The fourteenth defense (settlement, accord and satisfaction) meets the same hurdle.
The fifteenth defense (waiver or estoppel on the part of plaintiffs) appears to be without merit, since plaintiffs are acting in a fiduciary capacity and could not effectively, under Benedict, adversely affect the welfare of employees in the coal industry by their lack of diligence in executing their trust.
The sixteenth defense (that defendants have terminated the contracts, which were terminable at will) does not specify the date or dates of said alleged termination, and would in any event be no defense for liabilities already incurred and owing.
The seventeenth defense (that the contract provisions are applicable only to coal from particular mines) is unsound as a matter of law.
Accordingly, the foregoing defenses shall be stricken, and summary judgment with respect thereto rendered in favor of plaintiff.
This leaves in effect the following defenses:
First defense: failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Second defense: lack of jurisdiction, the dispute being one for arbitration. Judge Miller's opinion previously cited, supplemented by his memorandum of May 1, 1964, disposes of this defense.
Eighteenth defense: general denial.
(The nineteenth defense, of one defendant, repeats matters disposed of in the motion for judgment, and should likewise be stricken upon proper application by plaintiff.)
In light of the foregoing simplification of the issues, it remains to pass upon the propriety of defendants' challenged interrogatories. We first take up those of defendant Harcliff Mining Company.
The objections to interrogatories Nos. 1 and 2 are sustained, as too broad, burdensome and improper in seeking to supersede the normal pretrial practice with respect to plaintiff's contentions.
Objections to interrogatories Nos. 3 and 4 are sustained, as plaintiff has limited itself to proof of tonnage from defendants' own records. Objections to Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13 and 14 are sustained for the same reason.
Objection to No. 10 is sustained, on the ground of irrelevancy.
Objections to Nos. 15-20, 23-29 are sustained on the ground of irrelevancy under the Benedict doctrine. We should hold that these interrogatories should be answered if an appellate court should hold that Benedict was unsound or inapplicable.
Objections to Nos. 30-59, both inclusive, are sustained on the ground that they call for matters of general information, equally available to all parties, and also on the ground of irrelevancy.
Objection to No. 60 is sustained on the ground of irrelevancy.
Also pending are objections to certain interrogatories of defendant Harcliff Coal Co., Inc.
Objections to Nos. 1, 2, 32, 49, 50, 54-57, 61 and 62 are sustained; provided that if defendants contend that the claim sued upon by plaintiffs in this case has been satisfied or paid by Paul Zanotta or any other person, that matter may be made the subject of appropriate discovery if the pleadings are amended to assert payment as a defense.
Objections to Nos. 3, 41 and 42 are sustained, as they relate to a suit in another court and are irrelevant here.
Objections to Nos. 4-8 are sustained for the same reason as Nos. 1 and 2 of the prior set of interrogatories.
Objections to Nos. 10-20, 22-25 are sustained as calling for conclusions and opinions.
Objections to Nos. 26-28, 30, 35-40 are sustained on the ground of irrelevancy.
No. 43 has been adequately answered.
Objections to Nos. 45 and 46 are sustained on the ground of calling for matters of general knowledge and of irrelevancy.
Objections to Nos. 60, 63 and 69 are sustained as calling for a conclusion of law.
Objections to Nos. 65-68 are sustained on ground of irrelevancy.
Objections to Nos. 71-83 are sustained on the ground of irrelevancy under Benedict doctrine.
An order shall be entered in accordance with the foregoing.
Partial summary judgment granted.
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