National Labor Relations Board v. Duval Jewelry Company of Miami, Inc.

PETITIONER: National Labor Relations Board
RESPONDENT: Duval Jewelry Company of Miami, Inc.
LOCATION: Wolverine Tube, Inc.

DOCKET NO.: 234
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 357 US 1 (1958)
ARGUED: May 20, 1958
DECIDED: Jun 09, 1958

Facts of the case

Question

Media for National Labor Relations Board v. Duval Jewelry Company of Miami, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - May 20, 1958 in National Labor Relations Board v. Duval Jewelry Company of Miami, Inc.

Earl Warren:

Number 234, National Labor Relations Board, Petitioner, versus Duval Jewelry Company of Miami et al.

Mr. Come.

Norton J. Come:

May it please the Court.

This case is here on a writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals of -- for the Fifth Circuit.

The review of the judgment of that court in denying enforcement of certain subpoenas duces tecum issued in the course of a representation proceeding under the Section 9 of the National Labor Relations Act.

Section 11 (1) of the Act provides that the Board shall issue subpoenas forthwith upon the application of any party to the proceeding.

The section further provides that the person subpoenaed may contest the validity of the subpoena by filing a petition to revoke with the Board.

And the Board shall revoke the subpoena if in its opinion the evidence sought is irrelevant to the subpoena, does not describe it with sufficient particularity.

Now, by regulation, the Board has provided that whereas here, a subpoena is returnable at a hearing, the petition to revoke shall be filed with and ruled on in the first instance by the hearing officer.

His ruling is in turn subject to review by the Board itself under a special appeal procedure which I will describe in detail later.

The question presented is whether this Board regulation is authorized by the statute or a stated otherwise, thus Section 11 (1) require the Board alone to rule on petitions to revoke subpoenas or may the Board authorize the hearing officer to make the initial ruling on such petition pursuant to this procedure.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

(Inaudible)

Norton J. Come:

There is a special appeal procedure whereby the party under the Board's rules can request the Board for permission to appeal specially at that stage.

The party makes out the -- the case that he has for offsetting the hearing officer and that question goes to the Board and if the Board determines that a substantial question is presented as to the correctness of the hearing officer's ruling, it will grant the special appeal, consider the subpoena question and upset the hearing officer if need be.

There are situations where the Board has revoked subpoenas pursuant to this procedure.

We have reproduced several such orders in the appendix to our -- our brief in this case.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

What can a non-party (Inaudible)

Norton J. Come:

I didn't get your question.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

A non-party witness the subpoena.

Norton J. Come:

A non-party in the --

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

I suppose the Court's subpoenas issued against people are not parties for the proceeding doesn't -- don't stay on occasion.

Norton J. Come:

Well the non -- the -- the non-party could petition to revoke the subpoena and --

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

The same way?

Norton J. Come:

Yes, Your Honor as I understand it.

Now, the same question is -- is presented in the case which follows.

However, there, the subpoenas were issued in connection with an unfair labor practice proceeding and we believe that the Administrative Procedure Act furnishes an additional source or authority for the Board's procedure in such proceedings.

Now, briefly here, the underlying facts are these.

In November of 1955, a union, the retail clerks filed the petition with the Board's regional office for a representation election among the employees at a retail jewelry store in Miami, Florida.

At the hearing, the employer moved to dismiss on the ground that the business of the store did not satisfy the Board's jurisdictional yardsticks for the assertion of jurisdiction.

However, the store refused to furnish any information to substantiate that contention whereupon the hearing was adjourned for the purpose of securing the information by subpoenas.