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HORN v. $1 (05/02/58)

May 2, 1958

HORN
v.
$1,950 (ET AL., APPELLANTS).



Appeal, No. 77, Jan. T., 1958, from judgment of Superior Court of Pennsylvania, Oct. T., 1956, No. 81, in case of Adam Horn et al. v. $1,950. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Charles F. McKenna, with him Ernest G. Nassar, for appellants.

Darlington Hoopes, with him Darlington Hoopes, Jr., for appellees.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Chiedsey, Musmanno, Arnold, Jones and Cohen, JJ.

[ 392 Pa. Page 289]

OPINION PER CURIAM

The order and judgment is affirmed on the able opinion of Judge ERVIN of the Superior Court, which is reported in 184 Pa. Superior Ct. 321, 132 A.2d 376.

Mr. Justice COHEN dissents.

ING OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO:

Nothing can be more certain in the economic life of America than that the beginning of each month brings an accounting for the expenses incurred during the preceding month. It is during that first week of the new month that one receives his telephone bill, electric bill, grocery bill, doctor's bill, etc., etc. Each bill invariably covers expenditures made during the preceding month. It cannot apply to outlays for the

[ 392 Pa. Page 290]

    current month because neither the supplier nor the recipient knows how much gas will be consumed, how many loaves of bread will be eaten, and how many bottles of milk will be drunk in the month whose pages are still blank. Yet, in spite of the universality of this custom, dictated by the imperious demands of chronology, we have here a fiercely contested lawsuit involving the droll question as to whether a bill submitted on May 6, 1949, applies to the month of April or May, 1949.

On June 10, 1947, the employees of Karl Lieberknecht Company in Laureldale, Berks County, as members of Local 3688, United Steelworkers of America, entered into a two-year contract of employment (dating from May 1, 1947 to May 1, 1949) with the Lieberknecht Company under Articles of Agreement which provides in Article 2, Section 3, that: "The Company shall, on an employee's first payday of each month, deduct from the pay of such employee his union dues of One Dollar and Fifty Cents ($1.50) [later increased to $2.00] or such other amount as may be established in accordance with the Constitution of the International Union. Said deductions shall be made for all employees who have worked at least 40 hours in the preceding calendar month."*fn*

Section 5 of Article 2 directs the Company to pay, by check, the collected dues to the Secretary-Treasurer of the Union, the United Steelworkers of America, with headquarters in Pittsburgh.

It must be as obvious as "Thirty days hath September, April, June and November," that under the language of Section 3, Article 2, the first payday of the month for the employees of Local 3688, after working at least 40 hours in the preceding calendar month would be in June, 1947. That first payday could not

[ 392 Pa. Page 291]

    possibly fall in May because, in that event, the "preceding calendar month" would have to be April and, of course, the contract of employment under consideration did not exist in April. Thus, it is inescapable that the dues for May, 1947, would have to be deducted in June, 1947; the dues for June, 1947, would then be deducted in July, 1947; those for July would be deducted in August; those for August in September; for September in October; for October in November; for November in December; for December, 1947, in January, 1948; for January in February; for February in March; for March in April; and for April in May - both in May, 1948 and May, 1949.

In accordance with this undeviating schedule, Lieberknecht, at the beginning of each month, starting with June, 1947, and continuing through the life of the agreement, collected dues from the pay of each employee for each preceding month to send to the Secretary-Treasurer of the Union in Pittsburgh. On May 6, 1949, the Company deducted the dues for April, 1949, which totaled $1950, and prepared to send a check to cover the amount to the Secretary-Treasurer of the Union. Before, however, the Company could actually mail the check, Edward A. Yoe and five others representing 972 employees, whose dues had been deducted, brought an action of assumpsit in the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County against Lieberknecht for the $1950, The Union brought suit for the same sum. Lieberknecht filed a petition for interpleader, which was granted, and accordingly paid the $1950 into Court. The Union and Yoe et al. interpleaded ...


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