SpaceX Lawsuit Against Labor Board Ordered Out of Texas Court

Manoj Prasad

On Thursday, a judge in Texas decided that SpaceX’s legal challenge against the constitutionality of the National Labor Relations Board should be transferred to California, a blow to the rocket maker’s unique legal approach.

Last month, SpaceX went ahead and filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Brownsville, Texas, which is closer to their launch facility to the south. The entire purpose of this lawsuit is to challenge the power and legitimacy of the NLRB because SpaceX is being accused of unlawfully firing some of its employees at its California headquarters. And understand this, all this happened just a few days after one of them wrote a letter criticizing the big boss, CEO Elon Musk.

But Judge Olvera in the U.S. District Court agreed with the NLRB that it was appropriate to hear the case in the Central District of California, because it is primarily about the employees and the incidents that occurred there.

Olvera noted that the action involved a California administrative proceeding involving the activities of a California company and its employees in California, so he transferred the case.

The decision blocks SpaceX’s attempt to have its case heard by Olvera, who actually supported SpaceX in a separate lawsuit against the Justice Department last year.

This decision actually harms the common legal strategy of filing cases in courts where the judge is more likely to rule in the plaintiff’s favor.

Olvera is one of two federal judges handling cases in the Southern District of Brownsville, Texas. SpaceX basically has to file in that jurisdiction and choose its own judge.

The Biden administration is not a fan of “judge shopping” tactics that take advantage of the case allocation process in Texas districts with only a handful of judges.

SpaceX claimed in its lawsuit that the NLRB administrative court process went against their constitutional right to a jury trial.

It also says that banning ousters of NLRB judges and board members goes against the separation of powers principles in the Constitution.

SpaceX basically wants to end the ongoing board case, saying they fired someone unfairly and did some questionable things, all because of a letter an employee wrote calling out Musk .

The NLRB is saying that SpaceX does not have a strong enough case for its constitutional challenges and has not proven that the proceedings actually caused any harm.

According to legal experts, moving the venue to Thursday reduces the chances for SpaceX to obtain a full judgment against the NLRB process.

The judge in the Central District of California is not actually considering broader constitutional arguments or moving away from 9th Circuit precedent that has supported the NLRB structure.

The strange SpaceX challenge is coming as the companies are dealing with multiple unionization efforts that some say are stretching the boundaries of regular labor laws.

Starbucks and Trader Joe’s are both fed up with the NLRB system and have taken a similar approach to challenging it, it’s all because of union drive.

Share This Article