Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams
United States Supreme Court
482 U.S. 386 (1987)
Between 1956 and 1968, Caterpillar Tractor Company (“Caterpillar”) (defendant) employed Williams and his colleagues (plaintiffs) in positions that fell under the company’s collective bargaining agreement. Over time, all of these employees were promoted to jobs that brought them outside of the coverage of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). While employed in positions outside of the CBA, Williams and his colleagues were assured repeatedly, both orally and in writing, that they would always have positions with Caterpillar even if the production facility they worked at closed. During the period between May of 1980 and January of 1984, Williams and his colleagues were demoted and brought under the CBA, though they were assured the changes were temporary. In December of 1983, their production facility was closed and Williams and his colleagues were laid off. They then filed a suit in California state court based solely on California state law. Caterpillar removed the case to the United States District Court, arguing that the suit fell under § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act due to the fact that Williams and his colleagues were covered by the CBA. The district court held that removal was proper, but the decision was reversed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Caterpillar appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Brennan, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 724,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 724,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 45,600 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.