Busby v. Electric Utilities Employees Union
323 U.S. 72 (1944)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Busby v. Electric Utilities Employees Union, 323 U.S. 72 (1944)

Busby v. Electric Utilities Employees Union

No. 74

Argued November 17, 1944

Decided December 4, 1944

323 U.S. 72

Syllabus

1. The "law applied in the District of Columbia," which, by Rule 81(e) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, governs proceedings in the District Court of the United States for the District of Columbia whenever, under the Rules, the "law of the state" is made applicable, is derived from the common law and statutes of Maryland in force at the time of the cession of the District to the United States, as modified by statutes of Congress and as determined and developed by the courts of the District. P. 323 U. S. 73.

2. Under the provision of Rule 17(b) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, which permits suit against an unincorporated association for the enforcement of "a substantive right existing under the Constitution or laws of the United States," a certified question whether an unincorporated labor union is suable in the District Court of the United States for the District of Columbia in an action of debt cannot arise in the present suit unless it first be decided that, under the law of the District of Columbia, an unincorporated labor union is without capacity to be sued in its own name, and that question of local law should be decided by the courts of the District of Columbia before this Court is called upon to decide it. P. 323 U. S. 74.

3. On certificate from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia under 28 U.S.C. § 346, this Court does not answer a question of law which would be decisive of the cause only in the event that a question of local law, not answered by the Court of Appeals and inappropriate for this Court to consider in the first instance, receives one answer, rather than another. P. 323 U. S. 75.

Dismissed.

Certificate from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upon an appeal to that court from a judgment of the District Court of the United States for the District of Columbia dismissing the complaint

Page 323 U. S. 73

in an action of debt against an unincorporated labor union.

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