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Behr v. Fortier: US District Court : EMPLOYMENT | LABOR - Questions of fact regarding union's protected speech, reprisal versus business agent, once-VP, & union member

1
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
________________________________________________________________
GEORGE BEHR,
Plaintiff,
v. MEMORANDUM OF LAW & ORDER
Civil File No. 06‐3577 (MJD/AJB)
DAN FORTIER, in his official capacity
as Secretary‐Treasurer of Metal Shop,
Warehouseman and Helpers Union
Local 970; SCOTT GELHAR, in his
official capacity as Recording Secretary
and Business Agent of Metal Shop,
Warehouseman and Helpers Union
Local 970; ANDREW TRUCHINSKI,
in his official capacity as President of
Metal Shop, Warehouseman and
Helpers Union Local 970; and METAL
SHOP, WAREHOUSEMAN AND
HELPERS UNION LOCAL 970;
Defendants.
________________________________________________________________
Daniel J. Boivin, Meshbesher & Spence, Ltd., Counsel for Plaintiff.
Patrick John Kelly and Trevor S. Oliver, Kelly & Fawcett, PA, Counsel for
Defendants.
_________________________________________________________________
2
I. INTRODUCTION
This matter is before the Court on Defendants Motion for Summary
Judgment. [Docket No. 26] The Court heard oral argument on February 22, 2008.
II. BACKGROUND
A. Factual Background
1. Parties
Plaintiff George Behr has been a member of Defendant Metal Shop,
Warehouseman and Helpers Union Local 970 (Local 970) since 1979. He was
elected as Vice‐President of Local 970 in 1988 or 1989 and appointed as a
Business Agent of Local 970 in 1995. As a Business Agent, Behr worked full time.
Defendant Dan Fortier is the Secretary‐Treasurer of Local 970. Fortier had
appointed Behr as a Business Agent. Defendant Scott Gelhar is the Recording
Secretary and a Business Agent of Local 970. Defendant Andrew Truchinski is
the President of Local 970. Bruce Mehlhop and Roger Denbrook are Trustees of
Local 970.
Defendant Local 970 is a trade union chartered by the International
Brotherhood of Teamsters, AFL‐CIO (IBT). It conducts its business under the
Local 970 bylaws and the IBT Constitution.
3
2. Issues Related to Elections
In 2006, the IBT held an election for its national officers. The primary
offices are General President and General Secretary‐Treasurer, and the
candidates for these offices normally run as a ticket. The incumbent slate for the
2006 election was headed by James P. Hoffa as candidate for General President
and C. Thomas Keegel as candidate for General Secretary‐Treasurer. Local 970
was supporting the Hoffa/Keegel reelection campaign. Behr believes that Keegel
has a close friendship with Fortier, Gelhar, and Truchinski.
In August 2005, Gelhar asked Behr to donate 0 to the Hoffa/Keegel
campaign, stating that the campaign wanted 0 from each of the officers and
0 from each of the trustees. Behr did not want to support the Hoffa/Keegel
ticket because he felt that they had mistreated a friend of his. Behr told Gelhar
that he declined to donate any money to the Hoffa/Keegel campaign at that time,
and Gelhar told Fortier and Truchinski of his refusal.
According to Behr, in September 2005, Truchinski asked Behr for a
contribution to the Hoffa/Keegel campaign, and Behr again refused and told
Truchinski that he already knew why Behr was not supporting the campaign.
Behr then called Fortier and left a message telling Fortier that he was not
4
supporting the campaign.
Behr worried that he might lose his job, so, that night, he hand‐delivered a
contribution check to the Local 970 office. He left another message with Fortier
telling him that he had provided the check. He also informed Truchinski of his
contribution.
Fortier later returned Behrs personal check to him and said that he would
pay the money himself. Fortier then suggested that Behr resign from the
Jurisdiction Committee: Keegel had appointed him to the Committee, which paid
Behr 0 per month. Fortier claims that he asked, [H]ow can you work for a
man that you dont support? How can you serve on that committee and not
support him? . . . Why dont you just resign from the committee? According to
Behr, Fortier told him that there was a rule that Behr could not serve on the
Jurisdiction Committee if he did not support the Hoffa/Keegel campaign, so he
would have to resign. Behr claims that he twice asked Fortier if there really was
such a rule, and Fortier twice affirmed that there was. Behr resigned from the
Jurisdiction Committee.
Behr claims that he then asked Keegel about the Jurisdiction Committee
rule, and Keegel stated that no such rule existed and that Behr could have his job
5
back on the Jurisdiction Committee.
In October or November of 2005, Behr did make his 0 contribution to
the Hoffa/Keegel reelection campaign, but he delivered the check directly to the
campaign office and not through Local 970. Fortier asserts that he was not aware
of Behrs contribution. In December 2005, Behr was reinstated to his position on
the Jurisdiction Committee.
Under the IBTs election rules, the election of delegates to the IBT
Convention would take place by mail, at the expense of the local union, if there
was a contest for a delegate spot. The delegates to the convention would then
nominate candidates for the national offices.
Behr recounts that, in December 2005, Truchinski told Behr that he would
not be on the planned slate to attend the convention because he did not support
the Hoffa/Keegel ticket. Behr intended to have someone nominate him for
election as a delegate. However, when the time came for nomination, Behr did
not run for election because he did not have the votes to get elected and it would
be expensive for Local 970.
In April 2006, Behr met with Keegel to discuss his concerns about improper
election procedures for the IBT Convention of Delegates at Local 970 and
6
concerns that Local 970 was violating its election bylaws. Behr avers that he
asked Keegel for the proper procedure for filing a grievance against Truchinski
and Fortier for retaliation, but Keegel did not supply this information to him. In
May 2006, Keegel sent a letter to Behr stating that Local 970 carried out the
delegate selection process in conformity with the IBT election rules.
3. Behrs Request for Financial Information
a. Behrs Concerns
In 2001, Local 970 was facing financial stress as some shops closed and
membership declined. Behr began to seek ways to reduce expenses and was
particularly concerned with the cost to Local 970 of leasing vehicles for officers
use.
Behr was especially concerned about spending by Fortier. He claims that,
in 2002, Trustees Melhop and Denbrook told Behr that they were concerned
about improper receipts submitted by Fortier. Behr told them to speak to
Truchinski, who told them he would take care of it. Behr examined the monthly
receipts and decided that Fortiers expenses were too high and, in early 2002,
complained to Keegel about Fortiers spending.
On December 5, 2005, Behr complained to Truchinski that Fortier was
7
spending too much money while having only four shops and that Fortiers credit
card bill and phone bill were very high.
Defendants have provided evidence that the officers credit cards are in
their own names and Local 970 reimburses them only for those business expenses
supported by receipts. Local 970 had not issued union credit cards since 1999,
and instead required officers to use their own cards and apply for
reimbursement. If an officer accrues interest on an unpaid credit card balance,
Local 970 does not pay that interest. The receipts and disbursements, including
credit card receipts, went before the Executive Board, which included Behr, each
month.
Local 970 leases vehicles for its officers use. In April 2006, Behr asked
Teresa Connolly, Local 970s bookkeeper, for a summary of the total costs of
leased vehicles, including his own, used by officers. After Behr requested the
information, he found a summary of the cost of his own leased vehicle on his
desk, but no information on the vehicles used by Fortier. Behr claims that
Connolly told him that Fortier said that this was all the information Behr could
have. According to Behr, Connolly did not tell him he had to make a personal
request for the information to Fortier.
8
b. Behrs Access to Financial Records
Connolly uses a computer program called QuickBooks. All of the
information in the QuickBooks reports was available to Behr in the form of
individual receipts or credit card bills, but the QuickBook report, which combines
all of the charges and then allocates them to categories, such as meals or gas, is
only available by accessing QuickBooks, which only Connolly can do.
Behr had access to Local 970s paper receipts and other financial records.
The Board, including Behr, received copies of all receipts and invoices received
by Local 970, as well as copies of all checks written to pay for expenses. The
collected items receipts attached to Local 970 check stub would be kept in a
file drawer. Behr knew about this storage system, had access to it, and regularly
used it to review Local 970s financial records.
4. Termination of Behrs Employment
a. June 2, 2006 Meeting
According to Truchinski, in December 2005 or January 2006, Fortier told
him that he had finally decided to fire Behr. Fortier asserts that he had first
thought of terminating Behr as Business Agent about two years before June 2006.
Fortier claims that he decided to terminate Behr because he had negotiated
9
bad contracts, failed to get along with members, staff and business agents,
committed inappropriate and abrasive behavior, failed to communicate about
key issues, and demonstrated a lack of understanding of union procedures such
as how delegates were chosen.
In May 2006, Truchinski told Behr that Fortier wanted to meet with Behr
on Friday, June 2. According to Behr, on May 24, he called Fortier to ask what
the meeting was about, and Fortier assured him it was to discuss the bylaws and
the leased vehicles used by the Local 970 officers.
Fortier, Truchinski, and Martin Costello, attorney for Teamsters Joint
Council 32 and IBT, were all present at the June 2, 2006 meeting. According to
Behr, Fortier began the meeting by stating, Brother George, this is the saddest
day of my life, I have to fire you. Fortier did not specify whether he was firing
Behr as Business Agent or as Vice‐President. Behr avers that Fortier refused to
tell Behr why he was being fired, although Behr asked. Fortier had prepared a
letter terminating Behr as Business Agent, which he left on the table and Behr
handed back to him at the end of the meeting.
Sometime during the meeting Fortier, Costello, or Behr mentioned
retirement as an option. Behr admits that he was open to considering retiring as
10
Vice‐President, depending on the written terms of the retirement package.
According to Behr, the meeting ended with handshakes and an
arrangement to meet on Tuesday, June 6 to go over a written retirement proposal
that Costello would prepare, as well as a mutual release. Behr claims Costello
recommended that Behr consult an attorney before accepting any proposal and
told Behr that he would have a seven‐day period after the June 6 meeting to
accept or reject any proposal. Behr asserts that he left the meeting thinking that
he had not agreed to anything and that retirement was conditional on speaking
to his wife and his approval of the written severance that Costello would prepare.
b. Behrs Decision to Not Retire
According to Behr, over the weekend he decided he did not want to retire
at all. He states that his personal attorney was out of town on June 6, so Behr
called Costellos office on June 5 and left a message stating that he did not want
to retire and that he would not attend the June 6 meeting. Also on June 5, Behrs
attorney faxed and mailed a letter to Costello stating that Behr had been
improperly terminated and requesting the reason for his termination in writing.
The June 6 meeting did not occur.
11
Behr told member Randy Geisler that he would no longer be representing
him, but could not talk about it because [t]heres an issue with did I retire, didnt
I retire and theres legal issues. (Behr Dep. 72.) Behr also told John Hummel
and Brian Bosman that he was thinking about retiring but had not yet received
any documentation from the attorney from the union side.
Behr did decide to return his leased vehicle; he claims he did this to save
union money, not because he had decided to retire. In mid‐June, he removed his
personal equipment from the truck and returned the truck to the dealership.
When the dealership asked why he was returning the truck, Behr told him,
sarcastically, Well, I guess I will be retiring. (Behr Aff. 33.)
On June 19, 2006, Fortier wrote a letter to Behr confirming Behrs
retirement as Business Agent and Vice‐President effective July 1, 2006. On June
21, Costello sent a memorandum to Behrs attorney stating Behr had not been
terminated but had retired. Behrs attorney responded on June 30 stating that
there was no agreement and Behr would be reporting back to work the next
week.
Behr had surgery in June and attempted to return to work on July 5, 2006.
He called Connolly and told her he was still employed and that she should
12
forward calls to his cell phone, but Connolly called and left a message that Fortier
had told her Behr was retired.
In July 2006, Local 970 mailed Behr an early retirement withdrawal card
indicating he was a retired member in good standing. When Behr asked
Connolly why he received it, she said he had retired. He denied this and said he
would send his July union dues but Connolly said she would not accept them.
On July 28, 2006, Behr mailed a check for his July and August dues, but Local 970
returned the check.
On September 21, 2006, Behr faxed a note to Keegel, Fortier, Truchinski,
and the Board stating he had not Retired, Quit, or Resigned. In early 2007,
Behr received a severance check for ,400, which Behr returned on February 4,
2007, with a note stating that he had not retired.
Behr has not worked for Local 970 since June 2, 2006.
c. Termination of Behrs Union Membership
Under the IBT constitution and the Local 970 bylaws, active employment in
a union trade or by the union itself is a prerequisite to membership and to
holding office in Local 970. Members can retain active membership for six
months after termination from qualifying employment as long as they continue
13
to pay their dues. Members who retire from qualifying employment are given
honorable withdrawal cards upon retirement.
B. Procedural Background
On September 5, 2006, Behr filed a Complaint against Defendants alleging
violations of the Labor‐Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, 29
U.S.C. 401 et seq. (LMRDA): Count One, violation of 29 U.S.C. 411(a)(5),
and Count Two, violation of 29 U.S.C. 431(c). Count One is based on he
allegation that Defendants violated his right to free speech by removing him
from his elected union position as Vice‐President of Local 970 and terminating
his union membership. Count Two is based on Behrs allegation that Defendants
denied him access to financial information, such as the cost of leased vehicles
used by the officers of Local 970.
On January 5, 2007, Defendants brought a motion to dismiss the Complaint
based on failure to state a claim and failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
[Docket No. 10] On March 28, 2007, the Court denied the motion to dismiss.
[Docket No. 23]
Defendants now bring this motion for summary judgment.
III. DISCUSSION
14
A. Standard
Summary judgment is appropriate if, viewing all facts in the light most
favorable to the non‐moving party, there is no genuine issue as to any material
fact, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ.
P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322‐23 (1986). The party seeking
summary judgment bears the burden of showing that there is no disputed issue
of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Summary judgment is only appropriate
when there is no dispute of fact and where there exists only one conclusion.
Crawford v. Runyon, 37 F.3d 1338, 1341 (8th Cir. 1994) (citation omitted).
B. Count One, Violation of 29 U.S.C. 411(a)(5)
1. Standard
The statute provides:
No member of any labor organization may be fined, suspended,
expelled, or otherwise disciplined except for nonpayment of dues by
such organization or by any officer thereof unless such member has
been (A) served with written specific charges; (B) given a reasonable
time to prepare his defense; (C) afforded a full and fair hearing.
29 U.S.C. 411(a)(5). Behr asserts that his refusal to support the Hoffa‐Keegel
campaign and his questioning regarding Local 970 finances were protected free
speech under 29 U.S.C. 411(a)(2). Behr claims that Defendants took improper
15
disciplinary action against him in retaliation for that protected speech. The
statute provides:
Every member of any labor organization shall have the right to meet
and assemble freely with other members; and to express any views,
arguments, or opinions; and to express at meetings of the labor
organization his views, upon candidates in an election of the labor
organization or upon any business properly before the meeting,
subject to the organizations established and reasonable rules
pertaining to the conduct of meetings . . .
29 U.S.C. 411(a)(2).
In order to establish his claim, Behr must present facts showing that (1) he
. . . exercised the right to oppose union policies; (2) he . . . was subjected to
retaliatory action; and (3) the retaliatory action was a direct result of his . . .
decision to express disagreement with the unions leadership. Casumpang v.
Intl Longshoremens & Warehousemens Union, Local 142, 269 F.3d 1042, 1058
(9th Cir. 2001) (citing Sheet Metal Workers Intl Assn v. Lynn, 488 U.S. 347, 354
(1989)). See also Black v. Ryder/P.I.E. Nationwide, Inc., 970 F.2d 1461, 1469 (6th
Cir. 1992) (Plaintiff must prove each of the following propositions. Number
one, that his conduct was an exercise of free speech as defined and protected by
the [LMRDA]. Number two, that he must prove that defendant took actions
against him in substantial part because of this exercise of his rights under the
16
[LMRDA]. Number three, he must prove that he was damaged and suffered an
injury, as a proximate result of the actions of the defendant.).
2. Whether Behr Engaged in Protected Speech
The Court concludes that Behr has set forth sufficient evidence to survive a
motion for summary judgment regarding whether he engaged in protected
speech. First, Behrs initial refusal to support the Hoffa/Keegel reelection
campaign is the type of speech specifically protected by 411(a)(2) (noting
members right to express his views, upon candidates in an election of the labor
organization). The Court rejects Defendants argument that, because Behr
acknowledged that he had no objection to Hoffa and Keegel being re‐elected, he
agreed with Defendants. Behr refused to donate to the campaign numerous time,
voiced his criticism of the candidates, and finally donated to the campaign based
his fear of losing his job. The Court concludes that there is a genuine issue of
material fact regarding whether Behr engaged in protected activity when he
failed to support the Hoffa/Keegel ticket. Criticism of a union ticket and failure
to support it qualifies as protected political speech.
The Court also concludes that Behrs enquiries into and criticisms of Local
970s finances and his criticisms of Fortiers spending habits could also be found
17
to be protected speech. See Gilvin v. Fire, 259 F.3d 749, 758‐59 (D.C. Cir. 2001)
(Finally, there was nothing about the substance of Gilvins criticism that was
inconsistent with his duties as a union official. To the contrary, Gilvins letters
challenged the financial policy of the President and Executive Board, a topic well
within the rights of any union member and certainly of the Secretary‐Treasurer,
whose responsibilities include perform[ing] all such duties as may be deemed
necessary to a proper and effective administration of the financial affairs of the
Union.) (citations omitted). Defendants arguments that Behrs statements
regarding finances were not protected because they constituted personal attacks
on Fortier or were part of similarly‐minded discussions are disputed by Behr and
will be determined by the fact‐finder at trial. The fact that his criticisms may
have been based on trustee complaints does not take his speech outside the realm
of protection. Whether Behrs complaints about credit card expenses stemmed
from a mistaken belief regarding Local 970s credit card policy is a disputed fact
issue that the Court cannot resolve on summary judgment.
3. Whether Behr Was Disciplined or Expelled Without
Statutory Safeguards
Behr claims that it is undisputed that Defendants treated his Vice
18
Presidency and union membership as terminated without serving him with
specific charges, giving him a reasonable time to prepare a defense, or affording
him a full and fair hearing. Defendants assert that they merely sought to fire
Behr from his job a Business Agent, a position not protected by the statute. They
claim that Behr voluntarily retired from his position as Vice‐President and from
the union. Behr claims he was involuntarily terminated.
There is conflicting evidence regarding what occurred at the June 2, 2006
meeting. Although there is evidence that Behr did not voluntarily retire,
Defendants announced his retirement, refused to allow him to continue as Vice‐
President, provided him with an early retirement withdrawal card, and returned
his proffered payment of union dues. Behr attempted to return to work and pay
his union dues, denied that he was retired in conversations and in faxed
messages to Keegel and to Defendants, and returned the first installment of the
proposed severance payment. There is sufficient evidence to support Behrs
theory that he did not retire.
The Court concludes that hat there is a genuine issue of material fact
regarding whether Behr retired or was fired. If he was fired, then he meets the
element of termination or discipline in violation of the statutes procedures.
19
4. Causation
Defendants argue that the dispute over whether Behr accepted or rejected a
retirement offer from Local 970 does not preclude summary judgment because
Behr cannot show a causal link between his claimed protected acts and the
alleged retaliation.
The Court concludes that there is a genuine issue of material fact regarding
causation and Behrs speech regarding the election. Behr and Defendants had
been involved in an ongoing dispute regarding the Hoffa campaign. For
example, Behr has presented evidence that, at one point, Fortier forced him off of
the Jurisdiction Committee based on his failure to support the Hoffa/Keegel
campaign. Fortier testified that his reasons for terminating Behr included Behrs
opposition to Local 970s election procedures for the IBT Convention of
Delegates, which itself arose out of Behrs initial failure to support the
Hoffa/Keegel campaign. According to Behr, Truchinski told him to come to the
June 2 meeting based on assurances that the meeting would address the bylaws
and the leased vehicles issue.
The Court also concludes that there is a genuine issue of material fact
regarding causation and Behrs financial speech. Like the campaign issue, the
20
financial issue was an ongoing power struggle between the parties. As noted,
Behr claims that Truchinski told Behr to attend the June 2 meeting by promising
that the leased vehicles issue would be addressed. Truchinski testified that, even
at the June 2 meeting, the parties argued about the credit card charges.
5. Conclusion
Based on the existence of genuine issues of material fact, the Court
concludes that summary judgment on Count One is inappropriate.
C. Count Two, Violation of 29 U.S.C. 431(c)
1. Introduction
In Count Two, Behr alleges that Defendants have intentionally withheld
union financial information from him, despite his repeated requests. Under 29
U.S.C. 431(b), [e]very labor organization shall file annually with the Secretary
a financial report containing specified information, commonly known as an LM‐
2. Additionally, the statute provides:
Every labor organization required to submit a report under this
subchapter shall make available the information required to be
contained in such report to all of its members, and every such labor
organization and its officers shall be under a duty enforceable at the
suit of any member of such organization . . . in the district court of
the United States for the district in which such labor organization
maintains its principal office, to permit such member for just cause
21
to examine any books, records, and accounts necessary to verify such
report. The court in such action may, in its discretion, in addition to
any judgment awarded to the plaintiff or plaintiffs, allow a
reasonable attorneys fee to be paid by the defendant, and costs of
the action.
29 U.S.C. 431(c).
The only remedy permitted under 431(c) is an order requiring disclosure
of the records supporting a mandatory disclosure and the award of attorney fees
and costs. 29 U.S.C. 431(c); Sinito v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, 176 F.3d 512, 514 (D.C.
Cir. 1999); Brown v. Local 701 of Intl Bhd. of Elec. Workers, 996 F. Supp. 781, 790
(N.D. Ill. 1998).
In order to obtain this remedy in a preliminary injunction, summary
judgment order, or at trial, Behr must produce some objective evidence of
impropriety. Spinowitz v. Herrity, 672 F. Supp. 670, 673 (E.D.N.Y. 1987). He
must also demonstrate just cause in order to obtain for an order seeking
inspection of financial records. 29 U.S.C. 431(c); Kinslow v. Am. Postal Workers
Union, Chicago Local, 222 F.3d 269, 273 (7th Cir. 2000).
2 . Whether Behr Had Access to the Records in Question
Here, Behr seeks to review the records relating to the costs of the Local
970s officers vehicles which, he claims, underlie the filed LM‐2s. He asserts
22
that he requested this summary from Connolly and that his request was refused,
except with respect to Behrs own vehicle. Behr argues that although he did have
access to the records of paid expenses, the summaries of the costs of leasing the
officers vehicles were not filed with other records to which Behr and the other
officers had access. Rather, according to Connolly, they were separately allocated
in a different report inside of QuickBooks, to which only Connolly had access.
The Court may order inspection of the records only if they are not made
available. 29 U.S.C. 431(c). Connollys uncontradicted deposition testimony
demonstrates that the items on her computer spreadsheet simply summarized
the information that was available to the Board and stored in the file cabinet to
which Behr admits he had regular access. Connolly did not add information or
change information to put it into her system; she merely assembled it. As a
Board member, Behr regularly reviewed all of the relevant receipts and checks.
Behr admits that he could have reviewed the checks and ledgers available to him
to determine Fortiers lease expenses, but he chose not to. Thus, Behr never
lacked access to the information underlying Local 970s annual financial report.
Behr has not provided evidence that the records he sought were
unavailable to him. On this basis alone, Defendants are entitled to summary
23
judgment on Count Two.
3. Whether Behr Can Show Just Cause for His Request
Behr has not advanced any facts supporting just cause for his request for
financial records and he has never tied his request to any desire to verify Local
970s LM‐2, which is the stated purpose of the cause of action.
A demand for information under 431 must relate in some way to the LM‐
2 report required by the statute. See Kinslow, 222 F.3d at 274 (The just cause
requirement simply entails a showing that the union member had some
reasonable basis to question the accuracy of the LM‐2 or the documents on which
it was based, or that information in the LM‐2 has inspired reasonable questions
about the way union funds were handled.) (citation omitted). See also Mallick
v. Intl Broth. of Elec. Workers, 749 F.2d 771, 783 (D.C. Cir. 1984) ([P]olitical
opposition to union officials, unaccompanied by any specific concern with
transactions summarized on the LM‐2 report, does not constitute just cause for
rummaging through all the union records.) (footnote omitted); Flaherty v.
Warehousemen, Garage & Serv. Station Employees Local Union No. 334, 574
F.2d 484, 486 (9th Cir. 1978) (As stated earlier, the appellants reasons for
examining the records were not related to the unions LM‐2 reports. Therefore,
24
Judge Neill properly granted summary judgment for the appellees.) (footnote
omitted); Krokosky v. United Staff Union, 291 F. Supp. 2d 835, 843 (W.D. Wis.
2003) (The statutes structure indicates that just cause ought to relate to the
LM‐2. Document disclosure pursuant to 431(c) is a supplement to the reporting
requirements defined in subsections (a) and (b). Congress could have made this
disclosure provision an independent section of the act, but made it an appendage
instead.). As the Krokosky court reasoned, In any event, the argument that just
cause is established whenever a union official refuses to provide members with
any and all information on request must fail because it is based on circular
reasoning that would effectively eliminate the just cause limitation. Krokosky,
291 F . Supp. 2d at 843.
There is no evidence in the records that Behr ever sought any financial
records from Local 970 because he had questions about Local 970s LM‐2s. Behr
has not identified the just cause relating to Local 970s LM‐2 report which
necessitates an order compelling inspection.
4. Conclusion
The Court grants Defendants motion for summary judgment on this claim
because Behr had access to all information to which he was entitled under the
25
statute. Moreover, Behr cannot show just cause for seeking the information
regarding the vehicle leases because he has presented no evidence that his
request was in any way tied to the LM‐2 reports.
Accordingly, based upon the files, records, and proceedings herein, IT IS
HEREBY ORDERED:
Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment [Docket No. 26] is GRANTED
IN PART and DENIED IN PART as follows:
1. Count One REMAINS; and
2. Count Two is DISMISSED.
Dated: June 1, 2008 s / Michael J. Davis
Judge Michael J. Davis
United States District Court
 

 
 
 

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  What caused your injuries?
Traffic/Bicycle Accident
Work-Related Injury
Wrongful Death
Dog Bite
Slip and Fall
Other:


  How have your injuries affected

  your life?

 


  What kinds of medical care
  professionals have you seen?

 


  What has your treatment cost?

 

  Is Insurance Involved?
My insurance may cover
        this.

Someone else's insurance
        may cover this.

I already filed a claim.
I rejected a settlement
        offer.

I accepted a settlement
        offer.

  Were there any witnesses?
Bystanders Witnessed This.
Police Responded and Filed
        a Police Report

Police Responded but Did
        Not File a Police Report


 

 

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Copyright © Michael E. Douglas, Attorney at Law, Saint Paul MN. All Rights Reserved.
Minnesota Law Firm representing Personal Injury, Car / Auto Accident, Workers Compensation, Medical Malpractice, Social Security Disability claims.
Dedicated to Injured Workers, Victims of Negligence, Car Accidents, Victims of Fraud, and those in need of legal assistance.