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Wills v. Walt Disney Pictures and Television

183 F.3d 862 (1998)

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Wills v. Walt Disney Pictures and Television

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

183 F.3d 862 (1998)

Facts

Michael Wills (plaintiff) and Robert Thurlwell (plaintiff) were craft service workers at Walt Disney Pictures and Television, Inc. (Disney) (defendant), as well as senior members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage and Motion Picture Machine Operators (the union) (defendant). Disney hired craft service workers less senior than Wills and Thurlwell for its production of In the Army Now. Wills and Thurlwell submitted grievances to the union. The union ultimately chose not to pursue the grievances because both Wills and Thurlwell were unavailable for work at the time the positions were filled. After production of In the Army Now was underway, another less-senior craft service member was hired for a position in the production when Wills and Thurlwell were available. As a result, the union pursued renewed grievances against Disney and secured a settlement of $400 each. In addition, Thurlwell secured an authorized leave of absence from Disney to go work on a Fox Television program. Despite the authorization, Thurlwell received a letter from Disney discharging him from his job and thereby severing his seniority. The union declined to pursue a grievance for this issue. Wills and Thurlwell brought suit against the union, alleging that it breached its duty of fair representation by declining to pursue certain grievances and negotiating a low settlement amount. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the union on all claims. Wills and Thurlwell appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Bright, Reinhardt, Rymer, J.J.)

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