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CAHN v. INTERNATIONAL LADIES' GARMENT UNION

March 13, 1962

Mac J. CAHN and Sidney L. Schiro d/b/a Fashionality Blouses
v.
INTERNATIONAL LADIES' GARMENT UNION, Philadelphia Dress Joint Board of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, Fashion Apparel Manufacturers of Philadelphia, William Ross and G. Allan Dash, Jr



The opinion of the court was delivered by: DUSEN

On November 29, 1956, the individual plaintiffs were the principal stockholders and owners of Sidele Fashions, Inc., a manufacturing company, and were members of the Fashion Apparel Manufacturers of Philadelphia (hereinafter called the 'Association'). On that date, the Association and the defendant unions entered into a collective bargaining agreement which bound all employers then members of the Association. The contract ran from the above date to January 31, 1960. A dispute arose during the term of the contract between Sidele Fashions, Inc. and the Joint Board, one of the defendants in this case, and the Joint Board demanded arbitration under the terms of the contract. *fn1" Sidele challenged the jurisdiction of the arbitrator and the union brought an action to compel arbitration. Sidele, although conceding the validity of the appointment of defendant Dash as Impartial Chairman, argued that he was not impartial and that one or more of the contract provisions which the union sought to enforce were illegal. This court granted the union's motion for judgment on the pleadings and ordered Sidele to proceed to arbitration. See Philadelphia Dress Joint Board v. Sidele Fashions, Inc., 187 F.Supp. 97 (E.D.Pa.1960). *fn2" The matter was arbitrated and a decision handed down on July 19, 1961, by defendant Dash. See CCH 61-3 Arb.Par. 8701. Sidele not having complied with the terms of the decision, the union filed a suit, which is now pending in this court, to confirm the award. See Philadelphia Dress Joint Board v. Sidele Fashions, Inc., Civil Action No. 30256. *fn3"

 Defendant Dash has brought three Motions which are now before the court: a Motion to Dismiss, a Motion For More Definite Statement of Plaintiffs' Claim, and a Motion to Drop Defendant.

 I. MOTION TO DISMISS

 Plaintiffs have stated that the action against defendant Dash is at present confined to paragraphs 12(h), (i) and (j) of the Complaint. *fn5" These sections allege that a combination and conspiracy existed, consisting of a continuing agreement and concert of action among all the defendants to:

 '(h) Harass, unlawfully and improperly, manufacturers of woman's apparel in the Philadelphia area who were not members of the Association with the purpose of compelling said manufacturers to become and remain members of the Association.

 '(i) Use the office of Impartial Chairman, filled since on or about February, 1959, by defendant G. Allan Dash, Jr. as an instrument of force and coercion to compel Plaintiffs and other Association members unlawfully to adhere to and maintain contract provisions, customs and practices which were and are violations of the Statute Laws of the United States particularly the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and other Federal Statutes relating to monopolistic practices, thereby aiding, abetting and accomplishing the conspiracy alleged herein.

 '(j) Procure and arrange for the Impartial Chairman to inflict heavy fines and penalties on Plaintiffs and others in order to prevent Plaintiffs and others from operating freely and economically in the market place.'

 The basis of Dash's Motion to Dismiss is that the Complaint fails to state a cause of action against him, since, as an arbitrator duly appointed and acting within his jurisdiction, he is immune from civil liability for all acts done in his capacity as an arbitrator.

 A judge cannot be sued civilly for any act which he does in the performance of his duties, even if the act was deliberate and malicious. Bradley v. Fisher, 13 Wall. 335, 347, 80 U.S. 335, 347, 20 L. Ed. 646 (1872); Allen v. Biggs, 62 F.Supp. 229, 230 (E.D.Pa.1945). It has been said that to impose civil liability on judges in the performance of their civil duties would produce utter chaos in the judicial system. Ginsberg v. Stern, 125 F.Supp. 596, 602 (W.D.Pa.1954), aff'd. on other grounds, 225 F.2d 245 (3rd Cir.1955).

 This rule of immunity extends to quasijudicial officials and those so closely associated with the judicial process that their protection from harassment is necessary in order to protect the judicial process. See Cooper v. O'Connor, 69 App.D.C. 100, 99 F.2d 135, 141, 118 A.L.R. 1440 (D.C.Cir.1938); Hohensee v. Goon Squad, 171 F.Supp. 562, 568, 569 (M.D.Pa.1959).

 Defendant Dash was the arbitrator who presided over the charges against Sidele and the defendant unions. *fn6" There is no allegation that he was not properly appointed or that, in deciding the pertinent matter before him involving Sidele, he acted outside his jurisdiction. *fn7"

 It has been held that an arbitrator is not liable in a civil action for damages for an award alleged to have been made by him fraudulently and corruptly. See, e.g., Jones v. Brown, 54 Iowa 74, 6 N.W. 140 (1880). It was stated in Hoosac Tunnel Dock & Elevator Co. v. O'Brien, 137 Mass. 424 (1884), at page 426:

 'An arbitrator is a quasi judicial officer, under our laws, exercising judicial functions. There is as much reason in his case for protecting and insuring his impartiality, independence, and freedom from undue influences, as in the case of a judge or juror. The same considerations of public policy apply, and we are of opinion that the same ...


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