Malone v. White Motor Corporation

RESPONDENT:White Motor Corporation
LOCATION:Criminal Court of Fulton County

DOCKET NO.: 76-1184
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

CITATION: 435 US 497 (1978)
ARGUED: Jan 10, 1978
DECIDED: Apr 03, 1978

Allan A. Ryan, Jr. – for the United States, as amicus curiae, by special leave of Court
Frank C. Heath – for appellees
Richard B. Allyn – for appellant

Facts of the case


Media for Malone v. White Motor Corporation

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – January 10, 1978 in Malone v. White Motor Corporation

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – April 03, 1978 in Malone v. White Motor Corporation

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in Malone, Commissioner of Labor and Industry for Minnesota against White Motor Corporation will be announced by Mr. Justice White.

Byron R. White:

In 1974, the state of Minnesota adopted a statute that in important ways regulated the vesting and funding of pension plans, including those plans that were the result of collective bargaining.

Statute also had important consequences, financial consequences when a company would seek to terminate a plan.

When the state sought to apply the statute to the respondent, White Motor Company, the company sued, claiming that the state statute was invalid because or could not be applied because it was preempted by the federal labor laws insofar at least as the statute would purport to override or control the terms of collective bargaining contracts.

The District Court sustained the state statute.

The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the company was right in it’s preemption claim.

We noted probable jurisdiction because the case fell within our mandatory appellate jurisdiction.

We now in turn reverse the Court of Appeals.

Although in a later statute Congress made it clear that this kind of statute is preempted, it may not be applied.

At the time that the state passed it’s law and at the time it sought to apply the statute to the respondent, it’s clear to us that Congress had not intention of the labor laws being so applied as to prevent the action in which the state sought to take.

We have stated our reasons at some length and opinion on file with the clerk and we accordingly reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

Mr. Justice Stewart and Mr. Justice Powell joined with the Chief Justice had each filed a dissenting opinions.

Mr. Justice Brennan and Mr. Justice Blackmun took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice White.