Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Danielson v. Inslee

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

December 26, 2019

Dale Danielson, a Washington State employee; Benjamin Rast, a Washington State employee; Tamara Roberson, a Washington State employee; as individuals, and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Jay Robert Inslee, in his official capacity as Governor of the State of Washington; David Schumacher, in his official capacity as Director of Washington State Office of Financial Management; American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 28, AFL-CIO, a labor organization, Defendants-Appellees.

          Argued and Submitted November 6, 2019 Seattle, Washington

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, No. 3:18-cv-05206-RJB Robert J. Bryan, District Judge, Presiding

          Jonathan F. Mitchell (argued), Mitchell Law PLLC, Austin, Texas; Talcott J. Franklin, Talcott Franklin PC, Dallas, Texas; Eric Stahlfeld, Freedom Foundation, Olympia, Washington; Christopher Hellmich, Hellmich Law Group P.C., Anaheim Hills, California; for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

          P. Casey Pitts (argued), Scott Kronland, and Matthew J. Murray, Altshuler Berzon LLP, San Francisco, California; Edward E. Younglove III, Younglove & Coker P.L.L.C., Olympia, Washington; for Defendants-Appellees.

          Before: Ronald M. Gould and Jacqueline H. Nguyen, Circuit Judges, and Gregory A. Presnell, [*] District Judge.

         SUMMARY [**]

         Civil Rights

         The panel affirmed the district court's dismissal of a claim for monetary relief bought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by public sector employees against their union following the Supreme Court's decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, & Municipal Employees, Council 31, 138 S.Ct. 2448 (2018), which held that the compulsory collection of agency fees by unions violates the First Amendment.

         Prior to the Supreme Court's decision in Janus, public sector unions around the country relied on the Supreme Court's decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209 (1977), which held that the unions could collect compulsory agency fees from nonmembers to finance their collective bargaining activities, without running afoul of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. State laws and regulations further entrenched the union agency shop into the local legal framework. In 2018, the Supreme Court uprooted its precedent by overturning Abood. Immediately thereafter, the defendant Union stopped collecting mandatory fees from nonmembers. Plaintiffs subsequently brought suit seeking, among other things, a refund of all agency fees that were allegedly unlawfully collected from plaintiffs prior to the Supreme Court's decision in Janus.

         Joining the Seventh Circuit, the panel held that private parties may invoke an affirmative defense of good faith to retrospective monetary liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, where they acted in direct reliance on then-binding Supreme Court precedent and presumptively-valid state law. See Janus v. Am. Fed'n of State, Cty. & Mun. Emps., Council 31, 942 F.3d 352 (7th Cir. 2019) ("Janus II"); Mooney v. Ill. Educ. Ass'n, 942 F.3d 368 (7th Cir. 2019). The panel held that the good faith affirmative defense applied as a matter of law, and the district court was right to dismiss plaintiffs' claim for monetary relief.

          OPINION

          NGUYEN, CIRCUIT JUDGE

         "Stare decisis-in English, the idea that today's Court should stand by yesterday's decisions-is 'a foundation stone of the rule of law.'" Kimble v. Marvel Entm't, LLC, 135 S.Ct. 2401, 2409 (2015) (quoting Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Cmty., 572 U.S. 782, 798 (2014)). But on rare occasion, even longstanding precedent can be overruled. What happens when the Supreme Court reverses course, but private parties have already acted in reliance on longstanding bedrock precedent?

         This question lies at the center of this appeal. For over 40 years, public sector unions around the country relied on the Supreme Court's decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209 (1977), which held that the unions could collect compulsory agency fees from nonmembers to finance their collective bargaining activities, without running afoul of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. State laws and regulations further entrenched the union agency shop into the local legal framework. But in 2018, the Supreme Court uprooted its precedent by overturning Abood. In Janus v. American Federation of State, County, & Municipal Employees, Council 31, 138 S.Ct. 2448 (2018), the Supreme Court held that unions' compulsory collection of agency fees violated the Constitution.

         Many public sector unions, including the defendant union here, immediately stopped collecting agency fees. But uncertainty remained as to whether they would be monetarily liable for their pre-Janus conduct-conduct that was once explicitly authorized under Abood and state law.

         Throughout the country, public sector employees brought claims for monetary relief against the unions pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Many unions asserted a good faith defense in response. Joining a growing consensus, the district court here ruled in favor of the union. We affirm and hold that private parties may invoke an affirmative defense of good faith to retrospective monetary liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, where they acted in direct reliance on then-binding Supreme Court precedent and presumptively-valid state law.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         A. Factual Background

         Plaintiffs are Washington state employees who work within bargaining units exclusively represented by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 28, AFL-CIO (the "Union"). Plaintiffs are not members of the Union and object to financing its activities. Nonetheless, until recently, they were required to pay agency fees to the Union. Collection of agency fees from nonmembers was authorized by the governing collective bargaining agreement, by Washington law, and by over four decades of U.S. Supreme Court precedent dating back to Abood.

         On June 27, 2018, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Janus, reversing course on the constitutionality of the traditional agency shop regime. Janus overruled Abood and held that the mandatory collection of agency fees from objectors violated the First Amendment. 138 S.Ct. at 2486. It is undisputed that, immediately thereafter, the Union stopped collecting mandatory fees from nonmembers.

         B. Procedural Background

         On March 15, 2018, Plaintiffs brought a putative class action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Jay Inslee, in his official capacity as Governor of Washington; David Schumacher, in his official capacity as Director of the Washington Office of Financial Management; and the Union. In anticipation of the Supreme Court's decision in Janus, Plaintiffs alleged that the imposition of compulsory agency fees violated their constitutional rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. They sought declaratory and injunctive relief, a refund of "all ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.