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LEWIS v. HOFRICHTER

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


May 12, 1958

John L. LEWIS, Charles A. Owen and Josephine Roche, as Trustees of The United Mine Workers of America Welfare and Retirement Fund, Plaintiff,
v.
Thomas A. HOFRICHTER, individually and trading as Hofrichter Coal, Defendant

The opinion of the court was delivered by: GOURLEY

This suit in behalf of The United Mine Workers of America Welfare and Retirement Fund for breach of contract was administered by non-jury trial.

The pertinent coal tonnage figures under the terms and provisions of the divers contracts have been stipulated.

 Defendant admits the efficacy of Contract No. 3, and admits liability in this connection to plaintiff in the amount of $ 693.30. Defendant denies execution of Contracts 1, 2 and 4. It is not in dispute that if all the contracts were legally valid that defendant would owe plaintiff $ 5,078.90.

 In view of the crucial issue presented as to the authenticity of the signatures appended to the different contracts and the failure of either party to offer expert testimony upon which a conclusion might be premised, the court in an effort to secure assistance in resolving the dispute, and with the consent of the parties, invoked the services of the handwriting expert division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

 On the basis of said findings together with an evaluation of the testimony, interrogatories, exhibits and stipulations, the court enters the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

  Findings of Fact

 1. Plaintiffs and Trustees of the United Mine Workers of America Welfare and Retirement Fund of 1950, a charitable trust with its residence and place of business at 907 Fifteenth Street, Northwest, in Washington, District of Columbia. Trustee John L. Lewis is a citizen of the State of Illinois. Trustee Charles A. Owen is a citizen of the State of Florida. Trustee Josephine Roche is a citizen of the State of Colorado. Defendant Thomas A. Hofrichter is a citizen of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is engaged in certain coal mining operations in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, operating as Hofrichter Coal. Defendant Thomas A. Hofrichter resides at 279 Gilkeson Road, Pittsburgh 28, Pennsylvania.

 2. The amount in controversy, exclusive of interest and costs, exceeds $ 3,000.

 3. The said Welfare and Retirement Fund was created by contract dated March 5, 1950, between United Mine Workers of America and the Bituminous Coal Operators' Association. 4. A. Defendant produced for use or sale during the period December 1, 1950 to and including March 31, 1956, the following coal tonnage: Year Tonnage 1951 2,979 tons 1952 (January through September) 2,206 tons 1952 (October through December) 1,200 tons 1953 2,272 tons 1954 2,010 tons 1955 2,168 tons 1956 (January through March) 776 tons

19580512

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