Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

CSX Transportation, Inc. v. Healey

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

June 23, 2017

CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC.; CSX INTERMODAL TERMINALS, INC.; NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION, d/b/a Amtrak; SPRINGFIELD TERMINAL RAILWAY COMPANY, Plaintiffs, Appellees,
v.
MAURA HEALEY, in her official capacity as Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Defendant, Appellant, TRANSPORTATION DIVISION OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SHEET METAL, AIR, RAIL AND TRANSPORTATION WORKERS; MECHANICAL DIVISION OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SHEET METAL, AIR, RAIL AND TRANSPORTATION WORKERS; BROTHERHOOD OF LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS AND TRAINMEN; BROTHERHOOD OF MAINTENANCE OF WAY EMPLOYES DIVISION/IBT; BROTHERHOOD OF RAILROAD SIGNALMEN; INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS; NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF FIREMEN & OILERS DISTRICT OF LOCAL 32BJ, SEIU, Defendants. CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC.; CSX INTERMODAL TERMINALS, INC.; NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION, d/b/a Amtrak; SPRINGFIELD TERMINAL RAILWAY COMPANY, Plaintiffs, Appellees,
v.
TRANSPORTATION DIVISION OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SHEET METAL, AIR, RAIL AND TRANSPORTATION WORKERS; MECHANICAL DIVISION OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SHEET METAL, AIR, RAIL AND TRANSPORTATION WORKERS; BROTHERHOOD OF LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS AND TRAINMEN; BROTHERHOOD OF MAINTENANCE OF WAY EMPLOYES DIVISION/IBT; BROTHERHOOD OF RAILROAD SIGNALMEN; INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS; NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF FIREMEN & OILERS DISTRICT OF LOCAL 32BJ, SEIU, Defendants, Appellants, MAURA HEALEY, in her official capacity as Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Defendant.

          APPEALS FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS [Hon. Nathaniel M. Gorton, U.S. District Judge]

          Douglas S. Martland, Assistant Attorney General, with whom Maura Healey, Attorney General of Massachusetts, and Pierce O. Cray, Assistant Attorney General, were on brief, for the Commonwealth appellant.

          Michael S. Wolly, with whom Zwerdling, Paul, Kahn & Wolly, P.C., Richard S. Edelman, Mooney, Green, Saindon, Murphy and Welch PC, Erika A. Diehl-Gibbons, Kevin C. Brodar, and SMART-TD were on brief, for the union appellants.

          Donald J. Munro, with whom Anthony J. Dick and Jones Day were on brief, for the appellees.

          M. Patricia Smith, Solicitor of Labor, United States Department of Labor, G. William Scott, Associate Solicitor, Elizabeth Hopkins, Counsel for Appellate and Special Litigation, Melissa Moore, Attorney, Plan Benefits Security Division, Benjamin C. Mizer, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, United States Department of Justice, Civil Division, Alisa B. Klein, Attorney, Appellate Staff, Civil Division, Lindsey Powell, Attorney, Appellate Staff, Civil Division, and Carmen M. Ortiz, United States Attorney, on brief for the United States as amicus curiae in support of the appellants.

          Before Lynch, Lipez, and Kayatta, Circuit Judges.

          KAYATTA, Circuit Judge.

         In 2014, Massachusetts voters enacted by plebiscite the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law ("MESTL"). 2014 Mass. Legis. Serv. ch. 505 (West). The law requires most employers with eleven or more employees to provide "[e]arned paid sick time" for a variety of reasons, including absence from work due to illness. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 148C(a)-(c). The question posed by these appeals is whether application of the MESTL to interstate rail carriers that employ workers in Massachusetts is preempted by the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act ("RUIA"), 45 U.S.C. §§ 351-369. That federal law requires interstate rail carriers to bear the cost of an insurance program for employees who miss work on account of sickness and are not otherwise compensated during their absence. See id. § 352(a)(1)(B). The RUIA states that its provision for the payment of sickness benefits is "exclusive, " and that no person employed by an interstate rail carrier "shall have or assert any right . . . to sickness benefits under a sickness law of any State." Id. § 363(b).

         For the following reasons, we agree with the district court that the RUIA certainly preempts some parts of the MESTL as applied to employees of interstate rail carriers. We nevertheless remand for further consideration of whether other parts of the Massachusetts law that are not within the preemptive reach of the RUIA, and are not otherwise preempted by another federal law, might still be applied to interstate rail carriers.

         I. A.

         As originally enacted in 1938, the RUIA mandated that interstate rail carriers fund an insurance system that provides partial wage replacement, known as "unemployment benefits, " to covered employees who are not working but who are able and available to work. See Act of June 25, 1938, ch. 680, §§ 1(k), 2(a), 52 Stat. 1094, 1096 (codified as amended at 45 U.S.C. §§ 351(k)(1), 352(a)(1)(A)). In 1946, Congress added to the RUIA a mandate that interstate rail carriers also fund "sickness benefits" to provide a minimum level of wage replacement for employees unable to work due to sickness. See Act of July 31, 1946, ch. 709, §§ 301-07, 60 Stat. 722, 735-37 (codified at 45 U.S.C. §§ 351(h)-(i), (k)(2), (l), 352(a), (c), (f)).

         Adding sickness benefits to the statute required Congress to address a series of questions. Who was covered? Which conditions qualified as a sickness? When did the employee become eligible for sickness benefits? What was the amount and duration of the benefits? How and to what extent must the employer fund the benefits? The text of the RUIA answers each of these questions. As generally applicable to most employees, it requires the payment of "sickness benefits" for "each day of sickness after the 4th consecutive day of sickness in a period of continuing sickness."[1] 45 U.S.C. § 352(a)(1)(B)(i). A "day of sickness" means "a calendar day on which because of any physical, mental, psychological, or nervous injury, illness, sickness, or disease [the employee] is not able to work." Id. § 351(k)(2). It also encompasses, "with respect to a female employee, a calendar day on which, because of pregnancy, miscarriage, or the birth of a child, (i) she is unable to work or (ii) working would be injurious to her health." Id. The only added criteria defining "day of sickness" are that a "day of sickness" does not include: (1) a day on which "remuneration is payable or accrues to [the employee], " or (2) a day of unpaid absence not documented in accordance "with such regulations as the [Railroad Retirement] Board may prescribe." Id. In other words, the employee gets no wage replacement if the employee is collecting payment for services anyhow, or if the employee does not document the claim for sickness benefits in accordance with regulations established by the Board that administers these benefits.

         These decisions by Congress established only the minimum level of benefits that must be paid. Employers remained free to provide benefits to sick workers sooner, to continue benefits longer, or to pay benefits at higher rates. The employees, in turn, remained free to bargain for better benefits.

         B.

         Having mandated a nationwide, minimum level of sickness benefits for this quintessentially interstate business, Congress also exercised its power under the Supremacy Clause to preempt certain state laws. The text of the preemption provision states as follows:

By enactment of this chapter the Congress makes exclusive provision for the payment of unemployment benefits for unemployment occurring after June 30, 1939 and for the payment of sickness benefits for sickness periods after June 30, 1947, based upon employment (as defined in this chapter). No employee shall have or assert any right to unemployment benefits under an unemployment compensation law of any State with respect to unemployment occurring after June 30, 1939, or to sickness benefits under a sickness law of any State with respect to sickness periods occurring after June 30, 1947, based upon employment (as defined in this chapter). The Congress finds and declares that by virtue of the enactment of this chapter, the application of State unemployment compensation laws after June 30, 1939, or of State sickness laws after June 30, 1947, to such employment, except pursuant to section 362(g) of this title, would constitute an undue burden upon, and an undue interference with the effective regulation of, interstate commerce.

Id. § 363(b).

         The parties agree that the foregoing language, as applied today to interstate rail carriers, plainly preempts any mandate to provide "sickness benefits under a sickness law of any State . . . based upon employment." Id. Their disagreement centers on whether the employee benefits mandated by the MESTL qualify as such. Before the MESTL took effect, several interstate rail carriers sought assurance from the Massachusetts Attorney General that the law would not apply to their railroad employees working in Massachusetts. The Attorney General "declined to offer any assurances" about the relationship between the state and federal laws.

         Facing "a substantial threat of imminent prosecution, " the carriers filed the present action against the Attorney General seeking a declaratory judgment that the MESTL is preempted by the RUIA as well as by the Railway Labor Act ("RLA"), 45 U.S.C. §§ 151-165, and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1001-1461. The district court permitted several unions representing Massachusetts railroad workers to intervene as defendants. It also accepted a "statement of interest" filed by the United States in support of the defendants. In due course, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff carriers, holding that the RUIA preempted the MESTL in its entirety as applied to the plaintiff carriers. In so disposing of the action, the district court did not reach the plaintiffs' alternative claims that either the RLA or ERISA preempted the MESTL, which the parties had agreed to litigate, if necessary, in a second phase of the action. Nor did it expressly consider ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.