
in cases other than where a money award is made
the judgment of the Board is final and binding
upon the parties thereto. This is the construction
which has been placed upon the provisions of the
act by the courts which have considered this
In Berryman v. Pullman Co., D.C.Mo., 1942, 48 F. Supp. 542, 543,
the plaintiff-employee had petitioned the National Railroad
Adjustment Board to order his former employer to reimburse him
for wages lost because of an allegedly wrongful discharge. The
petition was denied by the Board. In the subsequent district
court suit, the court stated:
"The award of the Adjustment Board contained no
money award. It did determine that plaintiff was
discharged because of and as a result of his own
misbehavior. That finding is made final by the
statute. There is no room for a subsequent inquiry
into the same question by the Courts."
The same result was, reached in Ramsey v. Chesapeake & Ohio R.
Co., D.C.Ohio, 1948, 75 F. Supp. 740.
This court therefore holds that Section 3, subd. 1(m) renders
the award of the National Railroad Adjustment Board "final and
binding" upon the plaintiff. However, this holding does not
preclude a judicial review of the validity of the award. Elgin,
Joliet & Eastern R. Co. v. Burley, 1945, 325 U.S. 711, 720, 65
S.Ct. 1282, 89 L.Ed. 1886. If, as alleged in the Third Count of
the complaint, the award were not supported by substantial
evidence, this court would have the power to set it aside. To
that extent, the award is not "final". Compare Dahlberg v.
Pittsburgh & L.E.R. Co., 3 Cir., 1943, 138 F.2d 121. However,
the award in the instant case, which is made part of the
complaint, contains detailed findings of fact and conclusions
of law. The Board concedes in its award that "The evidence in
this case is conflicting and not as conclusive as it might have
been," but concludes that "If there be evidence of a
substantial character present in the record that supports the
action taken by the carrier [defendant herein], and where it
does not clearly appear that the carrier acted arbitrarily, and
if a fair hearing has been given to the men charged, this
Division will not substitute its judgment for that of the
carrier." And this court now holds that it will not substitute
its judgment for that of the Board. The award carries a
presumption of validity, and the plaintiff must affirmatively
allege such defects as would render it invalid. Kirby v.
Pennsylvania R. Co., 3 Cir., 1951, 188 F.2d 793. Since
plaintiff has failed to allege facts which, if proved, would
render the award invalid, and since the award itself outlines
the findings of fact upon which it is based, the court cannot
now review the Board proceedings.
Plaintiff's attack on the constitutionality of Section 3 of
the Railway Labor Act raises the only remaining issue.
Plaintiff asserts that Section 3 contravenes the "due process"
and "equal protection" clauses of the Fifth Amendment to the
Constitution, in that it permits employers to appeal adverse
awards, but does not permit appeals by employees. However, as
stated earlier in this memorandum, the employee does have a
right to a limited judicial review of adverse awards. The Court
of Appeals made this clear in Hargis v. Wabash Railroad Co., 7
Cir., 1947, 163 F.2d 608. If
such a right to review did not exist, serious constitutional
objections to the statute would arise. However, as the statute
has now been construed, employees generally, and the plaintiff
herein have not been deprived of constitutional rights.
Plaintiff was entitled to a hearing before the National
Railroad Adjustment Board. If the Board exceeded or abused its
powers at the hearing, or if the Board failed to grant a
hearing without good cause, plaintiff may so state with
particularity, and this court will then be empowered to
entertain his suit. As the complaint is now framed, plaintiff
is bound by the decision of the Board, and the court is
compelled to grant Illinois Central Railway Company's motion
for summary judgment as to each of the four counts of the
Motion of Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen to be dismissed as
an involuntary plaintiff herein is hereby granted.
Motion of defendant Illinois Central Railway Company for
summary judgment is hereby granted, and judgment is hereby
entered in favor of said defendant as to each of the four
counts of the complaint.
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