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U.S. Supreme Court

Gunther v. San Diego & Arizona Eastern R. Co., 382 U.S. 257 (1965)

Gunther v. San Diego & Arizona Eastern Railway Co.

No. 27

Argued November 8, 1965

Decided December 8, 1965

382 U.S. 257


Petitioner, after long employment as an engineer was removed from service following an adverse physical report by respondent railroad's physicians. His own doctor thereafter examined petitioner and pronounced him fit to work. When the railroad rejected petitioner's request for reexamination or restoration to service, he filed with the Railroad Adjustment Board a claim for reinstatement and back pay. The Board appointed a three-doctor committee, which found petitioner fit to act as an engineer. The Board, having interpreted seniority and other provisions of the collective bargaining agreement as guaranteeing petitioner's continued service while physically qualified, ordered his reinstatement with back pay for time lost. Upon the railroad's refusal to comply, petitioner brought this enforcement action in District Court. That court refused to uphold the Board's order, finding nothing in the collective bargaining agreement to limit the railroad's right to remove petitioner upon a medical disability finding by its physicians. The Court of Appeals affirmed.


1. The Adjustment Board, an experienced representative body created by § 3 of the Railway Labor Act for settling disputes in the railroad industry, including interpretation of agreements, did not abuse its discretion by its interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement or its appointment of the medical board and reliance on its findings. Pp. 382 U. S. 261-262.

2. A federal district court, under § 3 First(m) of the Railway Labor Act, which provides for finality of Adjustment Board awards "except insofar as they shall contain a money award," cannot open up the Board's finding on the merits merely because its determination on the central issue of wrongful discharge included a money award. Pp. 382 U. S. 263-264.

3. The District Court has power under the Act to determine the separable issue of the size of the money award for lost time; in making that determination, the court can evaluate any changes in chanrobles.com-red

Page 382 U. S. 258

petitioner's health in the seven years since the Board heard and decided the case. Pp. 382 U. S. 264-265.

336 F.2d 543, reversed and remanded.


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