Hall v. Cole
412 U.S. 1 (1973)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Hall v. Cole, 412 U.S. 1 (1973)

Hall v. Cole

No. 72-630

Argued March 21, 1973

Decided May 21, 1973

412 U.S. 1

Syllabus

Respondent, expelled from his union for deliberate and malicious vilification of union management following his resolutions unsuccessfully condemning that management's alleged undemocratic actions and shortsighted policies, regained his union membership in a suit under § 102 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) and was awarded $5,500 in legal fees. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

Held:

1. Respondent's suit under § 102 of the LMRDA vindicated not only his own rights of free speech guaranteed by the statute but furthered the interests of the union and its members as well. As a result, the award to respondent of attorneys' fees under these circumstances comported with the trial court's inherent equitable power of making such an award whenever "overriding considerations indicate the need for such a recovery." Mills v. Electric Auto-Lite Co.,396 U. S. 375, 396 U. S. 391-392. Pp. 412 U. S. 4-9.

2. The allowance of counsel fees to the successful plaintiff in a suit brought under § 102 is not precluded by that statutory provision and, indeed, is supported by the legislative history of the LMRDA. Pp. 412 U. S. 9-14.

3. Under all the facts of the case, the District Court did not

Page 412 U. S. 2

abuse its discretion in awarding counsel fees to respondent. Pp. 412 U. S. 14-15.

462 F.2d 777, affirmed.

BRENNAN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and DOUGLAS, STEWART, BLACKMUN, and POWELL, JJ., joined. WHITE, J. filed a dissenting opinion, in which REHNQUIST, J., joined, post, p. 412 U. S. 16. MARSHALL, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

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