The opinion of the court was delivered by: PARKER
Barrington D. Parker, Senior District Judge:
On June 22, 1986, plaintiff Esther Oliphant obtained an ex parte order from Judge Harold Greene, granting her leave to file a complaint under Title V of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 ("LMRDA" or "Act"), 29 U.S.C. § 501 et seq. (1982). Her complaint alleges breaches of fiduciary duties by union officers in violation of section 501(a) of the LMRDA, 29 U.S.C. § 501(a). The named defendants are certain officers of Local 25, Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union ("Local 25" or "Union"). Plaintiff Oliphant also sought an injunction restraining the defendants from installing the new Executive Board of the Union, recently elected in May 1986, until such time as the old Board, of which plaintiff is a member, could consider and act on plaintiff's allegations that fiduciary duties have been breached and her demand that the Union institute suit for appropriate relief.
Title V of the LMRDA gives an individual union member the right to sue officers or other representatives of the union for violations of their fiduciary duties. Prior to a member bringing such a suit in federal court, the union itself must refuse or fail to act against the officer. Leave to file suit must be granted by a district court "for good cause shown." 29 U.S.C. § 501(b). A prevailing plaintiff in such a suit may "recover damages or secure an accounting or other appropriate relief for the benefit of the labor organization." Id.
Plaintiff argues that an injunction preventing the installation of the newly elected officers of Local 25 is "other appropriate relief" in the special circumstances that this case presents. She contends that the injunction is necessary to permit the union the opportunity to decide whether to bring an action against the accused officers. The newly elected Executive Board, in her view, cannot fairly assess her allegations since it is dominated by the very officers who are accused of wrongdoing.
Defendants contend that a district court has no authority under Title V to issue an injunction interfering with the results of a union election. They rely heavily on another portion of the LMRDA, Title IV, which covers union election procedures.
A union member who believes that Title IV has been violated and exhausts union remedies without relief may file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor. 29 U.S.C. § 482(a). The Secretary must investigate that complaint and "if he finds probable cause to believe that a violation of [Title IV] has occurred . . . he shall . . . bring a civil action against the labor organization as an entity." 29 U.S.C. § 482(b). "The remedy provided by [Title IV] for challenging an election already conducted shall be exclusive." 29 U.S.C. § 483. Thus, the Secretary of Labor alone may bring suit to overturn an election that is alleged to violate Title IV. Wirtz v. Local 153, Glass Bottle Blowers Association, 389 U.S. 463, 473, 19 L. Ed. 2d 705, 88 S. Ct. 643 (1968); Shelley v. Brock, 793 F.2d 1368, slip op. at 1 (D.C. Cir. June 27, 1986). The Act also provides that "the challenged election shall be presumed valid pending a final decision thereon . . . and in the interim the affairs of the organization shall be conducted by the officers elected or in such other manner as its constitution and bylaws may provide." 29 U.S.C. § 482(a).
Violations of other provisions of the LMRDA sometimes influence union elections that are the primary concern of Title IV. In Local No. 82, Furniture and Piano Moving, Furniture Store Drivers, Helpers, Warehousemen and Packers v. Crowley, 467 U.S. 526, 81 L. Ed. 2d 457, 104 S. Ct. 2557 (1984), the Supreme Court dealt with the interaction of remedies available under Title IV and those permitted under Title I, 29 U.S.C. §§ 411-415.
The Court held that the language and legislative history of Title IV made inappropriate an injunction under Title I of an ongoing union election. The case would have been even clearer had the votes in the election already been tabulated and the winners announced: "The exclusivity provision included in § 403 plainly bars Title I relief when an individual union member challenges the validity of an election that has already been completed." Id. at 541.
It is true that plaintiff does not challenge the validity of the election, but wants only to briefly delay the winners from taking office. Still, the remedy she seeks, an injunction nullifying the installation of duly elected officers, is one reserved to actions under Title IV. It is the nature of relief requested that is the crucial factor under Crowley. See 467 U.S. at 543, 550.
The rationale of Crowley is equally applicable to Title V suits. When a union election has already been completed, a member's only avenue to challenge the results of that election is a complaint to the Secretary of Labor after the exhaustion of internal union remedies. Given the specificity and clarity of the statutory language of Title IV, there is no reason to believe that Congress intended the courts to interfere with the results of the election, even in the limited way that plaintiffs suggest here, in a case arising under Title V. Congress could have inserted a provision in Title V authorizing this type of injunctive relief. Nothing in the legislative history suggests that it ever considered doing so. See generally U.S. Dep't of Labor, Legislative History of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, at 841-1084 (1964).
The cases cited by plaintiff in support of her position that the Court has authority to grant the suggested injunctive relief are simply not on point. This Court in Cefalo v. Moffett, 333 F. Supp. 1283 (D.D.C.), aff'd in part, 146 U.S. App. D.C. 117, 449 F.2d 1193 (D.C. Cir. 1971), enjoined a union convention from voting on a proposed merger with another union while Title V charges were pending against its president.
Similar relief was granted in Fry v. Bingel, 116 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2165 (N.D. Cal. 1984), although the injunction was based on the plaintiffs' probability of success on their Title I claims, rather than their allegations under Title V. See id. at 2168. Neither of these decisions interfered with the results of elections regulated by Title IV. Indeed, the injunction in Fry tended to protect and further the will of union members as expressed in a recent election. See id. at 2166, 2168. The other cases relied on by plaintiff in her briefs are similarly, if not more, inapposite.
Section 501(b) comtemplates that unions should be given the opportunity to take action against officers accused of wrongdoing. For this reason, unions have been granted leave to intervene as plaintiffs in Title V proceedings after they have been commenced by a member. See O'Connor v. Freyman, 121 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2387, 2391 (D.D.C. 1985). Consideration by the union of a member's complaint, however, is not the "central provision of the entire statute." Plaintiff's Corrected Reply Memorandum at 3. In fact, Congress recognized that a complaint to the union itself will often be unavailing since the very officers accused of wrongdoing may be in control of the decision whether to file suit or take other action. Individual members are therefore permitted to bring suit in district court after making a request of the union. Full "exhaustion" is not required. Purcell v. Keane, 406 F.2d 1195 (3d Cir. 1969). While plaintiff, as a member of the old Board, might prefer that she have an opportunity to participate in the union's decision whether to take action against defendants and to debate directly with other members of the Board, she is not without remedy if instead the new Board considers and refuses to support her charges. Indeed, in granting plaintiff leave to file her own Title V complaint, Judge Greene found ...