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Idaho Building and Construction Trades v. Lawrence G. Wasden

May 1, 2013

IDAHO BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL, AFL-CIO, AND SOUTHWEST IDAHO BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL, AFL-CIO,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
LAWRENCE G. WASDEN, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE STATE OF IDAHO, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: B. Lynn Winmill Chief Judge United States District Court

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

The Court has before it a motion for an indicative ruling under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62.1 filed by Plaintiffs Idaho Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO and the Southwest Idaho Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO (Dkt. 88). Order, Dkt. 67. The Trades Councils seek an indicative ruling either that Tim Mason, in his capacity as Administrator, Division of Public Works, Idaho Department of Administration, may be joined as additional defendant under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 21, or find that such a motion raises substantial issues. For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that a motion to join Mason as a defendant would raise substantial issues.

BACKGROUND

On December 22, 2011, this Court held that the National Labor Relations Act preempts the 2011 Idaho Open Access to Work Act, Idaho Code§ 44-2013, and the Fairness in Contracting Act, Idaho Code§ 44-2012, and accordingly enjoined enforcement of those two laws. As a threshold matter, the Court rejected Wasden's argument that he was not a proper defendant under the Ex Parte Young doctrine, and that the Trades Councils lacked Article III standing because there was no injury-in-fact. This Court found that the Court had proper jurisdiction under the doctrine of Ex Parte Young over Wasden and that the Trades Councils had standing because the Attorney General had a causal connection to the enforcement of the Right-to-Work Act. Order, Dkt. 67.

Wasden appealed to the Ninth Circuit, and his appeal is currently pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as Case No. 12-35051. In the meantime, the Idaho Legislature amended section 44-2007, Idaho Code, excluding from its enforcement provisions both the Open Access Act and the Fairness in Contracting Act, but otherwise leaving intact the substantive provisions of those statutes and the bases for the Trades Councils' challenge.

In his opening brief to the Ninth Circuit, Wasden argues, in part, that the Idaho Legislature's 2012 amendments to the statutes at issue removed jurisdiction over Wasden under the Ex Parte Young doctrine, thereby mooting the cause of action. Def.'s Resp. at 2-3, Dkt. 92. In response to the statutory amendments and the Wasden's argument, the Trades Councils now seek an indicative ruling allowing them to join Mason as a defendant to ensure that the full appeal can proceed. Pls.' Brief at 4,8, Dkt. 88-1.

In opposition to the present motion, Attorney General Wasden argues: (1) the Trades Councils' Rule 62.1 motion does not satisfy any subparagraph of Rule 60(b), which he claims is "the threshold predicate for [the Trades Councils'] motion to join Administrator Mason as a defendant" Def. Resp. at 5, Dkt. 92; and (2) Mason is not a proper defendant because the Trades Councils cannot establish that his actions in his official capacity will cause them injury-in-fact and, therefore, their claim "founders on standing and ripeness shoals." Id. at 9-18.

ANALYSIS

1.Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62.1

"The filing of a notice of appeal is an event of jurisdictional significance-it confers jurisdiction on the court of appeals and divests the district court of its control over those aspects of the case involved in the appeal." Griggs v. Provident Consumer Discount Co., 459 U.S. 56, 58 (1982). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62.1 offers district courts several options for action when "a timely motion is made for relief that the court lacks authority to grant because of an appeal that has been docketed and is pending." Fed R. Civ. P. 62.1. Under Rule. 62.1(a), a district court may defer consideration of or deny the motion, or it may indicate that it would grant the motion if the court of appeals remands for that purpose, or that the motion raises a substantial issue. Id. at 62.1(a). Rule 62.1 operates in conjunction with Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 12.1, which provides that if the district court, pursuant to Rule 62.1(a)(3), states that it would either grant the motion on remand or that the motion raises a substantial issue, the movant must notify the circuit clerk. Fed. R.App. P. 12.1.

2. Motion to Add a Defendant

The Trades Council is asking this Court to consider whether it would allow the addition of a new defendant, specifically Tim Mason in his capacity as Administrator, Division of Public Works, Idaho Department of Administration. Pls.' Brief at 2, Dkt. 88-1. The Trades Councils seek to join Mason pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 21.

Rule 21 provides that "[p]arties may be dropped or added by order of the court on motion of any party or of its own initiative at any stage of the action and on such terms as are just." Fed.R.Civ.P. 21. Courts have long relied on Rule 21 to both dismiss and add parties in order to maintain a justiciable case. Newman-Green, Inc. v. Alfonzo-Larrain, 490 U.S. 826, 833 (1989). Resort to Rule 21 is appropriate where "requiring dismissal after years of litigation ...


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