RIPPLE, Circuit Judge.
This case is a petition for review of a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) order denying the application of K & I Transfer & Storage and City Cartage and Moving for fees and expenses under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA).
Respondents K & I Transfer and City Cartage transport freight in interstate commerce. They share a facility in Evansville, Indiana, "administer a common labor policy affecting the employees working at that locale[,] interchange personnel and utilize common supervision." R. 1 at 2. They were found to be joint employers of the employees at the Evansville facility. We shall refer to them collectively as "the Company."
On August 5, 1982, the Chauffeurs, Teamsters and Helpers Local Union No. 215 a/w International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America (the Union) filed a representation petition seeking certification as the exclusive bargaining representative of the employees of the Company. The NLRB held a hearing to determine the appropriate bargaining unit. The Regional Director of the NLRB issued a decision and direction of election. An election was held on October 7, 1982. Nine employees voted for Union representation; ten voted against. The Union challenged three of the ballots cast, a number great enough to affect the outcome of the election. The Union objected to Company conduct that it claimed affected the election results. The Union also raised unfair labor practice charges against the Company. The conduct that formed the basis of the unfair labor practice charges filed by the Union was essentially the same conduct that formed the basis of the Union's election objections.
The General Counsel of the NLRB issued a complaint against the Company alleging several violations of the National Labor
The Regional Director ordered that the representation case be consolidated with the unfair labor practice case and scheduled a hearing for February 14, 1983. The hearing was rescheduled for April 18, 1983 because of inclement weather. At the beginning of the hearing on April 18, the General Counsel moved to amend the complaint by adding an allegation that the Company had unlawfully interrogated employees through its counsel. The administrative law judge granted this motion and allowed a continuance to the Company so that it could respond to this additional allegation. The Company then filed with the Board a request for special permission to appeal the granting of the General Counsel's motion to amend. While this request was pending, the General Counsel moved to withdraw the amendment. The administrative law judge granted this motion. The hearing was resumed on July 19 and continued through July 21.
The administrative law judge held in favor of the Company on every allegation of the complaint. The General Counsel presented testimony from two employees and one former employee of the Company. The administrative law judge explained that his findings and conclusions were based largely on the fact that he chose to credit the explanations offered by the Company's witnesses rather than those offered by the General Counsel's witnesses. The NLRB filed no exceptions to this decision, and on October 17, 1984, the NLRB issued an order adopting the administrative law judge's decision and dismissing the complaint.
On November 14, 1984, the Company filed an application for an award of fees and expenses under the EAJA and section 102.143 of the Board's Rules and Regulations. It claimed $20,569.72 in attorneys' fees and expenses which were incurred in defending the Company in these proceedings. The General Counsel moved to dismiss the application on the ground that the General Counsel's position in the unfair labor practice proceeding was substantially justified. On January 2, 1985, the Company requested further proceedings in the EAJA case so that it could discover additional evidence contained in the General Counsel's case files.
The administrative law judge then issued a supplemental decision. He recommended the denial of the Company's application for fees and expenses because he found that the General Counsel's position was substantially justified within the meaning of the EAJA. This conclusion was based on the fact that the findings in the underlying proceeding rested primarily upon credibility determinations. The administrative law
The parties agree that the question of whether attorneys' fees should be awarded to the Company turns on whether the position of the General Counsel in the underlying litigation was substantially justified. They are also in agreement that the inquiry as to whether the General Counsel was substantially justified must encompass not only an evaluation of the General Counsel's legal position in proceedings before the Board but also the actions that led to the litigation. At one time, there was considerable ambiguity as to whether the inquiry should include this latter factor — the actions which led to the litigation. See Temp Tech Industries, Inc. v. NLRB, 756 F.2d 586, 589-90 (7th Cir.1985). As the General Counsel notes in her brief, the 1985 amendments to the EAJA have made it clear that the inquiry must include this factor. Nor is there any question as to the retroactivity of these amendments.
The Company alleges that the Board erred in denying its request for further proceedings to address specific evidence in support of its contention that the position of the General Counsel was not substantially justified. However, as the Third Circuit noted in Dougherty v. Lehman, 711 F.2d 555, 561 (3d Cir.1983), "[n]othing in the Act or its legislative history requires that independent or separate evidence — distinct from the record of proceedings on the merits — is required in order to satisfy the government's burden of proof." Accord Lauritzen v. Lehman, 736 F.2d 550, 559 n. 12 (9th Cir.1984). Indeed, section 504(a)(1) specifically directs that "[w]hether or not the position of the agency was substantially justified shall be determined on the basis of the administrative record, as a whole, which is made in the adversary adjudication for which fees and other expenses are sought." Moreover, in response to the express concerns of the President that clarifying the term "position of the United States" to include underlying agency action could lead to lengthy litigation on how the agency's position was formulated,
The Company next argues that the NLRB's December 11, 1985 order adopting the findings and conclusions of the administrative law judge violated 5 U.S.C. § 557(c)(3)(A).
The Company's claim regarding the Board's failure to address its application for fees incurred in its opposition to the General Counsel's motion to amend the complaint presents a difficult problem. The NLRB order does not address this claim at all. Moreover, we do not agree with the NLRB that this was a collateral contention that did not require discussion in the NLRB's order. See Respondent's Br. at 28 (citing Minneapolis & St. Louis R.R. v. United States, 361 U.S. 173, 193-94, 80 S.Ct. 229, 241-42, 4 L.Ed.2d 223 (1961); Sellersburg Stone Co. v. Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, 736 F.2d 1147, 1150 (7th Cir.1984); Trailways, Inc. v. I.C.C., 676 F.2d 1019, 1022 (5th Cir.1981)). We are also unwilling to hold that the order "implicitly rejected" this contention. Respondent's Br. at 28. While our scope of review under this statute is admittedly a limited one, we can hardly fulfill our responsibilities unless we have before us the determination of the Board. We therefore remand this case to the NLRB so that it may provide this court with its "findings and conclusions, and the reasons or basis therefore, on all material issues of fact, law, or discretion presented on the record." 5 U.S.C. § 557(c)(3)(A). Until this has been done, it would be inappropriate for this court to review the remainder of the order.
Only section 504 applies in this case. 5 U.S.C. § 504(a)(1) (Supp. III 1985) provides:
This is the current version of § 504(a)(1) which became effective on August 5, 1985. To the extent it is pertinent to the resolution of this case, the issue of the retroactivity of this statute is discussed in the text.