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MYHALYK v. LEWIS (01/18/60)

January 18, 1960

MYHALYK
v.
LEWIS, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 149, March T., 1959, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Jan. T., 1959, No. 2905, in case of Mike Myhalyk v. John L. Lewis et al. Order affirmed; reargument refused March 10, 1960. Assumpsit commenced by foreign attachment. Adjudication filed dismissing defendants' preliminary objections and order entered, opinion by LEWIS, J. Defendants appealed.

COUNSEL

Alexander Unkovic, with him A. E. Kountz, and Kountz, Fry & Meyer, for appellants.

Charles E. McKissock, for appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Mcbride, JJ.

Author: Jones

[ 398 Pa. Page 396]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BENJAMIN R. JONES

The basic issue in this appeal is the amenability of the United Mine Workers of America Welfare and Retirement Fund (herein termed Fund) to a writ of foreign

[ 398 Pa. Page 397]

    attachment issued in Pennsylvania. The determination of this issue is of vast importance not only to the Fund but also to hundreds of bituminous coal miners, resident in Pennsylvania, who, in the event that the Fund is not amenable to such writ of foreign attachment in this state, would be compelled to present claims against the Fund in the District of Columbia.

Pursuant to the provisions of Section 302(c) of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947*fn1 certain bituminous coal operators and the United Mine Workers of America on March 5, 1950 entered into a written agreement which established the Fund. That agreement created the Fund as an "irrevocable trust" to be administered by three "trustees". Insofar as relevant, the stipulated facts are: (1) the office of the Fund - where its meetings are held and records maintained is in Washington, D.C.; (2) with the exception of the monthly royalties due from the coal operators, the assets of the Fund - all personalty - are located in Washington; (3) the Fund maintains two "area medical locations; in Pennsylvania - Johnstown and Pittsburgh - and numerous Pennsylvania residents have received and are receiving benefits from the Fund; (4) the Pennsylvania bituminous coal operators on the 10th of each month pay, by check, directly to the Fund's office in Washington all royalties due from them on coal mined during the preceding calendar month and such payments are deposited in the Fund's General Account in Washington; (5) the Fund has established in Washington another account known as the Pension Account utilized for the payment of pensions and annuities to beneficiaries of the Fund and "from time to time the Trustees by formal action provide for and direct the transfer of certain sums of money from the General

[ 398 Pa. Page 398]

Account ... to the said separate Pension Account" to be used exclusively for the payment of pensions; (6) on numerous occasions in order to enforce the obligation of the coal operators to pay royalties into the Fund, the Fund has instituted legal proceedings in the Western and Middle District Federal Courts in Pennsylvania.

The modus operandi of the Fund is: the bituminous coal operators each month pay into the Fund forty (40 cents) cents per ton for each ton of coal mined; from such moneys, the Fund makes disbursements (1) "for medical or hospital care, pensions on retirement or death of employees, compensation for injuries or illness resulting from occupational activity or insurance to provide any of the foregoing, or life insurance, disability and sickness insurance or accident insurance; (2) benefits with respect to wage loss not otherwise compensated for at all or adequately by tax supported agencies created by federal or State law; (3) benefits on account of sickness, temporary disability, permanent disability, death or ...


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