United States District Court, District of Columbia
E. BOASBERG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Eugene Hudson, former National Secretary-Treasurer for
Defendant American Federation of Government Employees,
challenges his removal from that office under two federal
statutes and D.C. contract law. This case has now wound its
way through three preliminary-injunction motions, a motion to
dismiss, and an amended complaint. In this iteration of the
litigation, AFGE again moves to dismiss. Finding that
Plaintiff has stated a facially plausible claim on all but
one count, the Court will largely deny the Motion.
facts of this case have been thoroughly detailed in several
prior Opinions. See Hudson v. Am. Fed. of Gov't
Empls., 292 F.Supp.3d 145, 149-52 (D.D.C. 2017)
(AFGE I), vacated, Jan. 12, 2018;
Hudson v. Am. Fed. of Gov't Empls., 289
F.Supp.3d 121, 123-25 (D.D.C. 2018) (AFGE II);
Hudson v. Am. Fed. of Gov't Empls., 2018 WL
1587473, at *1-3 (D.D.C. Apr. 2, 2018) (AFGE III).
The Court, accordingly, will only briefly describe the
factual and procedural background here.
a national labor organization representing over 1000 federal
and D.C. government employees. See ECF No. 36
(Amended Complaint), ¶ 2. The National Executive Council
(NEC) consists of three full-time national officers -
National President, National Secretary-Treasurer (NST), and
National Vice-President for Women and Fair Practices - and
National Vice-Presidents for each of the twelve AFGE
districts. Id., ¶ 3. Hudson was elected to two
consecutive three-year terms as NST beginning in 2012.
Id., ¶ 7. The Union will hold its triennial
convention in August 2018, where Convention delegates will
elect the national officers. Id., ¶ 8.
August 19, 2016, Hudson sent his assistant a letter declaring
his intent to run for national office at the upcoming
Convention -which was later forwarded to AFGE's General
Counsel - but he did not specify a particular position.
Id., Exh. 6 (Committee of Investigation File) at 10.
Three subsequent communications from Plaintiff to AFGE
members form the crux of the disagreement between the
AFGE-supplied mailing labels, he first sent a letter
announcing his still-unspecified candidacy to AFGE local
officers on August 26, and he followed that up with a
postcard to the same group of people in October using mailing
labels he purchased from AFGE. Id. at 7-8, 11, 13;
Amend. Compl., ¶¶ 22-23. In November, one week
after the American presidential election, Hudson directed an
AFGE staff member to send his third communication: an email
to a group of AFGE members detailing his views about the
incoming Trump administration. Id., ¶ 32. He
warned that the new administration would have a
“bull's eye planted on the backs of federal workers
and the unions that represent them” and questioned
whether AFGE was “ready for this assault.”
Id., ¶ 31.
one month later, on December 21, 2016, National
Vice-President Keith Hill filed an internal charge against
Plaintiff. Id., ¶ 39. Hill asserted that Hudson
had violated their Constitution by: (1) sending the August
2016 letter; (2) sending the October 2016 postcard; (3)
maintaining a public website containing Union information;
(4) directing his subordinate to send the November 15 email;
and (5) referring to an AFGE staff member as the
“Nigerian Nightmare” at a training. Id.
to Article 13 of the AFGE Constitution, a Committee of
Investigation was appointed on February 7, 2017, to consider
the charges. Out of the five charges, the COI recommended
that the NEC proceed only on the charge related to the
post-election email, “find[ing] probable cause exists
for the specific charge of malfeasance of office.”
Amend. Compl., Exh. 11 (COI Findings) at 1. Despite
Hudson's request that several NEC members be recused for
potential bias, the full NEC adopted the Committee's
report, deliberated, and found Hudson guilty of the referred
charge. Id., Exh. 15. It then voted to remove him
from his position as NST but did not restrict his Union
membership rights. Id., ¶ 55. Hudson has
appealed the ruling to the National Convention, which, as
noted, will take place this August. Id., ¶ 59.
then filed this suit, following his Complaint with a
preliminary-injunction motion. See ECF Nos. 1, 4.
After the Court granted the injunction on the ground of bias
and ordered him reinstated, the Union convened another COI to
reprocess the charges against Plaintiff without tainted
members. Before those proceedings had concluded, however,
Plaintiff withdrew the count upon which the Court had relied
in its injunction, leading it to vacate that Opinion and
Hudson's reinstatement. See Minute Order, Jan.
12, 2018. AFGE then filed a motion to dismiss, and Hudson
followed shortly after with another motion for preliminary
injunction. See ECF Nos. 21, 30. The Court largely
granted the former and then denied the latter as moot.
See AFGE II, 289 F.Supp.3d at 130-31; Minute Order,
Feb. 7, 2018.
internal Union machinery, meanwhile, plodded on. The second
COI found, in addition to the violations via the November
2016 email, probable cause existed that Hudson had
“violated AFGE Policy and Practice” in sending
the August 2016 letter, and it referred both of those charges
to the NEC. See COI File at 1. On February 6, 2018,
the NEC found that Hudson had violated the AFGE Constitution
in obtaining mailing labels for his August missive without
announcing his candidacy for a specific office. The NEC also
concluded that the November email was “campaign
literature[, ] as it was his third mass distribution in the
brief period following his” candidacy announcement.
See ECF No. 35-1 (NEC Decision). Because the
November email “focused on a political topic, ”
and he directed a Union staff member to distribute it
“on AFGE's email server and computer system at the
[U]nion's cost, ” the NEC determined that Hudson
had violated the AFGE Constitution and Department of Labor
regulations. Id. The Council then voted to suspend
him from office as NST for the rest of his term.
on this second removal, Hudson filed an Amended Complaint
with the Court's permission, and a third motion for
preliminary injunction, which the Court denied. See AFGE
III, 2018 WL ...