Hooks v. Nexstar Broadcasting

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Labor Law
  • Date Filed: 12-05-2022
  • Case #: 21-35252
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Ikuta, J. for the Court; Fletcher, J.; Bress, J. Dissent: Fletcher, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

“While a district court may not presume irreparable injury, it may, however, make permissible inferences based on evidence of violations of labor law." Frankl v. HTH Corp., 650 F.3d 1334, 1362 (9th Cir. 2011).

A Regional Director of a Nexstar filed an unfair labor practices claim on behalf of the union ("Local 51") for a dispute arising out of Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA") negotiations. While the claim was pending with the National Labor Relations Board ("the Board"), the Regional Director then filed a petition in District Court requesting a preliminary injunction, as permitted under §10(j) of the NLRA. The preliminary injunction was granted. Nexstar appealed the grant of the preliminary injunction arguing abuse of discretion. The standing of that appeal was in question, after the ALJ had found for the Regional Director in the underlying administrative hearing. The appeal of the injunction fell under an exception to mootness, where disputes are “capable of repetition yet evading review[.]” The Court determined it had standing despite the ruling in the administrative hearing because the case was limited in duration and there was a reasonable expectation that Nexstar would be subject to a petition in the future. The Court then considered the appeal of the preliminary injunction. Here, the Court held that the District Court abused discretion. The Court reasoned that determination of irreparable harm under Frankl ex rel. NLRB v. HTH Corp., 650 F.3d 1334 (9th Cir. 2011) was an erroneous legal standard because it was not mandatory and in this case. Additionally, there was no evidence in the record of irreparable harm. The District Court's grant of preliminary injunction was VACATED. 

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