H.R. 2449 (105th): Fair Access to Indemnity and Reimbursement Act

105th Congress, 1997–1998. Text as of Sep 10, 1997 (Introduced).

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HR 2449 IH

105th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2449

To allow the recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs by certain employers and labor organizations who are prevailing parties in proceedings brought against them by the National Labor Relations Board.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

September 10, 1997

Mr. FAWELL (for himself, Mr. GOODLING, Mr. TALENT, Mr. BALLENGER, Mr. SAM JOHNSON of Texas, Mr. KNOLLENBERG, Mr. RIGGS, Mr. GRAHAM, Mr. SOUDER, Mr. NORWOOD, Mr. PAUL, and Mr. HILLEARY) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce


A BILL

To allow the recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs by certain employers and labor organizations who are prevailing parties in proceedings brought against them by the National Labor Relations Board.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Fair Access to Indemnity and Reimbursement Act’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    (a) FINDINGS- The Congress finds as follows:

      (1) Certain small businesses and labor organizations are at a great disadvantage in terms of expertise and resources when facing actions brought by the National Labor Relations Board.

      (2) The attempt to ‘level the playing field’ for small businesses and labor organizations by means of the Equal Access to Justice Act has proven ineffective and has been underutilized by these small entities in their actions before the National Labor Relations Board.

      (3) The greater expertise and resources of the National Labor Relations Board as compared with those of small businesses and labor organizations necessitate a standard that awards fees and costs to certain small entities when they prevail against the National Labor Relations Board.

    (b) PURPOSE- It is the purpose of this Act--

      (1) to ensure that certain small businesses and labor organizations will not be deterred from seeking review of, or defending against, actions brought against them by the National Labor Relations Board because of the expense involved in securing vindication of their rights;

      (2) to reduce the disparity in resources and expertise between certain small businesses and labor organizations and the National Labor Relations Board; and

      (3) to make the National Labor Relations Board more accountable for its enforcement actions against certain small businesses and labor organizations by awarding fees and costs to these entities when they prevail against the National Labor Relations Board.

SEC. 3. AMENDMENT TO NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT.

    The National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 151 and following) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

‘AWARDS OF ATTORNEYS’ FEES AND COSTS

    ‘SEC. 20. (a) ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS- An employer who, or a labor organization that--

      ‘(1) is the prevailing party in an adversary adjudication conducted by the Board under this or any other Act, and

      ‘(2) had not more than 100 employees and a net worth of not more than $1,400,000 at the time the adversary adjudication was initiated,

    shall be awarded fees and other expenses as a prevailing party under section 504 of title 5, United States Code, in accordance with the provisions of that section, but without regard to whether the position of the Board was substantially justified or special circumstances make an award unjust. For purposes of this subsection, the term ‘adversary adjudication’ has the meaning given that term in section 504(b)(1)(C) of title 5, United States Code.

    ‘(b) COURT PROCEEDINGS- An employer who, or a labor organization that--

      ‘(1) is the prevailing party in a civil action, including proceedings for judicial review of agency action by the Board, brought by or against the Board, and

      ‘(2) had not more than 100 employees and a net worth of not more than $1,400,000 at the time the civil action was filed,

    shall be awarded fees and other expenses as a prevailing party under section 2412(d) of title 28, United States Code, in accordance with the provisions of that section, but without regard to whether the position of the United States was substantially justified or special circumstances make an award unjust. Any appeal of a determination of fees pursuant to subsection (a) or this subsection shall be determined without regard to whether the position of the United States was substantially justified or special circumstances make an award unjust.’.

SEC. 4. APPLICABILITY.

    (a) AGENCY PROCEEDINGS- Subsection (a) of section 20 of the National Labor Relations Act, as added by section 3 of this Act, applies to agency proceedings commenced on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

    (b) COURT PROCEEDINGS- Subsection (b) of section 20 of the National Labor Relations Act, as added by section 3 of this Act, applies to civil actions commenced on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.