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HAAS v. FREIGHT

September 27, 1993

DAVE HAAS; BILL BROOKE; ROBERT SANDOVAL; and ROBERT WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
FREIGHT, CONSTRUCTION, GENERAL DRIVERS, WAREHOUSEMEN AND HELPERS, LOCAL NO. 287; ED QUINTAL, ED DE BROCK; GEORGE NETTO; and LEE SCOGGINS, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT P. AGUILAR

 Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment and defendants cross motion for summary judgment came on regularly for hearing on August 12, 1993, before the Honorable Robert P. Aguilar. All parties appeared represented by counsel. Based on the pleadings, the submitted declarations and evidence, oral argument, the court records and good cause appearing therefor, the court GRANTS plaintiffs' motion in part and DENIES plaintiffs motion in part. The court DENIES defendants' cross motion for summary judgment.

 I

 FACTUAL BACKGROUND

 This case arises out of a union dispute. During their membership in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 287 Union ("Local 287"), plaintiffs became dissatisfied with the performance of the secretary-treasurer, Mario Gullo, and requested an accounting.

 In order to investigate Gullo's conduct, the Executive Board, then comprised of plaintiffs Bill Brooke, Robert Sandoval, Robert Williams, and non-plaintiff Barton Wolin, adopted a resolution authorizing investigation of supplemental dues and related matters by attorney Fernando Hernandez.

 Hernandez started an investigation of Local 287 for its charging of supplemental dues and instituted a lawsuit for an accounting of union finances against Gullo, the then secretary-treasurer.

 Before the lawsuit had significantly advanced, an election was held and a reversal of power occurred within the Executive Board. New union officers were elected. Plaintiff Haas defeated Gullo, and Haas became the new secretary-treasurer. Gullo's supporters (Quintal, De Brock, Netto and Scoggins), however, were elected to a majority of the Executive Board. Shortly thereafter, Gullo filed a protest with the new Executive Board. He claimed that the plaintiffs hired the attorney to investigate his handling of the union's finances simply to gain votes for Haas, the alternate candidate for secretary-treasurer.

 On March 2, 1989, the union Joint Council convened to hear Gullo's election protest. The Joint Council set aside the election after finding several irregularities. The decision was appealed to the General Executive Board. The Executive Board, in turn, affirmed the Joint Council's decision.

 Shortly after the re-run election, attorney Hernandez was discharged by the newly structured Executive Board.

 A. First Union Trial of Plaintiffs on Gullo's Charges

 A hearing on the internal charges filed by defendant Gullo was scheduled for August 16, 1989. On August 15, 1989, plaintiff Haas, who had power to cancel the hearing under the bylaws of the union, canceled the trial hearing. None of the plaintiffs attended the hearing because they assumed it to be canceled. Nonetheless, plaintiffs were tried and convicted in absentia.

 Four of plaintiffs' political opponents, the defendants, sat as judges in this hearing. Plaintiffs were convicted.

 As a result of their convictions, plaintiffs were removed from office, fined $ 5,000.00 and ordered to reimburse the union for the attorneys' fees accrued by Hernandez. Plaintiffs filed an application for a stay of discipline pending appeal with the International Board of Teamsters ("IBT") General President. The stay was granted. Plaintiffs were restored to office.

 A re-run election to clean up the alleged campaign irregularities (i.e., the hiring of attorney Hernandez to investigate Gullo) was held. Plaintiffs were defeated. Gullo was restored to his secretary-treasurer role.

 Plaintiffs filed timely protest over the results of the re-run election with the Joint Council. Plaintiffs alleged that the convictions on Gullo's charges and their resulting brief removal from office were improperly used by Gullo, Quintal, De Brock, Netto and Scoggins in the re-run election campaign.

 The Joint Council determined that the revelation of the plaintiffs' brief removal from office was not prejudicial to the result of the re-run election. The Joint Council upheld the election results. This finding was ...


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