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Mosquera v. Solis

United States District Court, District of Columbia

February 19, 2013

Chris MOSQUERA, Plaintiff,
v.
Hilda SOLIS, in her official capacity as Secretary of Labor, Defendant.

Glenn M. Taubman, William L. Messenger, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Springfield, VA, for Plaintiff.

Kristina Ann Wolfe, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Washington, DC, for Defendant.

Page 112

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ROYCE C. LAMBERTH, Chief Judge.

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis (" the Secretary" ) has moved to dismiss plaintiff Chris Mosquera's complaint or alternatively for summary judgment. Def.'s Mot., ECF No. 10. The Court will GRANT the motion to dismiss.

I. BACKGROUND

On January 21, 2009, a final rule (the " January 2009 rule" or the " rescinded rule" ) was published requiring labor unions to disclose additional information in their financial reports filed annually with the Department of Labor pursuant to Section 208 of the Labor-Management Disclosure and Reporting Act of 1959 (" LMRDA" or " the Act" ), Pub.L. 86-257, 73 Stat. 529, 29 U.S.C. § 438. See 74 Fed.Reg. 3678 (Jan. 21, 2009). The rule was originally set to take effect on February 20, but that date was twice postponed: first to April; then to October. 74 Fed.Reg. 7814 (Feb. 20, 2009); 74 Fed.Reg. 18,132 (Apr. 21, 2009). Before it took effect, and after notice and comment rulemaking, the Secretary promulgated a rule relying on the same statutory authority rescinding the January 2009 rule. 74 Fed.Reg. 52,401-02.

Mr. Mosquera, a member of a labor union affected by the regulation, Compl. ¶ 4, asserts that the rescinding rule " exceed[ed the Secretary's] statutory authority under ... § 208 of the LMRDA," and is therefore unlawful under 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(C), which prohibits agency actions that are " in excess of statutory ... authority...." [1] See Compl. ¶¶ 11-12.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

The sole issue presented is whether the Secretary exceeded her statutory authority under the LMRDA by rescinding the January 2009 rule in violation of § 706(2)(C). The two-part inquiry of Chevron, U.S.A., Inc. v. NRDC, 467 U.S. 837, 104 S.Ct. 2778, 81 L.Ed.2d 694 (1984) governs the review of an agency's interpretation of its authority under a statute. First, the Court must determine " whether Congress has directly spoken to the precise question at issue." Id. at 842, 104 S.Ct. 2778. " If the intent of Congress is clear, that is the end of the matter; for the court, as well as the agency, must give effect to the unambiguously expressed intent of Congress." Id. at 842-43, 104 S.Ct. 2778. Second, if " the statute is silent or ambiguous with respect to the specific issue, the question for the court is whether the agency's answer is based on a permissible construction of the statute." Id. at 843, 104 S.Ct. 2778.

III. ANALYSIS

The LMRDA requires unions to file annual financial reports with the Secretary.

Page 113

See 29 U.S.C. § 431(b). Section 201(b) of the Act provides outlines for what information should be contained in these reports, and gives the Secretary authority to " prescribe" categories for disclosure. [2]Id. Section 208 of the Act provides the Secretary with authority to " issue, amend, and rescind rules ...


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