Monthly Archives: June 2009

8072 – A Local Land Deal


Union members, beware.  Union suits can not only be brought against employers, they can also be brought against you.  This case got started when Joe, who was treasurer of the local union, was told the union was interested in purchasing a parcel of land right next door and he was asked to look into it.  Joe, however, allegedly told the property owner the union was no longer interested in the property and told the union president the land had been sold.  Several months later an investment group that included Joe purchased the parcel for $75,000.  It was later sold for $885,000 with Joe pocketing his share of the money.  The union sued Joe alleging violation of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, which states that union officers occupy positions of trust and must refrain from self-dealing.  The Court that first heard the case dismissed it but the Court of Appeals held that the union can sue an unfaithful officer in federal court.  So to paraphrase, when it’s all for one and none for all, hell hath no fury like a union scorned.


Int’l Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 v. Ward, Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 08-1631, April 16, 2009, Kanne, J., U.S. Law Week, Vol. 77, No. 41, Pg. 1648, 4-28-09

8071 – Stop, Look, and Listen to the Court


It just got a lot more dangerous and difficult for the police out there on the roadways.  This case began when Rodney was arrested for driving with a suspended license.  After he was handcuffed and locked in the back of a patrol car, officers searched his car and discovered cocaine and a gun.  Rodney moved to suppress arguing after he was handcuffed in the patrol car he posed no threat to the officers, and he was arrested for a traffic offense for which no relevant evidence could be found in the vehicle.  The trial judge allowed the evidence in based on precedent, but the Arizona Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court reversed his conviction.  The Court said searches are permitted only when a person may have access to a weapon or when evidence may be destroyed, and allowing police to search a vehicle after a traffic offense gives police officers unbridled discretion to rummage at will among a person’s private effects.  Justices Breyer and Alito dissented but the majority ruled and when police remove a person from a vehicle and handcuff him, they’re handcuffing themselves as well.


Arizona v. Rodney Joseph Gant, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 07-542, April 21, 2009, Stevens, J., U.S. Law Week, No. 77, Vol. 41, Pg. 4285, 4-28-09