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Teamsters Union Local 948 v. National Association of Business Representatives

July 30, 2012

TEAMSTERS UNION LOCAL 948, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS REPRESENTATIVES; SHARON MOSLEY; CHRIS TIERNAN; AND LUPE JUAREZ,
DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING MOTION TO SET ASIDE DEFAULT (Doc. 14)

Defendants National Association of Business Representatives, Sharon Mosley, Chris Tiernan and Lupe Juarez ("Defendants") filed the instant motion to set aside default on June 20, 2012. The matter was heard on July 20, 2012, before the Honorable Dennis L. Beck, United States Magistrate Judge. Kenneth Absalom appeared on behalf of Defendants. Anne Yen appeared telephonically on behalf of Plaintiff Teamsters Union Local 948.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Teamsters Union Local 948 ("Local 948") is a local union affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Defendant National Association of Business Representatives ("NABR") is a purported labor organization representing business representatives employed by Local 948.*fn1 Defendants Sharon Mosley and Chris Tiernan are officers and agents of NABR and are former employees and business representatives of Local 948. Defendant Lupe Juarez was formerly the Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Officer of Local 948 prior to January 1, 2012.

According to the Complaint, Local 948 and NABR became parties to a purported collective bargaining agreement for the period of August 22, 2011 through August 21, 2012. Local 948 and NABR entered the agreement on August 22, 2011, shortly before an internal union election was scheduled to be held. The election was supervised by the Department of Labor because Local 948, under the leadership of Lupe Juarez, had conducted its prior officer election in violation of the election procedures of the Landrum-Griffin Act. Complaint ¶¶ IV-V.

Lupe Juarez entered into the agreement with NABR, Sharon Mosley as Secretary-Treasurer of NABR and Chris Tiernan as President of NABR in order to preserve the employment of defendants and other employees and representatives working for Local 948, expecting that the membership would vote out the incumbent officers, including Lupe Juarez. Complaint ¶ VI. The agreement attempts to prohibit any newly elected officers from terminating employees, including Sharon Mosley and Chris Tiernan, if they had previously supported incumbent officers or continued to support former officers who were defeated or continued to support any such candidate in opposition to the newly elected officers. Complaint ¶ VII.

Local 948 contends that Sharon Mosley, Chris Tiernan and NABR anticipated that incumbent Lupe Juarez and his slate would lose the election and that any "new officers would terminate them and seek to hire new business representatives to reflect the democratic will of the majority of the members of Local 948." Complaint ¶ VIII. Local 948 alleges that the purpose of the agreement was to protect the interests of Defendants Mosley and Tiernan, but not Local 948 or its membership. Id.

Following the election, the Department of Labor certified a new slate of officers, including Adam Ochoa as the principal officer. Lupe Juarez and his slate were defeated. When Mr. Ochoa took over the administration of Local 948 on January 1, 2012, he terminated Sharon Mosley, Chris Tiernan and other employees covered by the agreement. Local 948 alleges that its bylaws authorized Mr. Ochoa to discharge employees of the union and to select his or her business representatives. Complaint ¶¶ VIII-XI. NABR filed grievances asserting that the terminations violated the collective bargaining agreement. Local 948 contends that the collective bargaining agreement is invalid and voidable.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Local 948 instituted this action for declaratory and injunctive relief regarding the collective bargaining agreement on April 17, 2012.

Defendant Chris Tiernan was served personally with the summons and complaint on April 25, 2012, and was required to answer or to respond to the complaint by May 16, 2012. Defendant Lupe Juarez was served by substituted service on April 28, 2012, and was required to respond to the complaint by May 31, 2012. Defendants NABR and Sharon Mosley were served personally on May 2, 2012, and were required to respond to the complaint by May 23, 2012. Defendants did not file timely responses to the complaint.

On June 8, 2012, Local 948 requested entry of default as to all defendants. Pursuant to that request, the Clerk of the Court entered their default on June 11, 2012.

On June 14, 2012, Defendant Sharon Mosley, then proceeding pro se, submitted a declaration in opposition to Local 948's request to enter default. Subsequently, on June 20, 2012, Defendants, through specially appearing counsel, jointly filed the instant motion to set aside default. Local 948 ...


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