Linn v. United Plant Guard Workers

RESPONDENT: United Plant Guard Workers
LOCATION: General Petroleum Corporation

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1965-1967)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 383 US 53 (1966)
ARGUED: Nov 18, 1965
DECIDED: Feb 21, 1966

Facts of the case


Media for Linn v. United Plant Guard Workers

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 18, 1965 in Linn v. United Plant Guard Workers

Earl Warren:

Number 45, William C. Linn, Petitioner, versus United Plant Guard Workers of America, Local 114, et al.

Mr. Livingston, before you and Mr. Spritzer get away, I would like to express appreciation of the Court to you for having undertaking -- undertaken the defense of this indigent that are requested.

It's a real public service and we recognized of this such and we're thankful to those lawyers who will undertake such cases.

And of course, we appreciate the vigorous and very able manner in which Mr. Spritzer represents the government in this case.


Thank you very much Mr. Chief Justice.

Earl Warren:

Mr. Welday.

Donald F. Welday:

Mr. Chief Justice and members of the Court, may it please this honorable Court.

We present a case wherein -- as we have recited the issue, there seems to be some difference of opinion as to what the actual issue is in this case between our position, the position of the respondents and that of the Solicitor General.

But we think that we have accurately phrased it, when we said that has Congress in enacting the National Labor Relations Act exempted from the jurisdiction of the state courts, all rights and all remedies in the case of nonviolent tortuous conduct even though there maybe -- committed even though there maybe some kind of a labor dispute or relations or incident involved.

Has it been the intent of Congress to deprive an individual of his right of action for tortuous conduct committed against him in the state courts or in this case, a federal court because of diversity of citizenship.

The facts, on December the 7th, 1962, Mr. Linn who is the petitioner here, was an Assistant Regional Manager for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.

And he had under his -- or in his area the Detroit, Michigan area, and on that date, December 7, 1962, a leaflet was published and delivered to various employees of the Detroit office of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.

In that leaflet, Mr. Linn was expressly referred to by a name, described as a manager.

Also in that leaflet, it was said that the Pinkerton managers have been lying, have been cheating, have been robbing, and perhaps maybe subject to criminal penalties.

There was no Labor Relations matter, no labor dispute, and no incident up to that point.

One year previously, on the 7th of December in 1961, there had been a certification election for the Pinkerton employees in the Detroit office -- the bargaining agent which had represented those employees up to that point was voted out.

So on December the 7th, 1962, when this leaflet was published, there was no problem, there was no dispute, and there was no incident.

Byron R. White:

Was there an organizing campaign?

Donald F. Welday:

It was said in the Circuit Court's opinion that there was an organizational campaign.

Abe Fortas:

What does the record show?

Donald F. Welday:

The record does not show.

We don't know.

Now it has been alleged here in the facts, in the respondent's brief that this was an organizational campaign.

And very frankly, we don't know whether there was an organizational campaign.

There had been an election a year previously.

But up to this point, -- insofar as we know, and insofar as this record is concerned, there had been no organizational campaign.

Byron R. White:

Was there any evidence on this campaign?

Donald F. Welday:

No, sir.

This is one of the features of this case, is that there is no evidence at all in it.

Really, it's a question of whether or not we can present evidence.