OCTOBER TERM, 1995
certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the eighth circuit
No. 95-340. Argued February 20, 1996—Decided May 13, 1996
Petitioner union filed this suit, alleging that respondent company began to lay off workers in connection with the closing of one of its plants before giving the union the closing notice required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act), and seeking backpay for each of its affected members. The District Court dismissed the complaint, and the Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the suit was barred because the union failed to meet the third part of the test for determining associational standing.
Held: 1. The WARN Act grants a union authority to sue for damages on behalf of its members, North Star Steel Co. v. Thomas, 515 U. S. 29, 31; the writ of certiorari therefore was not improvidently granted. Pp. 548-550. 2. The union has standing to bring this action. Pp. 551-558. (a) Under modern associational standing doctrine, an organization may sue to redress its members' injuries when: "(a) its members would otherwise have standing to sue in their own right; (b) the interests it seeks to protect are germane to the organization's purpose; and (c) neither the claim asserted nor the relief requested requires the participation of individual members in the lawsuit." Hunt v. Washington State Apple Advertising Comm'n, 432 U. S. 333, 343. The requirement of individual participation has been understood to preclude associational standing when an organization seeks damages on behalf of its members. The question here is whether a bar to the union's suit found in this third prong of the test is constitutional and absolute, or prudential and malleable by Congress. The Court of Appeals apparently concluded that the test's third prong is of constitutional character, for it denied standing even though the WARN Act permits the union to sue for its members' damages. Pp. 551-554. (b) The test's first prong is grounded in Article III as an element of the constitutional case or controversy requirement. Resort to general principles, however, leads to the conclusion that the third prong is a prudential impediment that Congress may abrogate. Hunt's require-Page: Index 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Next
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