Procedural PostureMay 27, 2021
Defendants, a national labor union, an affiliated local, and certain union officials, appealed the judgment from the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), which awarded plaintiff local union president damages as against the national union and granted a peremptory writ of mandate directing his reinstatement to membership. They argued that the present action was time-barred and asserted res judicata of a prior judgment.
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In an appeal of a proceeding in mandamus to compel labor unions to reinstate a suspended member, and for damages for loss of wages, the court was called upon to decide whether the action was time-barred and whether res judicata had attached to the prior judgment. The court held that: 1) mandate was available against the unincorporated association; 2) the prior judgment was not res judicata as to any matters that the court expressly refused to determine and which it directed should have been litigated in another forum or in another action; 3) because there was a closed shop contract between the national union and the president’s employer, the president was entitled to sue in tort if the union wrongfully expelled him and at the same time refused to let him work because he was not a union member; and 4) because the facts were in controversy, the president should have been afforded a union trial that included the right to notice of the charges, to confront and cross-examine the accusers, and to examine and refute the evidence.
The court modified and affirmed the trial court’s judgment that granted the writ of mandate and awarded damages. The court struck certain language from the writ of mandate and ordered each side to bear its costs upon appeal.