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Judges affirm dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld the decision by a trial court to dismiss a company’s state law claims against a labor union, finding those claims are preempted by a decision of the National Labor Relations Board.

Engineered Steel Concepts, owned by Tom Anderson, negotiated with Steven Parks, a business agent for a union, to have union members drive trucks hauling a by-product of the steel-making process. Anderson had two agreement options: a Section 8(f) general construction agreement, applicable to employers who are primarily in the building and construction industry; and Section 9(a), a commodity hauling agreement. Anderson signed the Section 8(f) agreement under the belief that this was the best agreement since the work would be temporary.

After the by-product hauling project ended, the company told the union employees that no other work was available. The union filed a charge against ESC with the National Labor Relations Board claiming the employees were unjustly terminated. An administrative law judge found that the company couldn’t have entered into a Section 8(f) agreement and treated the agreement instead like the Section 9(a) agreement. Under Section 9(a), ESC couldn’t terminate the agreement at the end of the project. The ALJ found ESC violated several sections of the National Labor Relations Act.

Anderson and the company then alleged three counts against Parks and the union, including fraud in inducement of the contract. The trial court granted the union’s request to dismiss the complaint under Indiana Trial Rule 12(B)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

The appellate judges found in Engineered Steel Concepts, Inc., ESC Group Limited, and Tom Anderson v. General Drivers, Warehousemen, and Helpers Union Local 142, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and Steven Parks, that the National Labor Relations Act preempted the state claims. The three state law claims against Parks and the union are essentially based on the exchange between Anderson and Parks in deciding which agreement to use. These issues were before the ALJ for resolution of the NLRB complaint.

“As such, it would be impossible for a state court to determine the merits of Anderson and the Company’s allegations without becoming an obstacle to the federal objective of having the NLRB exclusively 'oversee and referee' the collectively bargaining process between these two entities,” wrote Judge Edward Najam.

 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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