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08/30/88 District of Columbia v. District of Columbia

August 30, 1988

BATTLE, ET AL

v.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 1988.CDC.346 DATE FILED: AUGUST 30, 1988



Mikva, Buckley, and D. H. Ginsburg, Circuit Judges.

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA NURSES' ASSOCIATION, APPELLANT, THELMA

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Civil Action No. 87-01675, On Responses to Order to Show Cause.

APPELLATE PANEL:

PER CURIAM DECISION

Appellant District of Columbia Nurses' Association noted this purported appeal from an order entered by the district court granting the District of Columbia's motion for summary judgment and denying the motion for summary judgment filed by individual plaintiffs. Concern about our jurisdiction prompted the court to issue an order for the parties to show cause as to why the appeal should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The District of Columbia responded with a short memorandum urging dismissal. D.C.N.A. responded with a motion to allow appeal and redesignate appellants. We deny D.C.N.A.'s motion and dismiss the appeal.

D.C.N.A. and several nurses who are D.C.N.A. members commenced this action in the district court to challenge the failure of the District of Columbia to pay its nurses overtime at the rate of time-and-a-half as they contend is required by the Fair Labor Standards Act , 29 U.S.C. ยง 207(a) (1) (1982). D.C.N.A. and the individual nurses are represented by the same counsel.

The District of Columbia moved for summary judgment, claiming, inter alia ; that D.C.N.A. lacks standing under the FLSA. In response to this claim, the plaintiffs filed a motion to amend their complaint to remove D.C.N.A. as a party and designate one of the individual nurses as lead plaintiff. The district court granted the motion, and the Clerk filed the amended complaint in which D.C.N.A. was no longer listed as a plaintiff.

Several weeks later, the district court granted the District of Columbia's motion for summary judgment. D.C.N.A. filed a notice of appeal captioned "The District of Columbia Nurses' Association, et al., Plaintiffs," stating that "notice is hereby given that , Plaintiff named above, hereby appeals to [this court] from the final judgment entered in this action on the 28th day of January, 1988." This court entered an order to show cause why the appeal should not be dismissed since the purported appellant was no longer a plaintiff at the time of the judgment and no remaining plaintiff had been identified as an appellant. See Torres v. Oakland Scavenger Co., 487 U.S. 312, 108 S. Ct. 2405, 101 L. Ed. 2d 285 (1988) (court of appeals only has jurisdiction over appeals of parties identified in notice of appeal) ; United States v. LTV Corp., 241 U.S. App. D.C. 58, 746 F.2d 51, 53 (D.C.Cir. 1984) (only party to district court action may note an appeal).

In response to our order to show cause, D.C.N.A. raises several arguments that it claims establish the court's jurisdiction over this appeal, none of which is persuasive. First, it asserts that D.C.N.A. "appeared to be considered a party by the court below" and that "it was not clear that D.C.N.A. was no longer a party" because its name continued to appear in the caption on papers prepared by the district court after the court granted the motion to amend. Appellant's Memorandum in Support of Motion to Allow Appeal and Redesignate All Plaintiffs as Appellants ("Appellant's Memorandum") at 2.

D.C.N.A. removed itself from the case on its own motion. In the mind of D.C.N.A.'s counsel, D.C.N.A. was no longer a party until this court questioned its jurisdiction over this appeal. See Certificate of Counsel Pursuant to General Rule 11 (a) (1) filed March 30, 1988 ("Originally, the was a party to this action, but was removed by order of the Court"). Furthermore, it is clear that the district court considered D.C.N.A. no longer to be a party because it describes plaintiffs as "registered nurses" with no mention of an organization. Memorandum filed January 28, 1988 at 1. Given these circumstances, D.C.N.A.'s assertion that it was still a party to the district court proceedings after that court granted the motion to amend rings false indeed.

D.C.N.A. also claims that even if it is no longer a party, it has standing to appeal. D.C.N.A. misreads United States v. LTV Corp., 241 U.S. App. D.C. 58, 746 F.2d 51 (D.C.Cir. 1984), when it claims that in order to appeal, all that is necessary is that "an appellant . . . be 'privy to the record' below and . . . be aggrieved by the order appealed from." Appellant's Memorandum at 4. This court clearly stated that "the general rule [is] that an appellant must be a party to the proceedings in order to file an appeal." Id. at 53. Although we recognized that there are certain exceptions to the general rule that an appellant must be a party, id. at 53 n. 5, none is applicable here.

D.C.N.A.'s reliance on Adams v. Morton, 581 F.2d 1314 (9th Cir. 1978), cert. denied, 440 U.S. 958, 99 S. Ct. 1498, 59 L. Ed. 2d 771 (1979), is equally misplaced. In Adams, the appellant filed objections to a motion for summary judgment in the district court but did not file a motion to intervene. "The [district] court properly viewed appellant's objections as a formal entry into the case, and decided the merits of the motion as if appellant had participated in every stage of the proceedings. . . Appellant's counsel . . . conceded that his client should be treated as an intervenor." Id. at 1318. In this case, on the other hand, D.C.N.A. removed itself from the case after participating in the earlier stages. Accordingly, it cannot successfully argue that it is still a party because it participated below.

D.C.N.A. also asserts that because of the congruity of interests among D.C.N.A. and the individual nurses ("Thelma Battle, et al."), the appeal by D.C.N.A. should be considered an appeal by the individual nurses. D.C.N.A. argues that if the body of the notice of appeal had read "District of Columbia Nurses' Association, et al.," rather than simply "District of Columbia Nurses' Association," the individual nurses would have been permitted as ...


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