Hilton v. ND Education Association

20020054 Dale Hilton, Plaintiff and Appellant
v.
North Dakota Education
Association; Claudia Albers,
Michael Barnhart, Bart Brackin,
Julie Curren, Wade Curren,
Tim Erhardt, Janet Fagerland,
Harold Fass, Lynette Fitterer,
Judy Fryslie, Fayette Harrison,
Jane Jacobson, Remae Kuehn,
Milissa Meckle, Chad Rolandson,
Duane Schmidt, Carole Sherwin,
Dave Sherwin, Walter Wolf, and
Kiley Yates, individually and
collectively as the Center
Education Association; Defendants and Appellees
and
Center Public School District No. 18, Defendant

Appeal from: District Court, South Central Judicial District, Oliver County
Judge Benny A. Graff
Nature of Action: Contracts
Counsel:
Appellant: Wheeler Wolf
Appellee: Schulz Geiermann & Bergeson Law Offices, P.C.
Appellant: Rodenburg Law Firm
Term: 09/2002   Argument: 09/23/2002  9:30am
ND cite: 2002 ND 209
NW cite: 655 N.W.2d 60

Listen to recording of oral argument in MP3 format

Issues: Appellant's Statement of the Issues:
1. Under North Dakota law, only employees who are employed primarily as classroom teachers can be appropriately included in a teachers' negotiating unit. Hilton, who held a Ph.D., was a part-time school counselor and did not teach. Can his position be included in a teachers' negotiating unit without his consent? (Hilton contends the answer is no.)
2. The Center Education Association, the local teachers union, commenced a mandamus action against the School Board alleging that Hilton's counseling position was covered by the teachers' contract negotiated by the teachers' negotiating unit. Hilton was not made a party to the action and was not in privity with either the union or the School Board. Should he be barred from subsequently litigating his status as an employee outside of the teachers' negotiating unit by the stipulated judgment in the mandamus action? (Hilton contends the answer is no.)
3. The trial court dismissed Hilton's claim of tortious interference with contract on the ground that he failed to make any showing of fraud or coercion. However, Hilton showed that the defendants interfered with his right under North Dakota law and its constitution "to work free of any interference, restraint or coercion by either employer or labor organization." Did the trial court err in dismissing the tortious interference claim on the grounds that there was no fraud or coercion? (Hilton contends the answer is yes.)
4. The Center Education Association is an unincorporated association. North Dakota statutory law states that a person is legally accountable for conduct he performs in the name of an organization just as if he had conducted it in his own name or on his own behalf. In addition, the common law holds that members of an unincorporated association are liable for torts of the association. Did the trial court err when it dismissed from the lawsuit all members of the Center Education Association while leaving the organization in the lawsuit in name only? (Hilton contends the answer is yes.)
5. The Center Education Association and the School Board entered into a stipulated judgment in the mandamus action such that Hilton would be covered by the teachers' contract, thereby substantially reducing his salary without his consent. The union refused to reopen the contract to negotiate a doctoral or part-time counselor lane for Hilton when given the opportunity to do so. Was this refusal, coupled with interference with Hilton's right to work, grounds to allow a plea for punitive damages? (Hilton contends the answer is yes.)

Appellee's Statement of the Issues:
1. Whether the District Court correctly granted summary judgment in favor of defendants dismissing Count II of plaintiff's complaint on the basis that Hilton did not have the right to individually bargain with the Center School District.
2. Whether the District Court correctly granted summary judgment on Hilton's action on the basis of waiver.
3. Whether the District Court correctly dismissed Hilton's claim for intentional interference with contract.
4. Whether the District Court correctly granted summary judgment dismissing Hilton's claim against the individual defendants.
5. Whether the District Court properly denied Hilton's motion to amend his Complaint to provide for exemplary damages.

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Docket entries:
102/22/2002 NOTICE OF APPEAL: 02/21/2002
202/22/2002 ORDER FOR TRANSCRIPT (Dorothy Rolfstad): 02/21/2002
304/23/2002 MOT. EXT/TIME TRANSCRIPT
404/23/2002 ACTION BY TRIAL COURT. Granted: 05/22/2002
504/23/2002 RETENTION OF RECORD ON APPEAL: 05/22/2002
605/21/2002 TRANSCRIPTS DATED November 15, 2002 and November 16, 2002
706/28/2002 APPELLANT BRIEF
806/28/2002 APPELLANT APPENDIX
907/01/2002 Notice of Addition of Counsel for Appellant Hilton (Clifton Rodenburg as counsel for AT on brief)
1007/05/2002 RECORD ON APPEAL (3 Vols.), Depositions (10), and Exhibits
1107/15/2002 MOT. EXT/TIME APPELLEE BRIEF
1207/15/2002 ACTION BY CLERK (MAE, w/understanding OA will be heard in Sept.). Granted: 08/16/2002
1308/15/2002 APPELLEE BRIEF
1408/15/2002 APPELLEE APPENDIX
1508/15/2002 DISK - AEB
1608/29/2002 Request for Radio/TV Coverage (ND Public Radio) (e-mail from J. McDonald dated 8-29-02) AUTHORIZED
1709/12/2002 Request for Radio/TV Coverage (AP) (e-mail from Jack McDonald dated 9-12-02) APPROVED
1809/17/2002 MOTION TO CORRECT APPELLANT'S BRIEF & AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT
1909/17/2002 ACTION BY CLERK. Granted
2009/17/2002 Corrected pages iii & 20 for ATB
2109/17/2002 DISK - ATB
2209/23/2002 APPEARANCES: Steven L. Latham; Michael Geiermann
2309/23/2002 ARGUED: Latham; Geiermann (Vol. Y; Page 30)
2409/23/2002 ORAL ARGUMENT WEBCAST
2509/23/2002 Copies of Attorney General Opinion dated January 4, 1974
2612/20/2002 DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED
2712/20/2002 UNANIMOUS OPINION: Neumann, William A.
2812/20/2002 Costs on appeal taxed in favor of appellee
2912/23/2002 Order/Judgment Mailed to Parties
3001/17/2003 MANDATE
3101/23/2003 RECEIPT SIGNED BY DISTRICT COURT CLERK'S OFFICE
3207/09/2008 EXPUNGED - Nonpermanent record items destroyed

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