SpaceX Fights Against Sending Lawsuit from Texas to California

SpaceX is intensifying its fight for its rights in court. The company bolstered its claims that the judge was wrong by moving its lawsuit challenging the structure of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from Texas to California. SpaceX emphasized that “plaintiffs are allowed to prefer forums with favorable case law.”

In a filing with the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, SpaceX explained its position. According to it, while the case may have closer ties to California, it has implications for the entire company, whose operations are largely concentrated in Texas.

Federal law “does not confine the venue to the ‘best’ venue,” SpaceX said, according to Reuters.

Late last week, the company filed an emergency petition in the 5th Circuit. It came a day after US District Judge Rolando Olvera in Brownsville, Texas, transferred the case to Los Angeles. In California, SpaceX is facing claims before a labor board. On Tuesday, the 5th Circuit temporarily blocked the transfer to consider the petition.

SpaceX filed the lawsuit last month, one day after the NLRB filed a complaint against the company. The NLRB accused the company of illegally firing eight employees. In the federal lawsuit, SpaceX said the complaint should be dismissed because the agency’s structure violates the “separation of powers” established in the US Constitution. It is asking the court to stop the NLRB from proceeding against it using the agency’s own system of administrative law judges in a way that SpaceX argues is unconstitutional.

“The NLRB proceedings against SpaceX deprive it of its constitutional right to trial by jury,” SpaceX said in the suit.

Complaints from NLRB prosecutors are reviewed by agency judges. Their decisions can be appealed to members of the NBRB in Washington and then to federal court. SpaceX’s suit argues the agency judges lack sufficient presidential oversight, and that “to prevent SpaceX from undergoing protracted administrative proceedings before an unconstitutionally structured agency,” the NLRB’s case against it should be put on hold.

Starbucks, Amazon.com , and Trader Joe’s also made similar arguments in pending board cases. Two Starbucks baristas have filed separate lawsuits challenging the structure of the board’s structure.

The NLRB said Thursday that the 5th Circuit does not have the ability to hear the petition because SpaceX must first ask the Los Angeles court to transfer the case back to Texas. SpaceX responded by saying that this was not realistic, noting that as of Friday morning, the case had not yet been brought to a California court. The company is seeking to block the hearing in the NLRB case, scheduled for March 5.

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