Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Blair County, No. 1915 of 1965, in case of Logan Valley Plaza, Inc. and Weis Markets, Inc. v. Amalgamated Food Employees Union, Local 590, AFL-CIO, John Doe and Richard Roe, said names being fictitious, et al.
John R. Strawmire, with him Emil Narick, for appellants.
Robert Lewis, with him Jackson, Lewis & Schnitzler, of the New York Bar, and Sidney Apfelbaum and John Woodcock, Jr., for appellees.
Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones. Mr. Justice Musmanno dissents. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Cohen. Mr. Justice Eagen joins in this dissenting opinion.
This appeal challenges the grant of injunctive relief the effect of which was to restrain certain picketing concededly peaceful in nature.
Logan Valley Plaza, Inc., (Logan), owns a newly-developed and large shopping center, known as the Logan Valley Mall, located at the intersection of two public highways in Logan Township near the City of Altoona, Blair County. At the time of the events related, at this shopping center only two stores were occupied, one by Weis Markets, Inc. (Weis), a concern engaged in the sale of food and sundry household
articles, and the other occupied by Sears department store and automobile service station.*fn1 The Weis property consists of the store proper, a porch and, directly in front of the porch, a parcel pick-up zone for the loading of purchased goods into customers' cars.*fn2 Directly in front of the Weis property is a very large parking lot extending toward two public highways from which highways there are entrances and exits to and from the parking lot. The parking area is owned by Logan and provided for the use of Weis, Sears and any future occupants of store properties in the shopping center. Separating this parking area from the several public highways is a fifteen foot berm.
Weis -- whose employees are not union members and were not picketing -- opened for business on December 8, 1965 and, eleven days thereafter, four pickets, members of Amalgamated Food Employees Union, Local 590, AFL-CIO, (Union), appeared.*fn3 The pickets -- ranging in number from 4 to 13 -- walked back and forth in front of the Weis store, occasionally on the porch of the store but usually in the parcel pick-up zone, on the parking lot and on the berms near the property entrances and exits. The court below found, and it is established by the evidence, that the picketing was peaceful in nature.
Ten days after the picketing began, Weis and Logan instituted an equity action in the Court of Common Pleas of Blair County and that court, ex parte, issued a preliminary injunction against the Union. That injunction restrained the Union from: (1) picketing and trespassing on Weis' property, i.e., the store proper, the porch and the parcel pick-up area; (2) picketing and trespassing upon Logan's property, i.e., the parking area and entrances and exits thereto; (3) physically interfering with Weis' business invitees entering or leaving the store or parking area; (4) violence toward Weis' business invitees; (5) interference with Weis' employees in the performance of their duties.*fn4 Four days thereafter, a hearing was held on a motion to continue the injunction and, after hearing, the court entered a decree continuing the preliminary injunction. From that decree the instant appeal was taken.
The rationale of the decision in the court below was two fold: (a) that the picketing was upon private property and, therefore, unlawful in manner because it constituted a trespass; (b) that the aim of the picketing was to compel Weis to require its employees to become members of the Union and, therefore, the picketing, albeit peaceful, was for an unlawful purpose.
Our scope of review is well settled. In Philadelphia Minit-Man Car Wash Corp. v. Building and Construction Trades Council of Phila. & Vicinity, 411 Pa. 585, 588, 589, 192 A.2d 378 (1963), we said: "The validity of the preliminary injunction is determined by the well-established rule repeated in Mead Johnson & Co.
v. Martin Wholesale Distributors, Inc., 408 Pa. 12, 19, 182 A.2d 741, 745 (1962): '"'Our uniform rule is that, on an appeal from a decree which refuses [or] grants . . . a preliminary injunction, we will look only to see if there were any apparently reasonable grounds for the action of the court below, and we will not further consider the merits of the case or pass upon the reasons for or against such action, unless it is plain that no such ...