United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO
ENFORCE JUDGMENT (DOCKET NO. 249)
TIMOTHY S. HILLMAN DISTRICT JUDGE
March 2015, a jury awarded plaintiff Tara McCrohan, a
one-time police sergeant in Uxbridge, $439, 000 in damages on
her claims of defamation and infliction of emotional distress
against defendant Uxbridge Police Association Local 123
(“Local 123”). Because Local 123 had insufficient
assets, McCrohan filed the present motion seeking to enforce
her judgment against the Massachusetts Coalition of Police
(MCOP), a state-level union to which Local 123 is affiliated,
or in the alternate, to amend the Complaint to add MCOP as a
to McCrohan's motion to enforce judgment is the incorrect
assumption that Local 123 and MCOP are the same legal entity.
“As a general rule, an international union and its
affiliated locals are deemed to be separate legal
entities.” E.E.O.C. v. Ent'l Bro. of Elec.
Workers Local 998, 2005 WL 469600, at *2 (N.D.
Ohio Feb. 28, 2005). McCrohan does not dispute that Local 123
and MCOP exhibit the hallmarks of having distinct legal
identities. The two unions have, inter alia,
independent formation and governing documents,
non-overlapping leadership, and separate addresses. Local 123
chose to affiliate with MCOP, but it was not obliged to do
so, and had the authority to disassociate at any time. Under
these circumstances, the judgment against Local 123 cannot be
directly enforced against MCOP.
liability on MCOP under McCrohan's alternative
“alter ego” or agency theories,  would require
joining it as a defendant to the present case, and this court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction over such a proceeding.
“It is black-letter law that a federal court has an
obligation to inquire sua sponte into its own
subject matter jurisdiction.” McCulloch v.
Velez, 364 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2004) (citing In re
Recticel Foam Corp., 859 F.2d 1000, 1002 (1st Cir.1988);
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3)). “Where [a] postjudgment
proceeding presents a new substantive theory to establish
liability directly on the part of a new party, some
independent ground is necessary to assume federal
jurisdiction over the claim, since such a claim is no longer
a mere continuation of the original action.” U.S.I.
Properties Corp. v. M.D. Const. Co., 230 F.3d 489, 498
(1st Cir. 2000) (citing Thomas, Head & Greisen
Employees Trust v. Buster, 95 F.3d 1449, 1454 n.7 (9th
Cir. 1996); See also Peacock v. Thomas, 516 U.S.
349, 359, 116 S.Ct. 862, 869 (1996), 116 S.Ct. 862;
Futura Dev. of Puerto Rico, Inc. v. Estado Libre Asociado
de Puerto Rico, 144 F.3d 7, 11 n.2 (1st Cir. 1998)
(“[Enforcement jurisdiction] cannot extend to most
cases that seek to assign liability for the judgment to a new
party.”); Sandlin v. Corp. Interiors Inc., 972
F.2d 1212, 1217 (10th Cir. 1992) (citing H.C. Cook Co. v.
Beecher, 217 U.S. 497, 30 S.Ct. 601 (1910)
(“[W]hen postjudgment proceedings seek to hold
nonparties liable for a judgment on a theory that requires
proof on facts and theories significantly different from
those underlying the judgment, an independent basis for
federal jurisdiction must exist.”)).
to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a), this Court exercised
supplemental jurisdiction over McCrohan's state law
claims against Local 123 because her original Complaint
included a federal claim for a violation of Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, codified at 42 U.S.C. §
2000(e), et seq. Upon the entry of judgment, that
subject matter jurisdiction “vanished.”
Peacock, 516 U.S. at 355. McCrohan's alterative
enforcement theories are not “a mere
continuation” of the underlying claims because they
depend on the relationship and control between MCOP and Local
123 - facts that differ significantly from those underlying
the judgment against Local 123 for defamation and infliction
of emotional distress. As these enforcement theories raise no
federal question, and the parties are not diverse, this court
lacks subject jurisdiction over these proposed proceedings.
the court appreciates McCrohan's frustration, at this
point the court is limited to enforcing the judgment against
the only party found liable in this case, Local 123, and will
only consider any properly filed motion on that topic.
reasons set forth above the plaintiff's motion (Docket
No. 249) is denied. SO ORDERED.
 While McCrohan does not specifically
use the term “alter ego, ” at least some of her
arguments describe such a theory of liability.
 McCrohan also suggests that MCOP and
Local 123 should be treated as one union because they enjoyed
“shared counsel” and “behaved as one
entity” during this litigation. However, this argument
is without merit, as MCOP was not a party to this lawsuit,
and thus was not represented by counsel in this case before
or during trial. McCrohan's allegations of misconduct
with respect to discovery similarly fail, as they are
predicated on a theory that MCOP was under a duty to complete
disclosure in a case to which it was not a party at the
 There is longstanding precedent that
agency law principles be used to distinguish where a wider
union is responsible for the tortious acts of local unions.
See Carbon Fuel Co. v. United Mine Workers of
America, 444 U.S. 212, 217-218, 100 S.Ct. 410 (1979)
(declining to hold an “International” union
liable for illegal acts that it did not instigate, ratify,
support or encourage, acts that were contrary to the
constitution of the “International, ” and that
had in fact been opposed by it, concluding that the
petitioner had “failed to prove agency.”);
Coronado Coal Co. v. United Mine Workers of America,
268 U.S. 295, 304 (1925) (“a trades union …
might be held liable, and all its funds … might be
levied upon to pay damages suffered through illegal methods
… but certainly it must be clearly shown in order to
impose such a liability … that what was done was done
by their agents in accordance with their fundamental
agreement of association.”); Borowiec v. Local No.
1570, 889 F.2d 23, 26 (1st Cir. 1989) (citing Abreen
Corp. v. Laborers' Internat'l Union, 709 F.2d
748, 757 (1st Cir.1983), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 1040, 104
S.Ct. 702 (1984); Carbon Fuel, 444 U.S. at 213-17, 100 S.Ct.
at 412-14) (“A plaintiff seeking to place liability on
an international for a local's allegedly illegal conduct
must  show that the local acted as the international's
agent or that the international independently participated in