APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA. (D.C. Civil Action No. 74-671)
Before: McLAUGHLIN, VAN DUSEN and ALDISERT, Circuit Judges.
The question on appeal is whether plaintiff's pro se complaint, fairly construed, sets forth a claim under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA), 29 U.S.C. § 401 et seq., so as to withstand a motion to dismiss. Interpreting the complaint as one sounding in libel and slander, the district court dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. We affirm.
This appeal represents the second time this plaintiff has been before us complaining about his relationship with his union. In the earlier action, the district court dismissed the "ambiguous and vague" amended pro se complaint for "failing to state a cause of action". Harrison v. Stout, Civ. No. 72-1081 (E.D. Pa., Mar. 15, 1973). We affirmed that disposition. Harrison v. Meany, No. 73-1413 (3d Cir., Dec. 20, 1973).
The complaint which is now before us was filed on March 19, 1974. Labeled "Complaint: LIBEL AND SLANDER," it alleges:
1. Plaintiff states that on may [sic] 11, 1971, Mr. Earl Stout, International Vice President did approach Mr. John H. Keyes, Business Manager of the University of Pennsylvania, and instructed Mr. Keyes not to pay plaintiff for work which plaintiff had completed. This was done maliciously, because plaintiff asserted his rights to earn a living without interference from the union, since the union had improperly suspended plaintiff from union membership, even after the criminal charges were not sustained. (See Exibits [sic] 3, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27 attached hereto).
2. Plaintiff states that Defendant did give him false information in regards to the date, time and place of the meeting of the Convention Appeals Committee of the 19th International Convention. (See Exibits [sic] 3, 5, 8, 9 and 31 attached hereto).
3. Plaintiff states that Defendant's sole purpose in giving him false information in regards to the date, time and place of the meeting of the Convention Appeals Committee of the 19th International Convention was to confuse and deny plaintiff his right of appeal, and therefore caused a violation of the plaintiff's rights as setforeth [sic] in Article V, Amendment to the United States Constitution as to due process of law. (also see Section 1, 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution). (See Exibits [sic] 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 31 attached hereto).
4. Plaintiff states that the Defendant began their [sic] persecution of him because of the efforts on the part of the plaintiff to prevent Local 590, and the District Council #33 from infringing upon the jurisdiction of Local 54. (See Exibits [sic] 18, 19, 20, 21, 29, and 30 attached hereto).
5. Plaintiff states that District Council #33, officers of Local 54, and officers of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, did conspire to deny plaintiff his rights as setforeth [sic] in the First, Fifth, Ninth and 14th Amendments of the United States Constitution, in that no charge was issued, or complaint lodged until after plaintiff asserted the aforesaid jurisdictional rights against Local 590. (See Exibits [sic] 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, and 27 attached hereto).
6. Plaintiff states that the Defendant did through malicious intent, and aforethought issue a libelous and slanderous statement. In that Defendant did falsely publish that:
"After an investigation, I have concluded that Bonzell Harrison, President of Local 54, University of Pennsylvania Caferteria [sic] Employees are engaging in conduct imminently dangerous to the welfare of the local union".
This libelous and slanderous statement were [sic] placed on the bulletin boards in the units of Houston Hall, Robert C. Hill Hall, Evans House, Law School, Quad Grille, and Training House of the University of Pennsylvania. (See Exibit [sic] 17 attached hereto).
7. Plaintiff states that Defendant did through malicious intent, and aforethought issue the libelous and slanderous statement which caused criminal charges to be brought against plaintiff which had no bases in fact, and which did inturn [sic] cause extreme mental agitation and aggravation to plaintiff's well being. (See Exibits [sic] 17, 26, and 27 attached hereto).
8. Plaintiff states that Defendant did cause through libel and malicious slander, damages to plaintiff's mental, physical and financial well being, in that Defendant did cause suspension of plaintiff from the office of President of Local 54 without due process of law in accordance with Article V, Section 12 of the International Union's Constitution, which inturn [sic] caused the stoppage of income plaintiff received from said union, also caused irreparable damage to plaintiff's reputation and character, plus unknown damages in that plaintiff could never run for office in the aforesaid union, because plaintiff was then, and is now improperly expelled from union membership in violation of Article X, Section 18 of the International Union's Constitution, while plaintiff's appeal was pending. (See Exibits [sic] 1 thru 32 attached hereto).
9. Plaintiff states that the Defendant did cause this Court to deny relief in prior suit based on plaintiff's ignorance of proper procedure for presenting a complaint, and request of relief, thus violating plaintiff's rights of due process, (specifically plaintiff not having prior knowledge of the law and the Courts)....
It has been held that a union officer wrongfully removed from office and suspended from membership in the union is entitled to recover compensation for (1) The salary he would have received had he finished his term as the Union's President, (2) Damages for mental suffering and humiliation, and (3) Punitive damages. The Court also ruled that the action did not abate by reason of the death of the suspended union member but could be maintained by the administrator of his estate. [Citing case]. The pleading need not ...