Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Virginia ex rel. Virginia State Bar

PETITIONER: Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen
RESPONDENT: Virginia ex rel. Virginia State Bar
LOCATION: Alabama State Capitol

DOCKET NO.: 34
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 377 US 1 (1964)
ARGUED: Jan 13, 1964
DECIDED: Apr 20, 1964

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Virginia ex rel. Virginia State Bar

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 13, 1964 (Part 2) in Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Virginia ex rel. Virginia State Bar

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 13, 1964 (Part 1) in Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Virginia ex rel. Virginia State Bar

Earl Warren:

Number 34, Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen, Petitioner, versus Virginia on the relation of the Virginia State Bar.

Beecher E. Stallard:

Mr. Chief Justice.

Earl Warren:

Mr. Stallard.

Beecher E. Stallard:

If it please the Court.

On June 29, 1959 the respondent who was the Virginia State Bar instituted an equity proceeding in the Chancery Court of the City of Richmond against the petitioner.

It alleged among other things that the Brotherhood the petitioner maintained a Legal Aid Department and while collecting certain information for itself it solicited business for legal counsel and it detailed how it did it.

It said that large members were injured the local secretary of the lodge reported to the Legal Aid Department which we now call Legal -- Department of Legal Counsel and in turn an investigator would go out and secure certain information and also recommend Legal Counsel.

It also alleged that the claims handled by the Legal Counsel were handled on a contingent fixed-fee basis by the Brotherhood and followed that Legal Counsel supported and maintained the Department of Legal Aid, which is Department of Legal Counsel now.

The Brotherhood accrued the Bill of Complaint and said that prior to 08/01/59 which was the decision of the Illinois case it did set the fee of Legal Counsel.

Legal Counsel did support the Department of Legal Counsel which was, at one time, legal aid.

They said however, in their answer and evidence showed that three months before this suit was instituted, and this is the words we used, “The Brotherhood no longer sets the fee to be charged by Legal Counsel.

The Brotherhood did not share in the direct or indirect of the fee.

The Brotherhood's Counsel no longer contributes to the support the Legal Aid Department.

Now, the Brotherhood in its answer and also by written motion raised the constitutional question.

They said they had a legal right to inform its member generally and specifically that they should employ a Legal Counsel where they were injured and they suggested a counsel who is capable of handling it, who is a legal aid.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Mr. Stallard.

Beecher E. Stallard:

Yes?

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

It would help me a great deal if you could tell me looking at the judgment -- the final decree here, I have it at page --

Beecher E. Stallard:

27.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

25 I think of the petition for writ.

It may be another page.

Which of those provisions A to H are you here complaining about?

Beecher E. Stallard:

We think that about four are sole partners that it pardons all the others but we could live under and starting with C --

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Yes.

Beecher E. Stallard:

From holding out lawyers selected by it as the only approved lawyer to aid the members or their family.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

You -- you say --

Beecher E. Stallard:

D --

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

-- could live that that or --

Beecher E. Stallard:

We cannot live with that, no, sir.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

That's right.