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MIDLAND BOROUGH v. MIDLAND POLICE DEPARTMENT (05/05/72)

decided: May 5, 1972.

MIDLAND BOROUGH
v.
MIDLAND POLICE DEPARTMENT, ET AL.



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County in case of Borough of Midland v. Midland Police Department, American Arbitration Association and Thomas J. McDermott, No. 1531 of 1970. Appeal transferred from the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, October 18, 1971.

COUNSEL

Charles M. Marshall, with him Good and Marshall, for appellant.

Robert E. Kunselman, with him Reed, Sohn, Reed & Kunselman, for appellees.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 5 Pa. Commw. Page 463]

The Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County denied the Borough of Midland a preliminary injunction which sought to prevent an arbitration hearing involving the representatives of the Borough and its Police Department. Collective bargaining between the parties had begun on or about June 10, 1970, according to Act of June 24, 1968, P.L. , No. 111, §§ 1-10, 43 P.S. §§ 217.1-217.10 (Act 111), in which they undertook to negotiate contract terms for the year 1971. On July 22, 1970, the Police rejected an offer made by the Borough and a request for arbitration followed under Act 111, § 3, 43 P.S. § 217.3.*fn1

Subsequently, both parties appointed representatives to the panel and on September 21, 1970, a request was made of the American Arbitration Association to

[ 5 Pa. Commw. Page 464]

    provide a list from which the third arbiter could be selected. A third arbiter was selected on October 21, 1970 and on October 31, 1970, he suggested a meeting date of December 8, 1970, which satisfied both parties.

On December 7, 1970, the Borough came to the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County with the petition for the preliminary injunction in question, asserting that the arbitration was not timely set in accordance with the provisions of Act 111.

The Court below denied the petition on the ground that the Borough had failed to establish irreparable injury. We hold that the order of the lower court must be affirmed.

The Borough argued that a preliminary injunction must be allowed because the three-member Board of Arbitration, by fixing the arbitration hearing on December 8, 1970, did not set a date which commenced within ten days after selection of the third arbiter as required by Act 111. This contention is not appropriate to a preliminary injunction. We are concerned here not with the merits of the underlying arbitration controversy, but rather whether the lower court abused its discretion in refusing to allow the preliminary injunction to issue. See Berman v. Philadelphia, 425 Pa. 13, 16, 228 A.2d 189 (1967).

As stated by Mr. Justice Roberts in Berman, supra, at 17, "We recognize that on appeal from the refusal to grant a preliminary injunction, this Court will not interfere with the discretion of the hearing judge as long as there are any apparently reasonable grounds for its action. Rubin v. Bailey, 398 Pa. 271, 137 A.2d 882 (1960). Furthermore, an injunction will only issue when the rights of the plaintiff are clear, there is an urgent necessity to avoid injury ...


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