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Knight v. International Longshoremen's Association

United States District Court, Third Circuit

September 27, 2013

EDWARD KNIGHT, CHARLES MILLER-BEY, EDDIE MCBRIDE, and LEONARD RILEY, JR., Plaintiffs,
v.
INTERNATIONAL LONGSHOREMEN'S ASSOCIATION, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM ORDER

LEONARD P. STARK, District Judge.

At Wilmington this 27th day of September, 2013:

Pending before the Court are motions filed by Plaintiffs Edward Knight, Charles Miller-Bey, Eddie McBride, and Leonard Riley, Jr. (collectively, "Plaintiffs") and, separately, by Defendant International Longshoremen's Association ("ILA" or "Defendant"). Specifically, the Court now considers: (1) Plaintiffs' Motion for Proceedings Against a Surety, Or in the Alternative, for an Order Requiring the ILA to Keep its Supersedeas Bond in Place (D.I. 230); (2) Defendant's Motion for Relief from Judgment Pursuant to FRCP 60(b)(5) (D.I. 235); and (3) Defendant's Motion for Leave to File Surreply Brief in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Proceedings Against a Surety or in the Alternative for an Order Requiring the ILA to Keep its Supersedeas Bond (D.I. 237).[1] In resolving these motions, the Court has also considered the parties' input provided in a joint status report. (D.I. 240)

For the reasons discussed below, the Court will deny Plaintiffs' Motion for Proceedings Against a Surety, deny Defendant's Motion for Relief from Judgment, and grant Defendant's Motion for Leave to File Surreply Brief. Defendant is ordered to pay Plaintiffs attorneys' fees, costs, and post-judgment interest (which the parties will be directed to calculate).

I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The factual background and history of this case leading up to the filing of the second appeal are summarized in the Memorandum Order of March 29, 2012. (D.I. 222 at 1-3)[2] The Court provides only limited background here.

On July 14, 2010, following a bench trial, the Court entered judgment in favor of Plaintiffs ("Final Judgment Order"), holding that ILA violated Knight's statutory due process rights by finding him guilty of something with which he had never been charged. (D.I. 186) However, the Court also denied Knight's request for punitive damages and limited his recovery to compensatory damages in the amount of $500 plus appropriate post-judgment interest. (D.I. 185 at 47) In August 2010, Plaintiffs filed an appeal (D.I. 193) and thereafter ILA filed a cross-appeal (D.I. 197). The appeals were stayed pending resolution of post-trial motions in this Court. (See, e.g., D.I. 195)

On March 29, 2012, this Court issued a Memorandum Order altering the Final Judgment Order of July 14, 2010 to increase the award to Plaintiffs from $500 to $1884. (D.I. 222 at 6, 13) On March 30, 2012, judgment was entered in favor of Plaintiffs in the amount of $295, 971.87, reflecting an award of attorneys' fees and costs. (D.I. 223)

Plaintiffs appealed this Court's denial of their claims for lost wages and punitive damages. (D.I. 233-2 at 3-4) Defendants appealed this Court's finding that Plaintiffs' due process rights under Title I of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 ("LMRDA"), 29 U.S.C. § 411, were violated. (D.I. 233-2 at 5) The Third Circuit heard oral argument on the appeals on December 10, 2012. (D.I. 233 at 1) On May 31, 2013, the Third Circuit reversed this Court's finding that Knight had not received sufficient notice of the conduct with which he was charged, i.e., his second due process claim. The Third Circuit remanded the case with instructions to vacate the associated award of damages. (D.I. 233 at 2) In all other respects, the Third Circuit affirmed this Court's judgment. ( Id. )

II. DISPOSITION OF PLAINTIFFS' CLAIMS

In order to resolve the pending motions, it is important to understand the disposition of each of Plaintiffs' claims. They are summarized below.

A. Free speech: Plaintiffs prevailed and obtained injunctive relief

Plaintiffs claimed that Article XXVII of the ILA constitution was overbroad and violated the free speech rights of union members protected under§ 101(a)(2) of the LMRDA. See Knight v. Int'l Longshoremen's Ass'n, 457 F.3d 331, 336 (3d Cir. 2006). This Court initially abstained from considering this claim. See id. On appeal, the Third Circuit stated: "Because Article XXVII can be construed and used to prohibit... innocuous references to the ILA, it is unreasonable on its face, " and remanded for further proceedings, to include ordering a narrowing revision of Article XXVII of the ILA constitution. Id. at 339. On remand, this Court ordered narrowing of Article XXVII of the ILA constitution so that it would only prevent ...


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