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PHILADELPHIA MARINE TRADE ASSOCIATION v. INTERNATIONAL LONGSHOREMEN'S ASSOCIATION ET AL. (07/02/73)

decided: July 2, 1973.

PHILADELPHIA MARINE TRADE ASSOCIATION
v.
INTERNATIONAL LONGSHOREMEN'S ASSOCIATION ET AL., APPELLANTS



Appeals from decrees of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Oct. T., 1971, No. 1769, in case of Philadelphia Marine Trade Association v. International Longshoremen's Association et al.

COUNSEL

Martin J. Vigderman, with him Abraham E. Freedman, and Freedman, Borowsky and Lorry, for appellants at Nos. 128, 165, 176, 177 and 178.

Richard Kirschner, with him Richard H. Markowitz, Robert M. Rowlands, and Wilderman, Markowitz & Kirschner, for appellants at No. 175.

Francis A. Scanlan, with him William R. Deasey, R. Thomas McLaughlin, and Kelly, Deasey & Scanlan, for appellee.

Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice O'Brien. Mr. Chief Justice Jones concurs in the result.

Author: O'brien

[ 453 Pa. Page 45]

These appeals arise from a preliminary injunction and contempt citations entered against an international and several local unions by the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia. The injunction and contempt citations were issued against some of the unions (the Longshoremen) for violation of a no-strike clause in a collective bargaining agreement which had allegedly been extended by mutual consent. Other unions (the Seafaring Unions) were cited for contempt because

[ 453 Pa. Page 46]

    they allegedly induced the Longshoremen to violate the injunction.

The request for the injunction had originally been filed in the United States District Court, which denied the injunction. Appellee, Philadelphia Marine Trade Association (the Association), then filed suit in the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia County, which granted the injunction. The Longshoremen, appellants, then sought and were denied the dissolution of the injunction in the United States District Court.

After a series of hearings, the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia issued contempt citations against appellant unions for their failure to comply with the preliminary injunction issued by the chancellor. These appeals followed.

Appeal No. 128

Appellants first allege that the Association's failure to secure an injunction in the United States District Court was res judicata. However, in order for either collateral estoppel or res judicata to apply, there must be a question of fact essential to the judgment actually litigated and determined by a valid and final judgment. Makariw v. Rinard, 336 F. 2d 333 (3d Cir. 1964).

In the instant case, the United States District Court never made a final determination as to the existence of a union contract, but stated that if a contract did exist, the court would be hesitant to grant the injunction due to the court's concern over the provisions of the Norris-LaGuardia Act.

Appellants next allege that the state court did not have jurisdiction to entertain the request for an injunction. According to appellants, § 4 of the Norris-LaGuardia Act*fn1 and § 301 of the Labor-Management Relations

[ 453 Pa. Page 47]

Act*fn2 pre-empted the field of labor relations and divested the state courts of any power to issue injunctions in labor disputes. However, the chancellor based his decision to issue the injunction on the premise that a valid contract was in existence between appellants and the Association. It is settled law that state courts and federal courts have concurrent jurisdiction to enjoin violations of a collective bargaining agreement. Boys Markets v. Clerks Union, 398 U.S. 235 (1970).*fn3

Appellants also argue that the state court lacked jurisdiction due to the fact that the Association had a request for an injunction pending in United States District Court. This argument is without merit. In Princess Lida v. Thompson, 305 U.S. 456, 466 (1939), the Supreme Court said: ". . . where the judgment sought is strictly in personam, both the state court and the federal court, having concurrent jurisdiction, may proceed with the litigation at least until judgment is obtained in one of them. . . ." See also Tampa Phosphate R. Co. v. Seaboard Coast Line R. Co., 418 F. 2d 387 (5th Cir. 1969), and Morell Estate, 426 Pa. 528, 233 A.2d 522 (1967).

Since the state courts have the power to entertain the request for a preliminary injunction, we must consider appellants' contention that the court below erred in finding that a valid collective bargaining agreement existed between the Association and appellants.

The facts surrounding the dispute are as follows: The collective bargaining agreements between the Association and the Longshoremen's Locals ran from October 1, 1968 to September 30, 1971. On September 20, 1971, Mr. Alfred Cory, Executive Secretary of the

[ 453 Pa. Page 48]

Association, wrote a letter to Mr. James Moock, an International Longshoremen's Association International Vice President, offering to extend the existing collective bargaining agreements with the various Longshoremen's unions until the end of the Presidential Wage and Price Freeze, November 12, 1971.

On September 21, 1971, Mr. Moock wrote a letter to Mr. Cory stating that the various ILA Locals in Philadelphia intended to continue working after October 1, 1971, based on extensions of the existing collective bargaining agreements. This letter was apparently written in response to the possible diversion of Philadelphia-bound cargo to Montreal and its purpose was to insure the existence of sufficient work for the unions after September 30, 1971.

Relying on Mr. Moock's letter, Mr. Cory notified the Association members on September 21, 1971, that the contract had been extended, and on September 22, 1971, issued a press release, approved by Mr. Moock, stating that the agreement had been reached to extend the contract until November 12, ...


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