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O’Brien v. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
443 F.Supp. 1182 (1977)


Facts

O’Brien (plaintiff) distributed information that was allegedly detrimental to his union, Local 613, an affiliate of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) (defendants). O’Brien was charged with violating the IBEW constitution, and, in previous proceedings, he was found guilty, suspended, and fined by the defendants. Subsequently, O’Brien brought this action against the defendants, alleging that the charges, trials, and disciplinary measures violated his rights of free speech and assembly under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA). During discovery, O’Brien served the defendants with a number of interrogatories. Interrogatory number 4 asked the defendants to explain how O’Brien’s communications violated his responsibility to the union and interfered with the defendants’ performance of their legal or contractual obligations. Interrogatory number 6 asked the defendants to explain why the free speech section of the LMRDA did not preclude the IBEW constitutional provisions that O’Brien’s communications violated. Local 613 objected to the interrogatories and did not answer. O’Brien made a motion to compel Local 613 to answer the interrogatories.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Edenfield, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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