National Labor Relations Board v. Nash-Finch Company

PETITIONER: National Labor Relations Board
RESPONDENT: Nash-Finch Company
LOCATION: Illinois State Penitentiary at Menard, Illinois

DOCKET NO.: 70-93
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1971-1972)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

CITATION: 404 US 138 (1971)
ARGUED: Oct 19, 1971
DECIDED: Dec 08, 1971

ADVOCATES:
Lawrence G. Wallace - argued the cause for petitioner
Solomon I. Hirsh -
William A. Harding - for respondent, pro hac vice, by special leave of Court

Facts of the case

Question

Media for National Labor Relations Board v. Nash-Finch Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 19, 1971 in National Labor Relations Board v. Nash-Finch Company

Warren E. Burger:

We will hear arguments next in number 93, National Labor Relations Board against the Nash-Finch Company.

Mr. Wallace you may proceed whenever you are ready.

Lawrence G. Wallace:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

In this case the District Court on jurisdictional grounds dismissed the complaint filed by the National Labor Relations Board and denied the Board's motion for a preliminary injunction.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment in all respects.

There is no decision here on the merits of the Board's claim and there has been no findings of fact on which a decision on the merits would ordinarily be predicated.

The decision was made is on the complaint and on the motion for the injunction.

The complaint is set forth beginning at page Four of the Appendix.

In it the Board recites that unfair labor practice charges had been filed with the Board by the union which is appearing here as amicus, the amount to made Meat Cutters Union against the respondent Company that on the basis of this charge, a trial examiner of the Board had found that the Company had violated the National Labor Relations Act in several respects by wrongfully refusing to bargain with the Union and by committing another unfair Labor practices relating to the union's organizational campaign.

I should say incidentally that after the present suit was filed as the briefs point out, the Board in ruling on the company's exceptions disagreed with the hearing examiner, concerning their refusal to bargain and held that the Board -- that the Union had not established majority status, but the Board did agree that the Company had committed certain and other unfair Labor practices and issued a cease and desist order for which the company has complied and there is no question here about enforcement of the Board’s order.

The complaint further recited that approximately one month after the issuance of the hearing examiner's decision, employees of the company began to picket the Company stores and the Company ran into the State Court and obtained an injunction against the picketing.

The copy of the injunction was amended as an exhibit to the board's complaint.

Potter Stewart:

The issue in this case does not, resolution of the issue in this case at least in your submission does not really depend at all on the ultimate outcome of anything in the Board's administrative proceeding, does it?

Lawrence G. Wallace:

That is correct, Your Honor.

This is strictly a question of whether there is jurisdiction in the District Court to hear the Board's complaint for an injunction against enforcement of the State Court's injunction by the Company.

Potter Stewart:

Then you say that merits even on the --unlike for injunction or not, have not been litigated and not before us?

Lawrence G. Wallace:

That is our --

Potter Stewart:

Usual questions?

Lawrence G. Wallace:

That we have asked to have the case remanded for a hearing on the merits of the Board's complaint.

Well, only the jurisdictional question has been decided below.

We do not think the case is ripe for adjudication on the merits whether the injunction should issue; there has been no factual finding.

Byron R. White:

Mr. Wallace, would the hearing in the District Court which you suggest merely go to whether or not the activities that have been enjoined are arguably protected or would you say the District Court could decide then and there, whether they are actually were protected or not?

Lawrence G. Wallace:

Well, that question is very closely related to the question that divided court in the Ariadne case in 397 U.S.

Byron R. White:

(Voice Overlap) for you.

Lawrence G. Wallace:

Under the complaint in accordance with the majority opinion Ariadne.

The compliant was put in terms of the activities being arguably protected or arguably prohibited.

Byron R. White:

So that they -- if your position is this that it were arguably protected the District Court should enjoin the (Inaudible)?

Lawrence G. Wallace:

Well, we understand that to be the law under guidance and related cases through Ariadne.

Byron R. White:

Even though there is no way of getting the issue before the Court is to whether it is actually protected?

Lawrence G. Wallace:

Well that is what we understand the law should be Mr. Justice.