Reed v. United Transportation Union

RESPONDENT: United Transportation Union
LOCATION: Dallas City Hall

DOCKET NO.: 87-1031
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1988-1990)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

CITATION: 488 US 319 (1989)
ARGUED: Nov 02, 1988
DECIDED: Jan 11, 1989

Clinton J. Miller, III - on behalf of the Respondents
John W. Gresham - on behalf of the Petitioner

Facts of the case


Media for Reed v. United Transportation Union

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 02, 1988 in Reed v. United Transportation Union

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - January 11, 1989 in Reed v. United Transportation Union

William H. Rehnquist:

The opinion of the Court in No. 87-1031, Reed versus United Transportation Union will be announced by Justice Brennan.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

This case is here on certiorari to the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The question for decision is what statute of limitations governs a claim of a Union member alleging that the Union, in violation of Section 101(a)(2) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, denied him his right to free speech as to Union matters.

Now, Congress did not enact the statute of limitations applicable to such actions and therefore under our precedents, we must decide whether the governing statute of limitations is the 6-month period that applies to the filing of charges with the National Labor Relations Board alleging unfair labor practices or whether as the District Court here held.

The Union member’s claim is more a keened to a civil rights claim in an unfair labor practice charge provided that it is governed by North Carolina statute of limitations for personal injury actions.

The District Court held that the personal injury statute applied, but the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that the 6-month period applied and reversed the District Court.

We granted certiorari and we now reverse the Court of Appeals.

We hold that claims under Section 101(a)(2) are governed by state general or residual personal injury statutes.

Our reasons are set forth at length in an opinion filed today with the Clerk.

Justice Scalia has filed a concurring opinion, and Justice White has filed a dissenting opinion.