UNITE HERE LOCAL 355 v. MULHALL

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
12-99
Petitioner 
Unite Here Local 355
Respondent 
Martin Mulhall, et al.
Decided By 
Advocates
(for the petitioners)
(Deputy Solicitor General, Department of Justice, for the United States as amicus curiae for the petitioners)
(for the respondents)
Term:
Facts of the Case 

On August 23, 2004, Unite Here Local 355 (UHL) entered an agreement with Mardi Gras Gaming (Mardi Gras), the owner of a casino and dog track in Florida. Under the terms of the agreement, UHL would pay for advertisements to support a gambling ballot initiative that Mardi Gras wanted to pass, and Mardi Gras would facilitate the union organizing Mardi Gras’ workers by providing the union with access to work premises, employee information, and neutrality toward the unionization of their employees. UHL also agreed not to strike, protest, picket or otherwise pressure the company's business.

Martin Mulhall, a Mardi Gras employee, sued both Mardi Gras, and UHL. He opposed the agreement and argued that it violates the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA), which prohibits an employer giving or a union receiving a “thing of value.” The district court dismissed the lawsuit for lack of standing, holding that Mulhall was not injured by UHL merely seeking to represent him. Mulhall appealed. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed and remanded. On remand, the district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. Mulhall appealed again and the Court of Appeals again reversed and remanded.

Question 

Does an agreement under which the employer promises to facilitate union organization of its employees, and the union promises not to picket, boycott, or otherwise put pressure on the employer’s business violate the Labor Management Relations Act?

Conclusion 

Split Vote

In a per curiam opinion, the Court dismissed the writ of certiorari as improvidently granted.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote a dissenting opinion in which he argued that, rather than dismissing the writ of certiorari as improvidently granted, the Court should have asked for briefs addressing issues antecedent to the one brought up by the case. The Court could then determine whether the case was moot because the contract expired in 2011 and whether Mulhall had Article III standing, as well as whether there is a private right of action in this case. Justice Breyer argued that it was important that the Court address the issues presented in this case because the outcome could negatively affect the collective bargaining process. Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan joined in the dissent.

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UNITE HERE LOCAL 355 v. MULHALL. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 23 September 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2013/2013_12_99>.
UNITE HERE LOCAL 355 v. MULHALL, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2013/2013_12_99 (last visited September 23, 2014).
"UNITE HERE LOCAL 355 v. MULHALL," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed September 23, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2013/2013_12_99.