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UNION PACIFIC R. CO. V. PRICE, 360 U. S. 601 (1959)

U.S. Supreme Court

Union Pacific R. Co. v. Price, 360 U.S. 601 (1959)

Union Pacific Railroad Co. v. Price

No. 414

Argued March 31, 1959

Decided June 29, 1959

360 U.S. 601


Claiming that respondent had been discharged by petitioner railroad in violation of a collective bargaining agreement, his union, acting on his behalf and with his consent, submitted the grievance to the National Railroad Adjustment Board, which found that his dismissal was justified. Thereafter, respondent sued the railroad in a Federal District Court to recover damages for wrongful dismissal.

Held: respondent's submission of his grievances as to the validity of his dismissal to be Board precludes him from seeking damages for that dismissal in a common law action. Pp. 360 U. S. 602-617.

(a) The Board's decision was not based solely on the ground that the railroad had followed the proper procedure in discharging respondent, but also included a determination that he was discharged for good cause.

(b) The clear language of § 3 First (m) of the Railway Labor Act, the scheme of the Act, and its legislative history compel the conclusion that an award by the Board, holding that an employee was properly discharged, precludes him from relitigating the same issue in a common law damage suit. Pp. 360 U. S. 608-614.

(c) Although an enforcement proceeding against a noncomplying carrier under § 3 First (p) affords a defeated carrier some opportunity to relitigate issues decided by the Board, Congress did not provide a similar opportunity for a defeated employee. Pp. 360 U. S. 614-617.

255 F.2d 663 reversed and remanded.

Page 360 U. S. 602

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