Federal Courts-Choice of Law-Refusal to Apply State Limitation to Federally-Created Right

Plaintiffs, two corporations and a joint venture, brought suit in a federal district court in California for damages arising from alleged unfair labor practices by defendant unions. Jurisdiction was based primarily on section 303(b) of the Labor-Management Relations Act which creates a private right of action in persons injured by unlawful secondary boycott activities. Defendants moved to dismiss, contending that the action was barred by the applicable statute of limitations, which, in the absence of any federal limitation specifically pertaining to actions under section 303, was the appropriate California statute. Plaintiffs, on the other hand, maintained that the pervasiveness of Congress’ coverage of the labor field indicated an intent to make diverse state statutes inapplicable, arguing that either an analogous federal statute must be used or the federal courts should apply no period of limitations until Congress has acted. Ruling on defendant’s motion to dismiss, held, motion denied. A state statute of limitations will not be applied to a federally-created cause of action if the effect is to defeat the legislative purpose. Fischbach & Moore, Inc. v. International Union of Operating Engrs, 198 F. Supp. 911 (S.D. Cal. 1961).