award ordered the reinstatement of a Northwest pilot charged with flying a Northwest commercial passenger flight while under the influence of alcohol. Northwest seeks an order of this Court setting aside the award on the grounds that the arbitration Board exceeded its jurisdiction, acted contrary to law, and "violate[d] public policy." Defendant Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), in turn, requests that the Court uphold the award and enforce the reinstatement order. ALPA contends that (1) the Board acted within the scope of its jurisdiction as defined under Section 204 of the Railway Labor Act, 45 U.S.C. § 184, and (2) the Northwest-ALPA collective bargaining agreement, and that both the Board's findings and conclusion are entitled to substantial deference upon review. ALPA further contends that the Board's decision is neither contrary to law nor inconsistent with traditional public policy concerns.
For the reasons set forth below, the Court concludes that summary judgment must be granted in favor of the plaintiff.
I. Factual Background
Both parties agree that the material facts are not in dispute. Plaintiff Northwest Airlines, Inc. is a commercial passenger airline with air carrier service to a variety of cities within the United States and abroad. Defendant ALPA, an unincorporated association, is a labor organization. ALPA has served in the past -- and currently still serves -- as the collective bargaining representative for all pilots employed by Northwest. Larry W. Morrison is a former Northwest pilot.
On Friday, July 30, 1982, Morrison served as the co-pilot of Northwest Flight 125. The flight originated in Minneapolis, Minnesota, stopped briefly in Spokane, Seattle, and San Francisco, and concluded its journey in Las Vegas, Nevada. The plane arrived in Las Vegas at approximately 7:00 p.m. on the evening of the 30th. Morrison's expected stay in Las Vegas was to be brief; the reverse flight of flight 125 -- flight 81 -- was scheduled to leave approximately 30 hours later, at 7:40 a.m. on August 1, with Morrison once again serving as co-pilot. Majority Opinion (Maj. Opin.), System Board of Adjustment at 3.
On his arrival in Las Vegas, Morrison ate a sandwich, drank a beer, and bought two pints of vodka. Id. At "around midnight" of the 30th, id., Morrison "chug-a-lugged" approximately 3/4 of a pint of vodka in his room at the Hilton Flamingo Hotel, DX 5 at 3-4, and then went to sleep. When he awoke at 8:00 a.m. the next morning he "chug-a-lugged" an additional quarter pint of vodka, Maj. Opin. at 3, and then went back to sleep.
Waking for the second time at 2:30 p.m. on the afternoon of the 30th, Morrison decided to sunbathe at the hotel pool. There Morrison ordered and drank two double vodkas. Id. That evening Morrison ate at an Italian restaurant and consumed a liter of wine. He returned to his hotel room around 10:00 p.m., "chug-a-lugged" approximately 3/4 of the second pint of vodka, and went to sleep. Id. at 4. Around 4:00 a.m. the next morning, less than four hours before the scheduled departure of Flight 81, Morrison awoke and finished the second bottle of vodka. Id.
At 6:30 a.m. the crew for Flight 81 gathered in the lobby of the Hilton Flamingo in preparation for the trip to the airport. Morrison did not appear. Second Officer Donald Allan called Morrison's room, spoke with Morrison, and reported to the rest of the crew that Morrison was sick, but would be right down. Soon thereafter Morrison paged John Dill, captain of Flight 81, from his hotel room and informed him that he (Morrison) was too ill to make the flight. Captain Dill immediately contacted Northwest's scheduling office to find a replacement for Morrison. Unable to locate a replacement, Northwest instructed Dill that if Morrison could not fly, the flight would have to be cancelled. Dill relayed this information to Morrison, and the latter agreed to make the flight -- provided that Dill would fly the San Francisco and Seattle legs and that a substitute first officer would be brought on in Seattle. Id. at 4.
Dill and Morrison travelled to the airport together, arriving well before flight time. The Northwest station agent at the airport noticed that Morrison did not look well, and reported his observations to Northwest General Manager Donald Nelson. Nelson attempted to prevent Flight 81 from taking off, but his order was received only after the plane was airborne. Nelson then contacted Northwest representatives in San Francisco and left orders for Morrison to be replaced when the plane touched down. Nelson also instructed Northwest personnel to take a blood sample from Morrison upon his arrival in San Francisco.
At approximately 9:00 a.m. on August 1, 1982, Flight 81 touched down safely in San Francisco. Morrison was immediately replaced as first officer and directed to submit to a blood test. After some hesitation and consultation with an ALPA representative, Morrison agreed to cooperate. The test was administered at 10:46 a.m. -- over two and one-half hours after Flight 81 had taken off from Las Vegas -- and revealed that Morrison had a blood alcohol level by weight and volume of 0.13%.
Northwest began an immediate investigation of the events leading up to the August 1, 1982 flight. At an August 6, 1982 Northwest hearing in Minneapolis, Morrison was questioned closely by company officials about past drinking habits and his activities during the Las Vegas layover. Morrison admitted that he had consumed substantial quantities of alcohol less than 24 hours before the departure of Flight 81, but insisted that his illness on the morning of August 1, 1982 was the result of a virus, not the drinking. Morrison confessed to Northwest officials that he had been "drinking straight from the bottle for some 10 years, sometimes consuming a pint of vodka on the 50-mile drive home, that he would drink heavily on the first days of the 3-day Orient layovers he asked for and preferred, that he had suspicions he might be an alcoholic, but never sought treatment because he knew he would be 'canned.'" Maj. Opin. at 6-7. Morrison also told Company officials that the Las Vegas layover was not the first time that he had violated the "24-hour rule."
After the hearing Northwest formerly discharged Morrison. The Company concluded, based on the evidence before it, that the discharge was justified because Morrison had violated the Company's 24-hour rule and had flown under the influence of alcohol while serving as a cockpit crew member:
Your dismissal is the result of your violation of Company rules and regulations prohibiting the consumption of alcoholic beverages within 24 hours of flight duty. On August 1, 1982, you were assigned to be an operating crew member of Flight 81 LAS-SFO. During the 24-hour period preceding the flight you consumed alcoholic beverages. This constituted just cause for your immediate discharge. Your misconduct was further aggravated in that you consumed sufficient quantities of alcohol so as to be under the influence of alcohol during the flight thereby jeopardizing the safety of the flight.
Id. at 8.
Both parties agreed to certain factual stipulations:
(1) Larry Morrison admits consuming alcohol in violation of the Company's '24-hour rule' on July 31, 1982 and the morning of August 1, 1982.