United States District Court, E.D. California
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER RE: DEFENDANTS'
MOTION TO DISMISS [Doc. 11]
Lawrence J. O'Neill UNITED STATES CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE
Cedar Point Nursery and Fowler Packing Company
("Plaintiffs") allege that Cal. Code Regs. tit. 8,
§ 20900(e) (the "Access Regulation"), a
regulation promulgated by California's Agricultural Labor
Relations Board ("ALRB" or "the State")
allowing union organizers access to worksites for limited
periods of time, is unconstitutional as applied to them.
Plaintiffs argue that the Access Regulation allows third
parties to take their property without providing just
compensation, in violation of the Fifth Amendment, and
permits an unlawful seizure of their property rights, in
violation of the Fourth Amendment.
THE ACCESS REGULATION
1975, California enacted the Agricultural Labor Relations Act
("ALRA"). Cal. Lab. Code § 1140. The A.L.R.A
created the A.L.R.B and vested its members with authority to
make rules to carry out this policy. Cal. Lab. Code
§§ 1141, 1144. The A.L.R.B promulgated the Access
Regulation in recognition that workers' abilities to
exercise their organizational rights "depend in some
measure on the ability of employees to learn the advantages
and disadvantages of organization from others." Cal.
Code Regs. tit. 8, § 20900(b). The Access Regulation
provides that "the rights of employees under
[California] Labor Code Section 1152" include "the
right of access by union organizers to the premises of an
agricultural employer for the purpose of meeting and talking
with employees and soliciting their support." Cal. Code
Regs. tit. 8, § 20900(e). This right is subject to
several constraints. For example, a labor organization must
provide notice to the A.L.R.B and the employer of its intent
to appear onsite. § 20900(e)(1)(B). No organization may
appear for more than four thirty-day periods in any calendar
year. § 20900(e)(1)(A)-(B). Organizers may enter an
employer's property "for a total period of one hour
before the start of work and one hour after the completion of
work" and for "a single period not to exceed one
hour during the working day for the purpose of meeting and
talking with employees during their lunch period."
§ 20900(e)(3). Access is limited to a certain number of
organizers (depending on the number of employees) and
organizers are not allowed to engage in "conduct
disruptive of the employer's property or agricultural
operations, including injury to crops or machinery or
interference with the process of boarding buses." §
20900(e)(4). Organizers who violate these provisions may be
barred from accessing employers' properties for
organizing purposes. § 20900(e)(5).
Cedar Point Nursery ("Cedar Point") is located in
Dorris, California. Compl. for Declaratory and Injunctive
Relief ("Compl."), Doc. 1, ¶ 8. Cedar Point
employs more than 400 seasonal employees, who are housed
off-site. Id. ¶¶ 26-27. Cedar Point
alleges that United Farm Workers ("UFW") members
entered their property at 5:00 A.M. on October 29, 2015,
"without any prior notice of intent to access the
property" and "disrupted work by moving through the
trim sheds with bullhorns, distracting and intimidating
workers." Id. ¶ 30. Sometime after this
event, UFW served notice of their intent to take access.
Id. ¶ 32. Cedar Point lodged a complaint
against the UFW with the A.L.R.B regarding UFW's failure
to provide notice prior to the October 29 incident.
Id. ¶ 34. The UFW has also filed a charge with
the A.L.R.B against Cedar Point, alleging that Cedar Point
has committed unfair labor practices. Id.
Fowler Packing Company ("Fowler") is a California
corporation, headquartered in Fresno, California.
Id. ¶ 9. Fowler describes itself as "one
of the largest shippers in the fresh produce business."
Id. Fowler's employees do not live on their
property. Id. ¶ 37. The UFW brought charges
before the A.L.R.B against Fowler, based on alleged
violations of the Access Regulation, in July 2015.
Id. ¶ 38. It withdrew these charges in January
2016. Id. ¶ 39. Fowler alleges that,
"[a]bsent the challenged regulation, Fowler would oppose
union access and exercise its right to exclude trespassers
from its property." Id.¶ 40.
companies allege they "have reason to believe that the
access regulation will be applied against them in the
future" and "the only proper and possible remedy .
. . is declaratory and injunctive relief." Id.
¶ 57. They state that the Access Regulation should not
apply to them because "such access is unnecessary given
the alternative means of communication available [to union
organizers]." Id. ¶ 64.
filed their complaint against individual members of the
A.L.R.B on February 10, 2016. Compl. at 11. Plaintiffs argue
that the Access Regulation amounts to both a
"taking" in violation of the Fifth Amendment of the
Constitution, and an unlawful seizure of their private
property in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Id.
¶¶ 58, 64. Plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment
stating that the Access Regulation is unconstitutional as
applied to them and an order enjoining the A.L.R.B from
enforcing the regulation against them. Id. at
February 16, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a motion for preliminary
injunction seeking to enjoin the A.L.R.B from enforcing the
Access Regulation on their properties. On April 18, 2016, the
Court denied their motion as to their Fifth Amendment claims
and requested supplemental briefing on their Fourth Amendment
claims. Mem. Decision and Order ("April 18 Order"),
Doc. 13. On May 26, 2016 the Court denied Plaintiffs'
motion in its entirety. Mem. Decision and Order ("May 26
Order"), Doc. 19.
pending before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss
Plaintiffs' claims pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Defs.'
Not. Of Mot. and Mot. to Dismiss ("MTD"), Doc. 11.
Plaintiffs and Defendants filed their opposition and reply in
a timely manner. Pls.' Opp'n to Defs.' Mot. to
Dismiss ("Opposition"); Defs.' Reply in Supp.
of Mot. to Dismiss ("Reply"), Doc. 17. The Court
vacated the hearing set for the matter pursuant to Local Rule
230(g). Doc. 18.