Second Circuit Rejects Post-Janus Attack on Public Sector Unions

On April 15, 2020, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Wholean v. CSEA SEIU Local 2001, et al. affirmed the dismissal of claims against a union representing Connecticut state workers in which the plaintiffs sought to claw back fair-share fees the union had lawfully charged them before the Supreme Court reversed long-standing precedent and held that such fees could no longer be charged in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31.  Altshuler Berzon LLP represented Local 2001, with partner Scott Kronland arguing the case in the Second Circuit.

Joining the unanimous judicial consensus on the issue, the court recognized that the union defendant’s good-faith reliance on state law barred the plaintiffs’ attempts to extract refunds of fair-share fees that they had paid under then-valid state law and binding Supreme Court precedent.  The Second Circuit joined the Seventh Circuit, Ninth Circuit, Sixth Circuit, and numerous district courts across the country that have all rejected materially indistinguishable claims brought against public sector unions in the wake of Janus.  Altshuler Berzon LLP has successfully defended the union defendants in many of those cases.  The Second Circuit’s opinion can be found here.