United States District Court, District of Columbia
E. BOASBERG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
latest iteration of Plaintiff Eugene Hudson's dispute
with his union - Defendant Local 1923 of parent and
co-Defendant American Federation of Government Employees -
concerns his candidacy in the upcoming election for President
of the Local. Hudson seeks a preliminary injunction to
require the Local to reinstate him as a member in good
standing so that he may compete in the election. Although
Defendant Department of Labor, which is supervising the
election, has already certified that his candidacy is viable,
Plaintiff asks the Court to intervene. While there are
multiple reasons why Hudson cannot prevail in his Motion
here, two are that the Court lacks jurisdiction to decide his
underlying claim under the Labor-Management Reporting and
Disclosure Act and that Hudson has not established
Court has issued multiple Opinions in the several cases
Hudson has filed relating to his long-running series of
disputes with AFGE and Local 1923, and those Opinions fill in
the background to the current controversy. See,
e.g., Hudson v. Am. Fed. of Gov't
Employees, 2019 WL 3533602, at *1-2 (D.D.C. Aug. 2,
2019); Hudson v. Am. Fed. of Gov't Employees,
289 F.Supp.3d 121, 123-25 (D.D.C. 2018). The Court will not
retread this ground but will instead focus only on the facts
relevant to the instant Motion. Hudson initiated this action
in September of this year, see ECF No. 1, and the
current operative Complaint is the “Corrected Amended
Complaint.” See ECF No. 25; see also
Minute Order of Oct. 31, 2019 (“The operative Complaint
is thus the so-called Corrected Amended Complaint.”).
That pleading sets out eight counts, which are somewhat
jumbled in their conflation of violations of the LMRDA, Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and 42 U.S.C. §
1981. See Corrected Amended Complaint, Counts I-II,
focus in the latest Motion for Preliminary Injunction is
fortunately of reasonably narrow scope: “Plaintiff,
Eugene Hudson, Jr.[, ] asks this Court to order the
Defendants AFGE National and AFGE Local 1923 to reinstate him
as a member in good standing retroactive to the April 2019
date that his membership was unlawfully dropped with no break
in membership and to accept his dues payment for September
2019 through September 2020 which the local recently
returned.” ECF No. 44 (Pl. Second Motion for PI) at 2.
The source of such request is the LMRDA. Id. The
reason why this is so important for Hudson is that only
members in good standing are eligible to run for office, and
he seeks the Presidency of the Local in the election that
goes forward later this month. See Cor. Am. Compl.,
¶¶ 95-98; see also ECF No. 60 (Notice
Regarding Membership Meetings) at 2 (election to conclude on
December 18, 2019).
preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy never
awarded as of right.” Winter v. NRDC, 555 U.S.
7, 24 (2008). A party seeking preliminary relief must make a
“clear showing that four factors, taken together,
warrant relief: likely success on the merits, likely
irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, a
balance of the equities in its favor, and accord with the
public interest.” League of Women Voters of U.S. v.
Newby, 838 F.3d 1, 6 (D.C. Cir. 2016) (quoting
Pursuing America's Greatness v. FEC, 831 F.3d
500, 505 (D.C. Cir. 2016)).
the Supreme Court's decision in Winter, courts
weighed these factors on a “sliding scale, ”
allowing “an unusually strong showing on one of the
factors” to overcome a weaker showing on another.
Davis v. PBGC, 571 F.3d 1288, 1291-92 (D.C. Cir.
2009) (quoting Davenport v. Int'l Bhd. of
Teamsters, 166 F.3d 356, 361 (D.C. Cir. 1999)). Both
before and after Winter, however, one thing is
clear: a failure to show a likelihood of success on the
merits alone is sufficient to defeat the motion. Ark.
Dairy Coop. Ass'n, Inc. v. USDA, 573 F.3d 815, 832
(D.C. Cir. 2009) (citing Apotex, Inc. v. FDA, 449
F.3d 1249, 1253-54 (D.C. Cir. 2006)); Archdiocese of
Wash. v. Wash. Metro. Area Transit Auth., 2017 WL
6314142, at *5 (D.D.C. Dec. 8, 2017).
opposing Plaintiff's Motion here, the various Defendants
offer a congeries of reasons why Hudson should not prevail.
Given that the election is quickly approaching and an
expedited Opinion benefits all parties, the Court will not
treat all of these points. It instead separately focuses on
the jurisdictional underpinning of Plaintiff's central
claim - which relates to his likelihood of success - and the
harm he believes that he is currently suffering.
Likelihood of Success
Motion never lays out the standards for a preliminary
injunction nor explains why he is likely to succeed on the
merits of his suit. The Court nonetheless discerns from his
operative Complaint and his briefs that the central claim
that relates to Hudson's membership derives from the
LMRDA. That Act provides that all union members shall have
equal rights and privileges to vote and participate in
elections, to express their views freely, and to be free from
improper discipline. See 29 U.S.C. § 411(a)(1),
(2), (5), cited in Cor. Am. Compl. at Counts I- II,
V-VII. Hudson, accordingly, contends that he cannot be denied
his membership rights.
difficulty here, however, is that this Court has no
jurisdiction under the LMRDA to adjudicate such disputes.
See Popkin v. Burwell, 172 F.Supp.3d 161, 168
(D.D.C. 2016) (“[A] plaintiff cannot show any
likelihood of success on the merits if a court lacks subject
matter jurisdiction.”). As Labor points out, the LMRDA
“is applicable only to labor organizations composed, in
whole or in part, of private sector
employees.” ECF No. 53 (DOL Opp. to PI) at 9 (citing 29
CFR §§ 452.11-12). Indeed, the Act explicitly
excludes from the definition of “[e]mployer”
“the United States or any corporation wholly owned by
the Government of the United States or any State or Political
subdivision thereof.” 29 U.S.C. § 402(e); see
also Wildberger v. Am. Fed. of Gov't Employees, 86
F.3d 1188, 1192 (D.C. Cir. 1996) (§ 402(e)
“specifically excludes federal, state and local
governments”); Berardi v. Swanson Mem'l Lodge
No. 48, 920 F.2d 198, 201 (3d Cir. 1990) (Alito, J.)
(“The term ‘employer' is defined to exclude
‘any State or political subdivision thereof,' as
well as the federal government and federal entities.”)
(citing 29 U.S.C. § 402(e)).
1923, Defendants maintain, “represents only federal
employees employed by, among other federal entities, the
[Social Security Administration].” DOL Opp. to PI at 9.
This is the proposition with which Plaintiff takes issue,
arguing in his Reply that “Local 1923 [also] represents
employees of the Metropolitan Washington Airports
Authority” and that courts have found that the MWAA is
not a federal entity. See ECF No. 55 (Pl. Reply) at
4. The Court, consequently, instructed Local 1923 at ...