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Air Line Stewards and Stewardesses Association v. Transport Workers Union of America

July 14, 1964

AIR LINE STEWARDS AND STEWARDESSES ASSOCIATION, LOCAL 550, TWU, AFL-CIO, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES
v.
TRANSPORT WORKERS UNION OF AMERICA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



Author: Swygert

Before CASTLE, KILEY and SWYGERT, Circuit Judges.

SWYGERT, C. J.: We are asked to review the order of the district court granting plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. The case arises under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (Landrum-Griffin), 29 U.S.C.A. ยงยง 401-531 (1959).

Plaintiffs Air Lines Stewards and Stewardesses Association, Local 550, an affiliate of Transport Workers Union, AFL-CIO, seven members of the local, and three of its former employees sought an injunction, declaratory judgment, and damages against defendants Transport Workers Union (the international) and seven of its members, individually and on behalf of all members who were not also members of the local.

The complaint consisted of five counts. Specifically, in count one the local sought under section 304 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act termination of a trusteeship imposed by the international. In count two plaintiffs sought reinstatement of Rowland K. Quinn, Jr., who had been removed as president of the local by the international. Plaintiffs in count three requested the international be restrained from claiming that the local owes it $145,000. In count four the three employees who had been discharged by the administrator of the trusteeship requested reinstatement. In the last count Quinn sought damages for libel.

Defendants filed motions to dismiss. They were denied. On November 7, 1963, plaintiffs petitioned the district court for a preliminary injunction. The petition was granted. The injunction enjoined the trusteeship and reinstated Quinn to the office of president. This appeal is from the injunction.

Two issues presented to us are dispositive of the appeal: whether the issue of the legality of the trusteeship is moot and whether the district court had jurisdiction to reinstate Quinn.

I. In June, 1963, the president of the international notified Quinn as president of the local that the international's administrative committee, with the approval of its executive council, pursuant to section 4 of article 18 of the international's constitution, had appointed Frederic Simpson administrator of the affairs of the local.*fn1 Quinn was told that a disciplinary action was being instituted by the international against him in accordance with section 5 of article 5 of the international's constitution*fn2 and that Simpson would act as administrator pending the conclusion of the proceeding.

Quinn was charged with certain acts of misconduct: deceiving the local and the international about the local's finances; causing the treasurer of the local to file false financial reports; withholding knowledge from the international of a contract with two attorneys for a ten-year retainer contrary to his promise that in return for loans from the international he would notify it of obligations incurred by the local; submitting budgets limiting legal fees to $1,000 per month when he knew his agreement with the attorneys fixed the fees between $2,100 and $2,350 per month; and not opposing in a state court proceeding the attorneys' claim to a $75,000 fee from a fund belonging to the local.

The charges were heard by the international executive council; they were sustained and Quinn was removed as president. Thereafter and pursuant to the international's constitution, Coleen Boland, the vice president of the local, assumed the office of president with Simpson acting as administrator until the issuance of the preliminary injunction on December 11, 1963.

On January 28, 1964, the international notified the administrator that it was terminating the trusteeship and returning control of the union to the local's officers. The administrator was directed to effectuate the transfer on February 1, 1964.

The international asserts that the district court's order enjoining the trusteeship is no longer properly before this court because the action of the international terminating the trusteeship renders moot the question of the legality of the trusteeship.

Plaintiffs answer that the imposition of the trusteeship was illegal because Quinn was improperly removed as president and that the lifting of the trusteeship requires his restoration to that office; further, that there has been no effective termination of the trusteeship so long as the international has "the right to pick and name the person to administer the affairs" of the local.

The constitution of the international and the by-laws of the local provide that whenever a vacancy in the office of president of the local occurs, the vice president shall act as president for the unexpired term. Pursuant to these provisions, Boland automatically succeeded Quinn. It is patent that the international did not arbitrarily choose her as his successor.

Although the imposition of the trusteeship and Quinn's deposition as president were interrelated, Quinn's removal did not perpetuate the trusteeship indefinitely nor did the termination depend upon Quinn's being restored to the presidency. Whether Quinn was rightfully removed from office is beside the point.The fact is he was removed and the international terminated the trusteeship for reasons other than the mandate of the district court. The issue relating to the trusteeship therefore became moot and is no longer before the district court. Lanigan v. ...


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