Unite Here Local 30 v. Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation et al

Filing 49

ORDER Denying Defendant's Motion to Stay (Docs. 41 , 45 . The Tribe's Amended Motion to Stay this Court's order to arbitrate is denied (Doc. 45 ). The original motion is denied as moot (Doc. 41 ). Signed by Judge Thomas J. Whelan on 2/16/2021. (jdt)

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Case 3:20-cv-01006-W-DEB Document 49 Filed 02/16/21 PageID.580 Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 12 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 13 14 UNITE HERE LOCAL 30, Case No.: 20-cv-01006 W (DEB) Plaintiff, 15 16 v. 17 ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR STAY [DOCS. 41, 45] SYCUAN BAND OF THE KUMEYAAY NATION; and DOES 1-100, 18 19 Defendants. 20 21 Before the Court is Defendant Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Nation’s (“the Tribe’s”) 22 Amended Motion to Stay this Court’s order to arbitrate. [Doc. 45.] Plaintiff UNITE 23 HERE Local 30 (“the Union”) opposes the motion to stay. 24 The Court decides the matters without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local Rule 25 7.1(d)(1). For the reasons that follow, the Court DENIES the Tribe’s Amended Motion 26 to Stay [Doc. 45] and DENIES AS MOOT the original Motion to Stay [Doc. 41]. 27 28 1 20-cv-01006 W (DEB) Case 3:20-cv-01006-W-DEB Document 49 Filed 02/16/21 PageID.581 Page 2 of 5 1 I. 2 BACKGROUND The Tribe owns and operates the Sycuan Casino Resort. (Complaint to Compel 3 Arbitration (“Compl.”) [Doc. 1] ¶ 4. The Union is a labor organization seeking to 4 represent the Sycuan Casino Resort employees. (Id. ¶¶ 1, 3.) 5 On June 1, 2020, the Union filed its Complaint seeking an order compelling 6 arbitration. (Compl. ¶¶ 41-46.) The Tribe timely filed both an Answer and a 7 Counterclaim for a declaratory judgment stating that federal law preempts and invalidates 8 California’s requirement that the Tribe enter into a contract with the Union. 9 (Counterclaim [Doc. 10] ¶ 67.) 10 11 On September 2, 2020, the Union moved to dismiss the counterclaim [Doc. 18] and on September 15, 2020, moved for judgment on the pleadings [Doc. 20]. 12 On December 10, 2020, this Court found that a contract with a broad arbitration 13 provision existed between the Tribe and the Union and ordered them to arbitrate. [Doc. 14 34.] The Court also denied the Tribe’s declaratory judgment claim because, in a dispute 15 involving a contract with an arbitration clause, whether a contract is valid as a whole is to 16 be decided by the arbitrator, not the court. 17 On January 8, 2021, the Tribe filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit [Doc. 40] and 18 moved to stay the Court’s order to arbitrate [Doc. 41]. On January 11, 2021, the Tribe 19 refiled the operative motion to stay with an updated hearing date [Doc. 45]. The Union 20 opposes, arguing that a stay order is subject to the limitations imposed by the Norris- 21 LaGuardia Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 101–115. 22 23 II. DISCUSSION 24 The Norris–LaGuardia Act states: 25 No court of the United States, as defined in this chapter, shall have jurisdiction to issue any restraining order or temporary or permanent injunction in a case involving or growing out of a labor dispute, except in a strict conformity with the provisions of this chapter; nor shall any such 26 27 28 2 20-cv-01006 W (DEB) Case 3:20-cv-01006-W-DEB Document 49 Filed 02/16/21 PageID.582 Page 3 of 5 1 2 restraining order or temporary or permanent injunction be issued contrary to the public policy declared in this chapter. 3 29 U.S.C. § 101. Courts have defined a “labor dispute” extraordinarily broadly. 4 Camping Const. Co. v. Dist. Council of Iron Workers, 915 F.2d 1333, 1342 (9th Cir. 5 1990) (finding that there was “absolutely no doubt” that a dispute between a union and 6 employer over the enforceability of an agreement to arbitrate is a labor dispute). “[A]n 7 order staying arbitration is a ‘classic form of injunction.’” Id. at 1343 (quoting A. & E. 8 Plastik Pak Co., Inc. v. Monsanto Co., 396 F.2d 710, 713 (9th Cir. 1968)). 9 The Tribe argues the Norris-LaGuardia Act is inapplicable to this controversy for 10 two reasons. First, the Tribe argues that Camping Construction is inapposite to this case 11 because here the Tribe contends that there is no existing collective-bargaining agreement 12 at all and that the Norris-LaGuardia Act does not apply as a result. The Tribe is incorrect 13 on both fronts. Not only was there “a dispute over the existence of a collective- 14 bargaining agreement” in Camping Construction, but the panel explicitly proclaimed that 15 “[t]he Norris–LaGuardia Act is made applicable by virtue of the existence of a labor 16 dispute, not the existence of an arbitrable dispute or, indeed, even of a collective- 17 bargaining agreement.” Id. at 1346–47 (emphasis in original). The panel explained why: 18 Perhaps the central application of the Act during its early years was to protect strikes called in order to pressure employers to enter into collective bargaining with a union. The Act would scarcely have been such a milestone in the development of federal labor law if it had applied only where a collective-bargaining agreement already existed. Camping’s suggestion that the Act does not apply when the existence of the collective-bargaining agreement is in doubt is simply indefensible in light of the fact that, historically, one of the principal purposes of the Act was to preclude injunctions where there was clearly no collective-bargaining agreement at all. 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 Id. at 1374 (emphasis in original). Second, the Tribe argues the Court has jurisdiction to grant the motion to stay 27 because the actual controversy did not grow out of a “labor dispute” as defined by the 28 Norris–LaGuardia Act. The Tribe contends this is not a dispute affecting the employer3 20-cv-01006 W (DEB) Case 3:20-cv-01006-W-DEB Document 49 Filed 02/16/21 PageID.583 Page 4 of 5 1 employee relationship, but rather over which law applies, and “does not involve the 2 traditional labor activity the [Norris–LaGuardia Act] was intended to protect, such as 3 ‘lawful strikes, peaceful picketing and union organizing.’” Section 113(c) of the Act 4 defines a “labor dispute” as “any controversy . . . concerning the association or 5 representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing, or seeking to 6 arrange terms or conditions of employment, regardless of whether or not the disputants 7 stand in the proximate relation of employer and employee.” 29 U.S.C. § 113(c). As 8 mentioned above, the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence has consistently emphasized both 9 the broadness of the phrase “involving or growing out of a labor dispute,” and the strong 10 federal policy in favor of labor arbitration. See Camping Const., 915 F.2d at 1342. The 11 Tribe’s contention that the Act only protects “traditional labor activity” such as the right 12 to strike but not the right to arbitrate is incompatible with modern labor law’s 13 encouragement of less disruptive methods of dispute resolution. The Supreme Court has 14 stated that “the Norris–LaGuardia Act does, indeed, indicate a congressional policy 15 toward settlement of labor disputes by arbitration, for it denies injunctive relief to any 16 person who has failed to make ‘every reasonable effort’ to settle the dispute by 17 negotiation, mediation, or ‘voluntary arbitration.’” Textile Workers Union v. Lincoln 18 Mills, 353 U.S. 448, 458 (1957) (emphasis added). The language of the Norris- 19 LaGuardia Act, and cases interpreting it, make clear that a dispute between a union and 20 employer over the enforceability of an agreement to arbitrate is a labor dispute as defined 21 by the Act and that an order staying arbitration is a type of injunctive relief barred by the 22 Act. 23 Next, the Court must confirm no statutory or judicial exception applies. A 24 statutory exception exists under sections 107, 108, and 109 if “substantial and irreparable 25 injury to complainant’s property will follow” if a stay is not granted and that the 26 complainant made “every reasonable effort to settle such dispute either by negotiation or 27 with the aid of any available governmental machinery of mediation or voluntary 28 arbitration.” 29 U.S.C. §§ 107–09. This standard is not met here. The risk of 4 20-cv-01006 W (DEB) Case 3:20-cv-01006-W-DEB Document 49 Filed 02/16/21 PageID.584 Page 5 of 5 1 unnecessarily undergoing arbitration proceedings does not constitute irreparable injury. 2 Camping Const., 915 F.2d at 1349. “[T]he general unavailability of injunctions against 3 labor arbitrations properly reflects the fact that parties reluctant to arbitrate are not, as a 4 general rule, unduly prejudiced by the deferral of federal jurisdiction.” Id. at 1348. Nor 5 did the Tribe make “every reasonable effort” to settle this dispute by negotiation or 6 voluntary arbitration. 7 There are three narrow judicial exceptions to the Act’s jurisdiction-removing 8 provisions. First, “it has long been settled that federal courts have jurisdiction, in spite of 9 the Norris–LaGuardia Act, to compel a recalcitrant employer to honor its agreement to 10 arbitrate.” Camping Const., 915 F.2d at 1343. Second, “when a union refuses to honor 11 its contractual commitment to arbitrate and instead calls a strike, a federal court may 12 grant a prohibitory injunction against the strike, as long as the dispute underlying the 13 strike is arbitrable.” Id. Third, “Norris–LaGuardia does not prevent courts from issuing 14 injunctions to enforce positive duties imposed by other federal labor statutes.” Id. at 15 1344. None of these exceptions exist here. The Norris–LaGuardia Act bars the Court 16 from issuing the stay the Tribe seeks. 17 18 III. CONCLUSION & ORDER 19 Based on the foregoing, the Tribe’s Amended Motion to Stay this Court’s order to 20 arbitrate is DENIED [Doc. 45]. The original motion is DENIED AS MOOT [Doc. 41]. 21 22 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: February 16, 2021 23 24 25 26 27 28 5 20-cv-01006 W (DEB)

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