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Kujawski v. Solis

April 17, 2009

JOHN P. KUJAWSKI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HILDA L. SOLIS, SECRETARY OF LABOR, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter comes before the Court on the motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) filed by defendant Hilda L. Solis*fn1 , Secretary of the United States Department of Labor ("Secretary") seeking dismissal of plaintiff John P. Kujawski's ("Kujawski") remaining claim, Count VI (Doc. 63). Kujawski has responded to that motion (Doc. 69), and the Secretary has replied to that response (Doc. 74). The Court also considers Kujawski's motion for a hearing (Doc. 67) to which the Secretary has responded (Doc. 72).

I. Background

The Court has set forth the background of this case and disposed of some issues in two prior orders (Docs. 37 & 46) denying Kujawski's motion for a preliminary injunction (Doc. 6) and granting in part and denying in part the Secretary's motion to dismiss (Doc. 14). The Court adopts the relevant portions of its prior orders as they relate to the issues involved in the pending motion for judgment on the pleadings and assumes the reader's familiarity with those opinions.

In summary, Kujawski has challenged the Secretary's decision to enforce a reporting requirement in the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 ("LMRDA") for gifts or loans Kujawski, a union-designated legal counsel ("DLC"), made to union officials or employees that exceed $250 in value annually in the aggregate. Only one count of Kujawski's complaint remains: that the Secretary has infringed on his First Amendment rights by issuing the subject advisories (Count VI). However, in its June 18, 2008, order (Doc. 46), the Court limited Count VI to Kujawski's claim that his First Amendment rights would be violated by the forced disclosure of litigation expenses he paid or would pay that are not covered by the attorney-client privilege.

II. Standard for Judgment on the Pleadings*fn2

In ruling on a motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), the Court considers the complaint, answer and any written instruments attached to those pleadings, accepts all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and draws all inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Pisciotta v. Old Nat'l Bancorp, 499 F.3d 629, 633 (7th Cir. 2007); Forseth v. Village of Sussex, 199 F.3d 363, 368 (7th Cir. 2000). Judgment on the pleadings is appropriate "[o]nly when it appears beyond a doubt that the plaintiff cannot prove any facts to support a claim for relief and the moving party demonstrates that there are no material issues of fact to be resolved." Moss v. Martin, 473 F.3d 694, 698 (7th Cir. 2007).*fn3 The Court may also consider a plaintiff's affidavit or brief demonstrating how he could make out a claim consistent with the facts alleged in his complaint, even though the substance of the affidavit or brief is not included in the complaint. Forseth, 199 F.3d at 368; Albiero v. City of Kankakee, 122 F.3d 417, 419 (7th Cir. 1997).

The Secretary argues that she is entitled to judgment as a matter of law because (1) Kujawski has no standing to bring a First Amendment claim in the absence of an actual or imminent injury, (2) the Secretary's regulations do not implicate Kujawski's First Amendment rights, and (3) if the Secretary's regulations infringe on Kujawski's First Amendment rights, the infringement is justified by the government's interests.

In an overly-long response, Kujawski attempts to broaden his claim beyond the limits set by the Court's June 18, 2008, order. The Court will disregard such argument as beyond the scope of this litigation as it now exists. As for relevant matters, Kujawski maintains that the Secretary's regulations impinge on his First Amendment rights because they would ultimately impact his ability to serve as a DLC and make legal services available to union members.

Kujawski also asks for a hearing pursuant to Rule 12(i) (Doc. 67). Kujawski's motion is based on a fundamental misinterpretation of Rule 12(i), which states, in pertinent part, that "a motion under Rule 12(c) must be heard and decided before trial unless the court orders a deferral until trial." Contrary to Kujawski's reading, Rule 12(i) only requires the Court to consider the parties' arguments; it does not require an oral or evidentiary hearing. CutCo Indus., Inc. v. Naughton, 806 F.2d 361, 364 (2d Cir. 1986) (approving hearings "solely upon papers"). In fact, evidentiary hearings are only required if there are disputes of material fact. Commodities Export Co. v. United States Customs Serv., 888 F.2d 431, 436 (6th Cir. 1989). There are no genuine issues of material fact in this case since the Court assumes all facts Kujawski alleges are true for the purposes of the pending motion. Therefore, the Court need not hold an evidentiary hearing and will deny Kujawski's motion (Doc. 67). See, e.g., Kerry Steel, Inc. v. Paragon Indus., Inc., 106 F.3d 147, 154 (6th Cir. 1997).

III. Analysis

A. Standing

The Secretary argues Kujawski does not have standing to bring a First Amendment claim because the injury cited by Kujawski is too speculative. Kujawski claims that the forced disclosure of litigation expenses he paid or will pay that are not covered by the attorney-client privilege is certain to follow from the Secretary's new regulations.

The doctrine of standing is a component of the Constitution's restriction of federal courts' jurisdiction to actual cases or controversies. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992); see U.S. ...


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