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MAMULA v. UNITED STEELWORKERS AMERICA. (03/17/64)

March 17, 1964

MAMULA, APPELLANT,
v.
UNITED STEELWORKERS OF AMERICA.



Appeal, No. 31, March T., 1964, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, July T., 1962, No. 3323, in case of Nicholas Mamula v. United Steelworkers of America, Local 1211, United Steelworkers of America, Louis E. Biega et al. Decree affirmed; reargument refused May 22, 1964.

COUNSEL

Harry Alan Sherman, for appellant.

James Craig Kuhn, Jr., with him Arnold D. Wilner, Ernest G. Nassar, and Wilner, Wilner and Kuhn, and Michael H. Gottesman, and Feller, Bredhoff & Anker, of the washington, D.C. Bar, for appellees.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'brien and Roberts, JJ.

Author: Cohen

[ 414 Pa. Page 295]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN

This is an appeal from the decree entered below dismissing appellant's amended complaint for failure to exhaust internal union remedies. Appellees are the United Steelworkers of America (International Union), Local 1211 of the United Steelworkers of America (Local Union), and various officers of Local Union.

It appears from the amended complaint that appellant formerly held the office of president in Local Union. In 1961, charges of misconduct were brought against him and after a hearing by a trial committee of Local Union, these charges were sustained and it was recommended that appellant be removed from office, fined $2,000, and be suspended from union membership until the fine was paid. When these recommendations

[ 414 Pa. Page 296]

    were approved by the membership of Local Union, appellant appealed to the Executive Board of the International Union in accordance with the procedure prescribed in the International Constitution.

The Executive Board on January 20, 1962, reversed appellant's suspension from union membership and remitted the $2,000 fine, but affirmed appellant's removal from office. In addition, the board stated that appellant should not be eligible to hold office for five years nor until he repaid $1,081.99, the amount of expense allegedly caused by his misconduct. Once this amount was tendered, however, the Board left open the possibility of decreasing the period of disqualification from office. Although the International Constitution permitted a final appeal to the International Convention of the Union which was scheduled to convene in September, 1962, appellant did not invoke this internal procedure but instead instituted the present suit complaining solely of his ineligibility to hold union office.*fn1 We hold that the court below correctly dismissed this action for failure of appellant to exhaust his internal union remedies.

In Falsetti v. Local Union No. 2026, United Mine Workers of America, 400 Pa. 145, 161 A.2d 882 (1960), we examined at length the basis and rationale for the general rule that a member of an unincorporated association must first exhaust his available internal remedies before seeking judicial relief. ...


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