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Case Name Knox v. Westly EE-CA-0332
Docket / Court 2:05-cv-02198-MCE-KJM ( E.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On November 1, 2005, non-union employees who paid compulsory union fees, filed this class-action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against the California State Employees Association (CSEA) in the Eastern District of California. The plaintiffs, represented by the National Right to Work Legal Defense ... read more >
On November 1, 2005, non-union employees who paid compulsory union fees, filed this class-action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against the California State Employees Association (CSEA) in the Eastern District of California. The plaintiffs, represented by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and private counsel, sought immediate injunctive and declaratory relief, and damages, claiming that the defendant violated public employees' rights, privileges, and immunities under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendant violated the constitutional safeguards compelled by Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson, 475 U.S. 292 (1986) by failing to properly notify employees of a temporary dues increase to fund political activities through the “Emergency Temporary Assessment to Build a Political Fight Back Fund.”

On November 2, 2005, the plaintiffs filed a motion to set a date for a preliminary injunction hearing and for a temporary restraining order to stop the defendant from taking money from the plaintiffs' fees for political use and to place that money into a separate escrow account. Judge Morrison C. England granted the plaintiffs' motion for the temporary restraining order on November 8, 2005, recognizing that the plaintiffs would suffer irreparable harm if the restraining order was not granted, and granted a hearing on their motion for preliminary injunction. 2005 WL 3031622. Because Judge England granted the temporary restraining order, he denied further relief through a preliminary injunction on November 8, 2005. 2005 WL 3031622.

On October 31, 2006, Judge England granted the plaintiffs' class certification request, deeming the plaintiffs adequate representation of the class. The certified class consisted of individuals who pay compulsory fees to CSEA who are not members and who have, at one time or another, specifically objected to the use of their agency fees for politics or other non-bargaining activities. The plaintiffs represented two classes of nonunion employees: those who objected to the Union's notification to deduct money for non-bargaining purposes and those who did not.

On February 12, 2007, Judge England denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment filed on September 29, 2006 on the grounds that CSEA’s evidence of its notification and procedure of using the non-members fees for political purposes did not meet the constitutional safeguards laid out by Hudson, and therefore did not warrant judgment as a matter of law. 2007 WL 516263.

The plaintiffs’ filed a motion for summary judgment on July 13, 2007, arguing that the evidence proved the defendant failed to comply with the constitutional standards of Hudson. The defendant filed a motion for partial summary judgment on July 17, 2007, alleging that the class of plaintiffs who did not object to the use of their money for political purposes should be precluded from bringing suit because they failed to make a timely objection to the defendant’s notice of this procedure, which constituted, as a matter of law, their consent to the procedure.

Judge England denied the defendant’s partial motion for summary judgment as to the non-objector class, but granted the plaintiffs’ summary judgment motion on March 27, 2008. Judge England stated that the first notice the defendant’s referred to could not possibly have supplied the essential information with which nonmembers could make an informed choice of whether or not to object to the deduction. The Union was ordered to issue a proper notice as to the deductions for political purposes, with a renewed opportunity for nonmembers to object to paying the non-chargeable portion of the fee and to issue appropriate refund with interest. Judge England ordered this second notice not because the first notice could not conceivably cover any assessment or dues increase, but because the actual notice in this case was inadequate to provide the essential information regarding the specific deduction for political purposes. 2005 WL 3031622.

The defendant submitted its amended notice of appeal of the District Court’s denial of summary adjudication as to the class of non-objectors on August 26, 2008. The Ninth Circuit (David R. Thompson, Sidney R. Thomas, Clifford Wallace) reversed the District Court’s ruling on the motions for summary judgment on December 10, 2010, concluding that the union’s notification complied with the Hudson procedural requirements. 628 F.3d 1115.

Back in District Court, on February 15, 2011 Judge England ordered, in accordance with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, the denial of the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, reversal and denial of the defendant’s partial motion for summary judgment, the granting of the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, and the reversal of the award of nominal damages to the plaintiff.

However, the plaintiffs appealed the Ninth Circuit decision and the Supreme Court granted certiorari on June 27, 2011. Writing for the majority, Justice Alito reversed the Ninth Circuit decision and remanded the case back to the Ninth Circuit on June 21, 2012. Justice Alito held that Hudson requires that any fee-collection procedure be tailored to minimize the infringement on First Amendment rights and the defendant in this case failed to meet this standard. The notice was insufficient and charging nonmembers fees to be used for “electoral purposes,” even if they would be paid back had they chosen to opt out after the relevant period, was a violation of the First Amendment. 567 U.S. 298.

On remand, the Ninth Circuit vacated the District Court opinion and remanded the case back to the District Court for further proceedings.

On December 4, 2012 the district court entered judgment for the plaintiffs and ordered the defendant to refund the plaintiffs all money extracted from the assessment period with interest, as well as pay nominal damages in the amount of one dollar within 120 days of the order. The defendant was required to check in with the court every thirty days to update on its progress.

The plaintiffs’ moved for attorney’s fees on January 2, 2013, which Judge England granted on June 5, 2013. The plaintiffs were awarded $ 1,201,176.00 in attorney’s fees and $15,412.93 in expenses. A supplemental motion for attorney’s fees was denied by Judge England on April 16, 2014. The case is now closed.

Jenna Chai - 06/14/2010
Mackenzie Walz - 11/17/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Post/Distribute Notice of Rights / EE Law
Preliminary relief granted
General
Records Disclosure
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) California State Employees Association, Local 1000, Service Employees International Union, AFL-CIO-CLC
Plaintiff Description Employees who pay compulsory fees to the CSEA and other unions, who are not members and who have, at one time or another, specifically objected to the use of their agency fees for politics or other non-bargaining activities.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Case Closing Year 2014
Case Ongoing No
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Docket(s)
08-16645 (U.S. Court of Appeals)
EE-CA-0332-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/06/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
2:05−cv−02198 (E.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0332-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/07/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Plaintiff's Verified Class Action Complaint (2005 WL 3630721)
EE-CA-0332-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/01/2005
Source: Westlaw
Plaintiff's Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Their Ex Parte Application for a Temporary Restraining Order and/or a Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 6] (2005 WL 3242334)
EE-CA-0332-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/02/2005
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction (2005 WL 3242336)
EE-CA-0332-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/04/2005
Source: Westlaw
SEIU, Local 1000's Notice of Motion and Motion to Dismiss and for Partial Summary Judgment [ECF# 38]
EE-CA-0332-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/17/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of SEIU, Local 1000's Motion to Dismiss and for Partial Summary Judgment [ECF# 39] (2006 WL 821846)
EE-CA-0332-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/17/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Corrected Second Revised Notice of Motion & Renewed Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 62]
EE-CA-0332-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/22/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
SEIU, Local 1000's Notice of Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 63]
EE-CA-0332-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/28/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 81] (2006 WL 3147683) (E.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0332-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/31/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order Denying CSEA's Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 92] (2007 WL 516263) (E.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0332-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/12/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Amended Notice of Motion for Summary Judgment and/or Summary Adjudication [ECF# 102]
EE-CA-0332-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/17/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 139] (2008 WL 850128) (E.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0332-0011.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 03/27/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Unopposed Motions for Partial Reconsideration and/or for Relief from Judgment and to Stay Briefing and Consideration of an Award of Attorneys' Fees and Costs Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988 Pending Appeal [ECF# 141] (2008 WL 2314406)
EE-CA-0332-0014.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/04/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation of All Parties for Stay Pending Appeal; Order Thereon [ECF# 144] (E.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0332-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/17/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendent SEIU Local 1000's Amended Notice of Appeal [ECF# 161]
EE-CA-0332-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/26/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion (628 F.3d 1115)
EE-CA-0332-0019.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/10/2010
Source: Google Scholar
Order and Opinion (132 S.Ct. 2277)
EE-CA-0332-0020.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/21/2012
Source: Google Scholar
Order [ECF# 190] (E.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0332-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/04/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 216] (2013 WL 2434606) (E.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0332-0017.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/05/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 228] (2014 WL 1513892) (E.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0332-0018.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/16/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Alito, Samuel A. Jr. (Third Circuit, SCOTUS)
EE-CA-0332-0020
England, Morrison C. Jr. (E.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0332-0009 | EE-CA-0332-0010 | EE-CA-0332-0011 | EE-CA-0332-0015 | EE-CA-0332-0016 | EE-CA-0332-0017 | EE-CA-0332-0018 | EE-CA-0332-9000
Mueller, Kimberly Jo (E.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
EE-CA-0332-9000
Thomas, Sidney Runyan (Ninth Circuit)
EE-CA-0332-0019
Plaintiff's Lawyers Burlingham, Steven R. (California)
EE-CA-0332-0002 | EE-CA-0332-0004 | EE-CA-0332-0012 | EE-CA-0332-0013 | EE-CA-0332-0014 | EE-CA-0332-0015 | EE-CA-0332-9000
Young, W. James (Virginia)
EE-CA-0332-0002 | EE-CA-0332-0004 | EE-CA-0332-0012 | EE-CA-0332-0013 | EE-CA-0332-0014 | EE-CA-0332-0015 | EE-CA-0332-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Berzon, Stephen P. (California)
EE-CA-0332-0005 | EE-CA-0332-0006 | EE-CA-0332-0007 | EE-CA-0332-0008
Demain, Jeffrey B. (California)
EE-CA-0332-0001 | EE-CA-0332-0005 | EE-CA-0332-0006 | EE-CA-0332-0007 | EE-CA-0332-0008 | EE-CA-0332-0015 | EE-CA-0332-9000
Thoreen, Peder J. (California)
EE-CA-0332-0001 | EE-CA-0332-0005 | EE-CA-0332-0006 | EE-CA-0332-0007 | EE-CA-0332-0008 | EE-CA-0332-0015 | EE-CA-0332-9000
Weissglass, Jonathan (California)
EE-CA-0332-0008
Woods, Douglas J. (California)
EE-CA-0332-9000

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