February 4, 2013 / 7:36 PM / 4 years ago

US nursing home operator seeks stay, cites NLRB recess appointees

2 Min Read

WASHINGTON, Feb 4 (Reuters) - A company that operates nursing homes in Connecticut asked on Monday for the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in an employment dispute, citing legal confusion over President Barack Obama's appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.

HealthBridge Management, LLC wants the high court to stay a preliminary injunction imposed by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny of the District of Connecticut in December.

The injunction required the company to reinstate workers while the NLRB considers the employees' complaint. The almost 700 employees had been on strike, citing unfair labor practices.

The stay application filed on Monday cites a Jan. 25 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in which the court held that three appointments Obama made to the board last year were invalid.

The president did not have the authority to make so-called "recess appointments," which allow the White House to circumvent the Senate confirmation process, because the Senate was not technically in recess at the time, the court said.

That meant that the NLRB does not have the required quorum to make decisions, casting into doubt various adjudications made since the appointments were made in January 2012.

In Monday's court filing, HealthBridge's attorney, Paul Clement, said it was likely the high court will review the D.C. Circuit ruling.

"It makes little sense for the courts to order immediate action at the behest of the board here when the board's ability to act is in profound doubt and will be addressed by this court," Clement wrote.

The stay application is now before Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She could decide how to proceed herself or refer the issue to the full court. (Editing by Howard Goller and Kenneth Barry)

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