Brief Fact Summary. Welford Wigglesworth, Jr., (Plaintiff) filed a complaint under the Labor Management Reporting Disclosures Act (Act) alleging that the union and its president violated certain rights protected by the Act. Teamsters Local Union No. 592 (Defendants) filed a counterclaim for libel and slander against the Plaintiff. Plaintiff moved to have the counterclaim dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. If counterclaims arise out of the same transaction or occurrence of the Plaintiff’s claim then they are compulsory counterclaims and jurisdiction is ancillary to the Plaintiff’s claim.
Facts. Plaintiff filed a complaint against the Defendant alleging that the union and its president violated certain rights as protected by the Act. Specifically, the complaint alleges that Plaintiff was prevented from exercising his right to freedom of speech and denied his request to have union membership informed of their rights as required by the Act. The Defendants then filed a counterclaim against Plaintiffs, alleging that Plaintiff called a press conference at which he accused the union of being dominated by the mafia, and that past local union elections were fixed. Defendants claim that these actions constituted libel and slander. Plaintiff filed a Motion to Dismiss the counterclaim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. There is no diversity of citizenship between the parties, and jurisdiction is founded solely on 42 U.S.C. Section: 412.
Issue. Whether Defendant’s counterclaim arises out of the same transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the Plaintiff’s claim?