Procedural Posture

Plaintiff school district appealed the judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), which dismissed plaintiff’s action for damages against defendant union based on its alleged inducement of a public school employees’ strike.

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Overview

Plaintiff school district filed an action against defendant union based on its inducement of a strike by plaintiff’s employees. Defendant demurred, and the trial court dismissed the complaint for failing to state a cause of action. The court reversed because it was unlawful for public school employees to strike. Defendant’s free speech rights would not be violated because restraint on speech was not unconstitutional where the union was inducing an illegal strike. The court determined that defendant was not privileged to induce the breach of contract because the object of the action was unlawful. The complaint stated a cause of action for tortious inducement of breach of contract and based on defendant’s direct liability. Conducting an unlawful strike was an independent tort and there was liability for aiding and abetting an intentional tort. The Educational Employment Relations Board had no jurisdiction over the action, because it occurred prior to the effective date of the board’s jurisdiction.

Outcome

The court reversed the judgment of the trial court that dismissed plaintiff school district’s action for damages against defendant union because plaintiff stated a cause of action against defendant union. The court held a public school employee strike was unlawful and defendant’s inducement of such was neither privileged, nor protected as free speech.

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