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LOWE v. JONES. (06/01/64)

June 1, 1964

LOWE, APPELLANT,
v.
JONES.



Appeal, No. 57, March T., 1964, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, April T., 1962, No. 2198, in case of J. W. Lowe v. George Washington Jones, United States Steel and Carnegie Pension Fund. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Frank A. McFarran, Jr., with him Kenney, Stevens, Hill & Clark, for appellant.

J. Tomlinson Fort, with him Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, for garnishee, appellee.

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

Author: Musmanno

[ 414 Pa. Page 467]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

On March 31, 1956, George Washington Jones, being then over 65 years of age and having had more than 15 years of continuous service as a steelworker with the Tennessee Coal and Iron Division of the United States Steel Corporation, retired to his home in Crawford, Mississippi, there to enjoy the remaining years of his life assured of the necessities of life because of a pension paid to its employees by the United States

[ 414 Pa. Page 468]

Steel Corporation through contract with the United Steelworkers of America, of which he was a member.

On June 14, 1957, Jones became indebted to J. W. Lowe of Birmingham, Alabama on a judgment in the sum of $6,000 entered in an action at law, whose details here are irrelevant. Lowe, through counsel, initiated an action of foreign attachment in assumpsit in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, naming the United States Steel and Carnegie Pension Fund, a Pennsylvania corporation, as garnishee. The garnishee Fund filed preliminary objections averring that Jones' pension was not subject to attachment. The court of common pleas sustained the objections and Lowe appealed.

In this action Lowe seeks to obtain payment of his judgment from the pension payments due Jones. On July 1, 1954, the United States Steel Corporation had entered into a pension agreement with the United Steelworkers of America (Jones' bargaining representative) whereby Jones would be entitled to a pension without any contributions by him. In order to administer this pension agreement the corporation negotiated a trust agreement with the Carnegie Pension Fund, a separate legal entity, whereby the corporation would provide the Fund with assets which the Fund would distribute in accordance with the pension agreement and certain rules which were incorporated by reference into the trust agreement.

The indicated pension agreement contained the following (sometimes called spendthrift) provisions: "(2) Assignment, pledge or encumbrance of any kind of pensions will not be permitted or recognized under any circumstances. Pensions shall not be subject to attachment or other legal process for debts of the pensioners. (3) No employee prior to his retirement under conditions ...


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