Simo v. UNITE-SW, 322 F.3d 602 (9th Cir. 2003)

Twenty-five garment workers brought suit against their union and its officials after the union allegedly engaged in secondary pressure to remove work from their factory. Among other things, the workers alleged that the union had intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon them. The Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of the union on the emotional distress claim. The Court found that seven of the workers had failed to demonstrate “severe emotional distress,” others had failed to show causation (i.e., that they suffered emotional distress due to the harassing conduct of the union as opposed to the loss of their jobs or income) and that the remaining claimants had failed to establish sufficiently outrageous conduct on the part of the union. The Court found that the union’s conduct was exactly “the type of robust language and clash of strong personalities that may be commonplace in various labor contexts.”