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December 21, 2023

Summary of a California decision concerning a "leafletting campaign" by a labor union representing nurses and healthcare workers posted on the Internet by Justia

Palomar Health v. Nat. Nurses United

Docket: D080962 (Fourth Appellate District [State of California])

Opinion Date: December 18, 2023

Areas of Law: Government & Administrative Law, Labor and Employment Law

Posted by on the Internet by Justia.

This case is a labor dispute between Palomar Health, a public healthcare district, and unions representing nurses and healthcare workers employed by Palomar Health. 

In 2021, during negotiations to renew their collective bargaining agreements, union organizers began a leafletting campaign outside Palomar Health’s main hospital and sought to meet with employees inside the hospital. Palomar Health responded by filing a complaint for trespass and unlawful picketing in San Diego Superior Court, seeking to ban the organizers from their facilities. 

The unions filed an unfair practice charge with the [State of California's] Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), asserting Palomar Health’s attempts to ban their representatives and the civil lawsuit violated the unions’ rights under the [State of California's] Meyers-Milias-Brown Act.

The trial court overruled the unions’ demurrer and denied their motion to strike, maintaining jurisdiction of the state law claims. On appeal, the unions argued that the trial court lacked jurisdiction over the dispute as their activities were arguably protected by the [State of California's] Meyers-Milias-Brown Act and that jurisdiction fell exclusively under PERB. 

The Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District Division One State of California, agreed with the unions, finding that Palomar Health’s claims were preempted and therefore, the trial court lacked jurisdiction over the dispute. The trial court’s order overruling the demurrer was reversed and the matter was remanded with directions to enter an order sustaining the demurrer without leave to amend, and to dismiss the case on the grounds that it is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of PERB.

Click here to Read Opinion.

 

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