agreement as the price of continued violation of the injunction
Defendant also contends 'that the punishment for civil contempt is limited, by fine, to the pecuniary injury sustained by plaintiff.'
Since no evidence was offered to prove that plaintiff suffered loss, damage or expense because of defendant's acts, defendant argues that a fine cannot be imposed. We think his contention is correct as far as it goes, but in civil contempt, a court may also impose a coercive fine conditioned upon defendant's compliance and enforce it in the event of a violation.
Further, defendant in this argument seems to forget the fact that he consented to the decree of January 9, 1957 which imposed the compensatory fine of $ 250 and the coercive fine of $ 750. Presumably, the propriety of the amounts fixed by the parties was determined by them to be such as was appropriate, first, to compensate plaintiff for past violations; second, to induce future compliance;
and, third, to compensate plaintiff in the event of disobedience within one year
Decrees consented to by parties having the capacity to contract are valid and enforceable according to their terms; indeed, in absence of fraud or mistake, amounts fixed in the consent decree of January 3, 1957 cannot now be altered, and no fraud or mistake is alleged.
To permit defendant to escape payment of the fine to which he agreed, we would have to hold that consent decrees entered in civil contempt proceedings are either voidable or unenforceable. This we will not do
In order to prevent continued contumacy by defendant, plaintiff requests that another coercive fine be imposed. In absence of evidence of defendant's present financial resources, we are of the opinion that this may not be done.
The criminal aspects of the violations of the injunction will be referred to the United States Attorney for appropriate action.
Conclusions of Law
1. Since January 9, 1957, to-wit, on July 2, 1957 and July 9, 1957, defendant, through his employee, has willfully and knowingly offered for sale and sold at retail the plaintiff's fair-traded commodities at prices which are lower than those established pursuant to plaintiff's fair trade agreements.
2. Said sales were in violation of the Pennsylvania Fair Trade Act and of the order of this court dated December 20, 1954.
3. Said sales constituted a breach of the condition of the suspension of part of the fine imposed by order of court dated January 9, 1957 and the suspended balance of $ 750 is immediately due and payable, under the terms and by force of said order of January 9, 1957, to which defendant agreed and consented.
4. The purpose of the fine imposed conditionally by the order of January 9, 1957 was to force the defendant into compliance with the court's order of December 20, 1954.
5. Considering the character and magnitude of the harm threatened by the continued contumacy of the defendant, the probable effectiveness of the fine to bring about the result desired, and the consent of the defendant thereto, the sum of $ 750 was not excessive or unreasonable.
6. Since there was no evidence offered by the plaintiff to prove its expenses in bringing the matter before the court for judgment, no compensation for this item should be allowed.
7. In absence of evidence of defendant's financial resources, a coercive fine may not be imposed to enforce future compliance with the injunction of December 20, 1954.
8. The defendant is in contempt of court by reason of said sales referred to in findings of fact 9 and 10 and should be required to pay to General Electric Company the suspended balance of $ 750, the taxable costs of the hearing held on September 23, 1957, and counsel fees in the sum of $ 150; and should stand committed until the foregoing is paid, or he is otherwise discharged according to law. See: Parker v. United States, 1 Cir., 1946, 153 F.2d 66, 70, 163 A.L.R. 379; Norstrom v. Wahl, 7 Cir., 1930, 41 F.2d 910; Nichols, Cyclopedia of Federal Procedure, Forms Vol. 3, 93.12.