United States District Court, D. Nevada
ORDER PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR TEMPORARY
RICHARD F. BOULWARE, II, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiff William Breazeale
(“Plaintiff”)'s Motion for Temporary
Restraining Order (“TRO”), (ECF No. 10) and
Motion for Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 12). For the
reasons stated below, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's
filed his original Complaint on October 5, 2017. (ECF No. 1).
Plaintiff also filed a Motion for TRO on October 5, 2017.
(ECF No. 4). The Court entered an Order denying the TRO for
failure to exhaust the remedies set forth in 29 U.S.C. §
482. (ECF No. 7). Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on
October 12, 2017, against Defendant Southwest Airline
Pilot's Association (“SWAPA”), and now
alleges violations of the Labor Management Reporting and
Disclosure Act (“LMRDA”), 29 U.S.C. § 411.
(ECF No. 9). Plaintiff asserts a breach of contract cause of
action, and a breach of implied covenant of good faith and
fair dealing cause of action, alleging that SWAPA has
violated SWAPA governance procedures in the current election
for Las Vegas Domicile Representative. Plaintiff also filed
the instant Motion for TRO on October 12, 2017, (ECF No. 10)
and a Motion for Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 12).
Plaintiff asks the Court to enjoin and restrain SWAPA from
allowing SWAPA Las Vegas Domicile Representative Candidate
Matt Kenworthy (“Kenworthy”) from appearing on
the ballot for the recent SWAPA Las Vegas Domicile
Representative Election, which opened on October 6, 2017.
Plaintiff claims that Kenworthy appears on the ballot in
violation of SWAPA's governing documents.
was nominated to be a candidate for the Domicile
Representative seat for the SWAPA Las Vegas domicile, which
he accepted. (ECF No. 10 at 5). He alleges that he was
informed that someone filed to contest the Domicile
Representative position one day before nominations closed.
(ECF No. 10 at 5). Plaintiff claims that Kenworthy was
nominated as a candidate, even though he was not assigned to
the SWAPA Las Vegas domicile, was not present in the state of
Nevada with intent to remain, and was not a resident of
Nevada at the time of the nomination. (ECF No. 10 at 6).
Believing that Kenworthy's nomination was improper,
Plaintiff lodged a formal complaint with SWAPA's 2nd Vice
President, Tom Gasparolo (“Gasparolo”) via email
on September 25, 2017. (ECF No. 10-3). In his response on
September 29, 2017, Gasparolo purportedly upheld
Kenworthy's nomination and found it to be in accordance
with SWAPA's governing documents. (ECF No. 10-4). On
October 3, 2017, Plaintiff contacted a Department of Labor
(“DOL”) investigator to lodge a complaint about
Kenworthy's nomination, and the investigator scheduled a
meeting with Plaintiff and counsel later that week. (ECF No.
10-7). The DOL investigator subsequently cancelled the
meeting and informed Plaintiff that the investigation would
be put on hold until the election was completed. (ECF No.
10-8). The investigator acknowledged that Plaintiff's
October 3, 2017 email would suffice as a formal complaint.
(ECF No. 10-8).
the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, only the
Secretary of Labor may bring a cause of action in federal
court for violations of Title IV of LMRDA. 29 U.S.C. §
482 (laying out procedures for enforcement). Prior to the
Secretary of Labor filing suit, a plaintiff must first lodge
a complaint internally and exhaust all internal
administrative remedies available pursuant to the
constitution and bylaws of plaintiff's union.
Id. Plaintiff may then file a complaint with the
Secretary of Labor, who conducts an investigation and has the
authority to bring suit. See Local No. 82, Furniture
& Piano Moving v. Crowley, 467 U.S. 526, 539-540
preliminary injunction is “an extraordinary remedy that
may only be awarded upon a clear showing that the plaintiff
is entitled to such relief.” Winter v. Natural Res.
Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 22 (2008). To obtain a
preliminary injunction, a plaintiff must establish four
elements: “(1) a likelihood of success on the merits,
(2) that the plaintiff will likely suffer irreparable harm in
the absence of preliminary relief, (3) that the balance of
equities tip in its favor, and (4) that the public interest
favors an injunction.” Wells Fargo & Co. v. ABD
Ins. & Fin. Servs., Inc., 758 F.3d 1069, 1071 (9th
Cir. 2014), as amended (Mar. 11, 2014) (citing
Winter, 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008)). A preliminary
injunction may issue under the “serious
questions” test. Alliance for the Wild Rockies v.
Cottrell, 632 F.3d 1127, 1134 (9th Cir. 2011) (affirming
the continued viability of this doctrine
post-Winter). According to this test, a plaintiff
can obtain a preliminary injunction by demonstrating
“that serious questions going to the merits were raised
and the balance of hardships tips sharply in the
plaintiff's favor, ” in addition to the other
Winter elements. Id. at 1134-35 (citation
Court finds that Plaintiff has followed the proper procedures
with respect to filing a complaint within his union, and
lodging a complaint with the Department of Labor. However,
the Court finds that Plaintiff's substituted causes of
action do not permit him to bring suit. Recognizing the
apparent overlap between Title I and Title IV of LMRDA, the
Supreme Court clarified the distinction between the two
statutory subsections in Local No. 82, Furniture &
Piano Moving v. Crowley, 467 U.S. 526, 539-540 (1984).
The Court stated: “[T]he primary objectives that
controlled congressional enactment of the LMRDA provide
important guidance for our consideration of the availability
of Title I remedies during a union election. In particular,
throughout the congressional discussions preceding enactment
of both Title I and Title IV, Congress clearly indicated its
intent to consolidate challenges to union elections with the
Secretary of Labor, and to have the Secretary supervise any
new elections necessitated by violations of the Act.”
Crowley, 467 U.S. at 543. Discussing the private
right of action for individual union members pursuant to
Title I of the statute, the Court continued:
“Individual union members may properly allege
violations of Title I that are easily remediable under that
Title without substantially delaying or invalidating an
ongoing election.” Id. at 546. The Court
emphasized the importance of minimizing judicial interference
with union elections and relying on the expertise of the
Secretary of Labor to the greatest extent possible.
Id. at 546-551. Crowley concluded that the
“District Court overstepped the bounds of
‘appropriate' relief under Title I of the LMRDA
when it enjoined an ongoing union election and ordered that a
new election be held pursuant to court-ordered
procedures.” Id. at 551.
light of Crowley and its own review of Title I of
LMRDA, the Court finds that Plaintiff does not allege any of
the particular circumstances warranting relief under 29
U.S.C. § 411(a). He does not argue that he was prevented
from nominating candidates, voting in elections or
referendums, or attending membership meetings. Plaintiff does
not contend that he was precluded from participating in the
deliberations and votes upon the business of union meetings.
While the Court recognizes the protective nature of Title I
in preventing discrimination between union members, the Court
does not find that such discrimination exists here in terms
of the allegations. Challenges to union elections and related
procedures generally fall within the ambit of Title IV, and
can only be brought by the Secretary of Labor. Consequently,
the Court finds that the Plaintiff cannot prove a likelihood
of success on the merits or a serious question as to the
merits of his argument on this issue.
the Court finds that Plaintiff has not established
irreparable harm. The LMRDA permits a Court (or the
Secretary) invalidate a union election after it has occurred
in certain circumstances. See 29 U.S.C. § 482;
see also Crowley, 467 U.S. at 540-41 (citation
omitted). There is therefore no need for the Court to impose
injunctive relief at this time.
the Court's findings, the remaining factors for
consideration as to imposition of a TRO or injunction need
not be addressed at this time.
the Court denies the Motion for TRO and Motion for
Preliminary Injunction with prejudice. Plaintiff shall not
file any further injunctive motions on this issue unless
given leave from the Court. ...