28, 1961, Mr. Walker and Mr. Evans of the Seattle Office of the Bureau of Labor-Management Reports, Department of Labor (hereinafter referred to as the 'Bureau'), told Maxwell H. Elliott, an attorney for Harvey Aluminum, that 'any further questions regarding the report to be filed by Harvey should be taken up with the Los Angeles office of their Bureau, since the Harvey report was to be filed in that office.' (Affidavits of Andrew B. Cronkrite, April 26, 1963, and Maxwell H. Elliott, April 26, 1963). (Emphasis added.) Another uncontradicted affidavit states that during April and May, 1961, Mr. Ronald Wanke of the Los Angeles Area Office of the Bureau advised the same Mr. Elliott during conversations about filing a report 'that if a report were required to be filed by the Company, it should be filed in the Los Angeles Area Office.' (Affidavit of Maxwell H. Elliott, January 11, 1963.) (Emphasis added.) Then on May 31, 1961, Fred T. Ragsdale, Area Director of the Bureau, in Los Angeles, wrote to the president of Harvey Aluminum, stating:
'Appropriate forms have been furnished to Mr. Elliott for the filing of the Employer Report. The report is expected by the Bureau of Labor-Management Reports within a reasonable time and should be mailed directly to this office.' (Emphasis added.)
Subsequently, on April 6, 1962, Mr. Elliott delivered a completed form to Mr. Ragsdale at the Los Angeles Area Office, and on the same date Mr. Ragsdale signed and delivered to Mr. Elliott a letter acknowledging receipt of a letter 'from Maxwell H. Elliott, Attorney, Of Counsel, for Harvey Aluminum (Incorporated), submitting and filing a report of Harvey Aluminum (Incorporatec) completed on * * * Employer Report Form No. LM-10.' (Annex C.) (Emphasis added.) Later, Harvey Aluminum was given notice that this report was not sufficient, because it was not signed by the president of the company. This was after receipt of the report had been acknowledged by the Washington office of the Bureau.
In the case of Cascade, an uncontradicted affidavit of Mr. Alfred P. Blair, Cascade's executive secretary, states that as late as February 25, 1963, Mr. Pheiffer, the Bureau's representative located in Seattle, Washington, advised him that when Labor Department representatives request that a report be filed, it should be filed locally in either Portland, Oregon, or in Seattle, Washington.
In response to these affidavits, the Secretary has submitted an affidavit by Mr. John L. Holcombe, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor-Management Reports, Washington, D.C. This affidavit points out that regulations promulgated by the Secretary as General Order No. 102 require that reports be filed 'with the Commissioner, Bureau of Labor-Management Reports, United States Department of Labor, Washington 25, D.C.' 29 C.F.R. 405, pp. 4319-20. The affidavit also points out that the actual form to be used for reporting states that it 'must be filed with the Bureau of Labor-Management Reports, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington 25, D.C.'
Defendants argue from the above facts that the Secretary must be deemed to have sanctioned local filing in these two cases, even though in general filing takes place in the District of Columbia. The Secretary answers that to the extent that the local agents spoke in terms of local 'filing,' they exceeded their authority, and argues that the Government is 'neither bound nor estopped by the acts of (its) officers and agents in entering into an agreement or arrangement to do or cause to be done what the law does not sanction or permit.'
However valid such principle may be, it does not apply to the instant case. What the local agents actually did in these cases, in fact, was fully within the scope of their authority, as demonstrated by Mr. Holcombe's affidavit, which states:
'That as an important part of the function of this Bureau to promote an understanding of and compliance with the provisions of the Act, all the Area Directors and subordinate officials of this Bureau have been directed and instructed to furnish any interested person with information relating to provisions of the Act, and to render technical assistance to any person required to file a report under the Act, including assistance in the completing of Employer Report Form LM-10 * * *, and * * * to receive at their respective Area offices such reports as may have been completed by persons submitting the same, to review such reports for technical sufficiency and correctness of detail, and by way of accommodation and courtesy, then to transmit such report forms to Washington, D.C. * * *.'
Clearly, therefore, the actions of the local agents were factually within the scope of their authority. The only issue is whether receipt by them of the reports did constitute, or would have constituted, 'filing,' or to reserve that word for the receipt of the report in Washington, D.C. A word like 'filing' can mean different things in different contexts. Simply because the Secretary's regulations state that reports are to be 'filed' in Washington, D.C., for purposes of recording, processing, and analyzing of such reports (as set forth in Mr. Holcombe's affidavit), it does not necessarily follow that reports could not be 'filed' locally for purposes of venue. Thus even assuming arguendo that the violation must be deemed to have 'occurred' at the place where the report should have been 'filed,' this Court has concluded that the Secretary, by authorizing the local agents to receive such reports, has, in law, authorized local filing in these two cases -- at least for purposes of venue. Such a result is consistent with both the language and policy of Congress.
The above account of the activities of the local agents really serves to demonstrate the great amount of Government activity on a local level which the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act has necessitated. There is thus no undue burden upon the Government to require that suits seeking compliance with the filing requirements also be at the local level. This is what the Congress, in 29 U.S.C. § 440, supra, has provided.
The motions to dismiss upon the ground that venue does not lie in the District of Columbia will therefore be granted.