as it pertains to all plaintiffs except Irma Aguilar.
B. Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Defendants next argue that the Complaint must be dismissed because this court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear the claims of plaintiffs Floyd Stroud, Martinez and Fiascone. Defendants' argument is essentially the same as that above -- because plaintiffs fail to state a claim under the LMRDA, this court lacks jurisdiction. This argument is denied as moot because we held that plaintiffs' allegations are sufficient to state a claim.
C. Failure to Exhaust Internal Union Remedies
Citing Section 101(a)(4) of the LMRDA, 29 U.S.C. § 411(a)(4), defendants next argue that this court lacks subject matter jurisdiction because plaintiffs have failed to exhaust their internal union remedies. That section states that any union member plaintiff asserting a claim under the LMRDA "may be required to exhaust reasonable hearing procedures (but not to exceed a four-month lapse of time) before instituting legal . . . proceedings". 29 U.S.C. § 411(a)(4) (emphasis added). This determination, however, ultimately lies within the discretion of the court. Bee v. Local 719, United Auto Workers, 744 F. Supp. 835, 837 (N.D. Ill. 1990). "Among the factors to be considered are whether the internal remedies are reasonable and fair, whether exhaustion would be futile and whether requiring the plaintiff to pursue internal remedies would create an unreasonable delay." Bee, 744 F. Supp. at 837. In this case, after considering all relevant factors, we hold that exhaustion of internal remedies is not required.
First, plaintiffs need not invoke internal union procedures if those procedures would be futile. Winter v. Local Union No. 639, Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, 186 U.S. App. D.C. 315, 569 F.2d 146, 148 (D.C. Cir. 1977); Foy v. Norfolk & W. R.R. Co., 377 F.2d 243, 246 (4th Cir. 1967). It is correct that plaintiffs do not allege that they invoked their internal union remedies to redress these charges. They do allege, however, that "it is impossible to have a fair trial regarding charges of misconduct against National officers". Compl., at p. 13, P 82. They also allege that defendants' "actions . . . demonstrate that no internal union procedure exists to resolve these issues". Id., at p. 13, P 83. The court agrees. Based on the allegations presented, the court believes that plaintiffs need not exhaust internal union remedies because the procedures would be futile. See Yager v. Carey, No. 93-1054, slip op. at 10-13 (D.D.C. June 29, 1993) (finding internal union procedures inadequate in factually similar situation). The court also believes that the alternative procedure proposed by the defendants requires an inordinate amount of time and is, thus, unreasonable.
Plaintiffs allege that they were discharged from their positions for perceived disloyalty to Senese and current union management. Plaintiffs further allege that Executive Board members of the National, PW Local and Drivers Local are all loyal to Senese and abide by his directives and have participated in a plan to stifle dissent. See Compl., at p. 7, P 40. The internal union procedures do not adequately provide for such a scenario. The National Constitution provides for internal remedies of a trial before the Local Executive Board of all charges levied against Local officers. Constitution of the National Production Workers Union, at pp. 30-31. After such trial, the dissatisfied party may appeal the decision to the National Executive Board. Id., at p. 31. Any party dissatisfied with a decision there can appeal to the next National convention. Id. All charges against National officers are referred to the National Executive Board on which the accused and accuser will not be qualified to serve. Id., at p. 31. The dissatisfied party can then appeal to the next National convention. Id., at p. 32.
These provisions in the National's Constitution do not address the situation presented here. The National Constitution provides that the Executive officers sit in judgment of the accused. However, here the National and respective Local officers are the accused, and are thus ineligible. No express provision is made where all the officers are either accused or accusers. And while referral of this matter to the next National Convention seems to be a logical option, it is inadequate. Plaintiffs have been discharged from their employment and, thus, their livelihood has been suspended. As alleged by plaintiffs, and not refuted by defendants, the next National Convention will be held in June 1995. Plaintiffs cannot be expected to wait two years to be heard. See, e.g., 29 U.S.C. § 411(a)(4) (limiting "reasonable hearing procedures" to those occurring within four months). Thus, internal procedures expressly called for in the defendants' Constitution have been shown to be futile and the alternative remedy proposed by defendants is unreasonable. See Wood v. Dennis, 489 F.2d 849, 856-57 (7th Cir. 1973) (not requiring exhaustion of internal remedies); Yager, No. 93-1054 at 13 (same). As such, plaintiffs need not exhaust internal union remedies. This portion of defendants' Motion to Dismiss is denied.
D. Injunctive Relief
The first argument made by defendants in support of their assertion that injunctive relief is inappropriate is that "plaintiffs are not properly before this court" because they have failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss, at pp. 12-13. This argument has been addressed and rejected above.
Next, defendants argue that the request for injunctive relief against future LMRDA violations should be dismissed because plaintiffs are attempting to litigate the rights of other union members for which they lack standing. This argument is rejected. Section 102 of the LMRDA, 29 U.S.C. § 412, expressly provides for injunctive relief and any other appropriate relief. See 29 U.S.C. § 412 ("Any person whose rights . . . have been infringed . . . may bring a civil action . . . for such relief (including injunctions) as may be appropriate"). At this point in this case, the court cannot decide what relief, if any, "may be appropriate". Furthermore, other courts have found it appropriate to issue permanent injunctions on behalf of union members to prevent future violations of the LMRDA. See Sheridan v. Liquor Salesmen's Union Local 2, 303 F. Supp. 999, 1006 (S.D.N.Y. 1969) (courts have power to enjoin even threatened violations of section 101); Tirino v. Local 164, Bartenders and Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union, 282 F. Supp. 809, 813-14 (E.D.N.Y. 1968) (same). Where, as here, plaintiffs allege a pattern and practice of defendants violating Title I of the LMRDA, an injunction preventing similar acts may be appropriate. As such, plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief will not be dismissed. This portion of defendants' Motion to Dismiss is denied.
E. Complaint Not Signed by an Attorney
In their final argument of the Motion to Dismiss, defendants argue that the Complaint should be dismissed because it is not signed by an attorney as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11. We do not believe that such a sanction is appropriate here where defendants have alleged no damages resulting from the technical defect. See United States v. Kasuboski, 834 F.2d 1345, 1348 (7th Cir. 1987) ("In cases . . . which do not involve the issue of sanctions for filing an unfounded motion, the failure to sign will not cause a motion to be stricken unless the adverse party has been severely prejudiced or misled by the failure to sign."). Furthermore, each plaintiff signed the Complaint. We will, however, require that a verbatim copy of the Complaint be signed by an attorney of record and filed with the court or that plaintiffs file an amended Complaint signed by plaintiffs' attorney. Plaintiffs have twenty days from their receipt of this Order within which to file a signed copy of the original Complaint or an amended Complaint. See FED. R. CIV. P. 11 (an unsigned pleading shall be stricken "unless it is signed promptly after the omission" is brought to light). Any future pleadings filed by plaintiffs must be signed by their attorney of record or be subject to sua sponte dismissal. See FED. R. CIV. P. 11; Duke v. Crowell, 120 F.R.D. 511 (W.D. Tenn. 1988).
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is granted to the extent that all allegations regarding Irma Aguilar are dismissed without prejudice. The remainder of defendants' Motion to Dismiss is denied. Plaintiffs must file a verbatim copy of their original Complaint, signed by their attorney, or an amended Complaint signed by their attorney, within twenty days of their receipt of this Order.
Date: SEP 02 1993
JAMES H. ALESIA
United States District Judge