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International Brotherhood of Teamsters v. Western Pennsylvania Motor Carriers Association

decided: September 25, 1981.

INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS, WAREHOUSEMEN AND HELPERS OF AMERICA, LOCAL 249 APPELLEE
v.
WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA MOTOR CARRIERS ASSOCIATION APPELLANT



APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA D.C. Civil No. 76-00815

Before Hunter, Sloviter, Circuit Judges, and Stapleton,*fn* District Judge.

Author: Hunter

Opinion OF THE COURT

This is an appeal from an order of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, holding appellant, Western Pennsylvania Motor Carriers Association ("the Association") in civil contempt for failure to comply with a previous injunctive order of that court. The district court directed appellant to pay the appellee, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, Local 249 ("Local 249") reasonable attorney's fees incurred in prosecuting the contempt proceedings. The court also denied the Association's motion to modify the order giving rise to the contempt. We will affirm.

I.

Local 249 has been involved in a protracted labor dispute with the Association over a trucking industry practice known as "spotting." As we have explained in a previous opinion in this controversy, spotting is a practice "whereby a carrier may instruct a driver to leave his trailer at a specified location, and not to remain with it while it is being loaded or unloaded. The driver may then be assigned to other duties." International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 249 v. Western Pennsylvania Motor Carriers Ass'n, 574 F.2d 783, 785 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 439 U.S. 828, 99 S. Ct. 102, 58 L. Ed. 2d 122 (1978). Spotting is prohibited within Local 249's jurisdiction, Allegheny County, except at a few mutually designated terminal facilities. In all other counties of Western Pennsylvania, collective bargaining agreements with Teamsters locals permit spotting.

On July 3, 1975, the Association submitted a request to the Eastern Conference Joint Area Committee ("ECJAC") seeking relief from the spotting restrictions within Allegheny County. The ECJAC is a joint labor-management committee created pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement between the Association and various Teamsters locals, including Local 249. It is charged with the responsibility of resolving certain disputes between employers and local unions. In May, 1976, the ECJAC rendered a decision eliminating all restrictions on spotting in Allegheny County.

On June 18, 1976, Local 249 initiated an action against the Association in district court under section 301(a) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. ยง 185(a) (1976), seeking to set aside the decision of the ECJAC, and by injunction, to reimpose the former prohibition against spotting in Allegheny County. The district court denied injunctive relief and dismissed the complaint, holding that the ECJAC's decision, as that of an arbitrator, was not reviewable in federal court. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 249, v. Western Pennsylvania Motor Carriers Ass'n, 430 F. Supp. 1258 (W.D.Pa.1977). This court reversed, holding that because the ECJAC lacked jurisdiction over the spotting dispute, its award would be vacated. We remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings, including "the entry of an appropriate injunction." Local 249, 574 F.2d at 789.

Following this court's decision, the parties agreed to a proposed injunction. The district court, by order of October 16, 1978, and with the consent of both parties, entered an injunction which provided:

2. The Defendant (the Association), its agents, employees, officers and all persons acting with or on their behalf, and the employers represented by the Defendant, their agents, employees, officers and all persons acting with or on their behalf, are hereby permanently enjoined from "spotting' trailers within the Defendant's jurisdiction except where there has been specific mutual agreement with the Plaintiff (Local 249) allowing trailers to be "spotted.'

3. That the Defendant, its agents, employees, officers and all persons acting with or on their behalf and the employers represented by the Defendant, their agents, employees, officers, and all persons acting with or on their behalf, are permanently enjoined from requiring any and all employees represented by Plaintiff to spot trailers in any area which has not been mutually agreed to between the Plaintiff and Defendant.

Appendix at 73a. The Association was also ordered "to do all acts and things necessary to communicate the contents of this (order) to the parties set forth in Paragraphs 2 and 3 hereof." Id. at 74a.

The Association moved for clarification of the injunction on November 26, 1979. In the papers supporting its motion, the Association contended that the prohibition on spotting had been meant to apply only to its Allegheny County members, that is, those carriers maintaining terminal facilities in Allegheny County. It noted that Local 249 had taken the position that the order prohibited spotting by all Association members, regardless of whether they maintained terminal operations within Allegheny County. The Association urged the district court to "clarify its Order to unequivocally state that the injunction only prohibits Association members who maintain terminal operations in Allegheny County from spotting except where mutually agreed upon by the parties to this action." Docket Entry No. 20 at 4. The district court heard argument on January 11, 1980; it denied the motion from the bench, indicating "its view that the consent injunction merely meant what it purported to state, i. e., spotting by all members of (the Association) is prohibited in Allegheny County." Appendix at 68a.

On May 15, 1980, Local 249 moved for an order to show cause why the Association should not be held in contempt of the district court's injunction. The union averred that five members of the Association had spotted trailers within Allegheny County without prior agreement. In response, the Association asserted, as it had in its motion to clarify, that the five named members were not bound by the injunction because they did not maintain terminals in Allegheny County. The Association then moved to amend the injunction to reflect its position with respect to non-Allegheny County members.

The district court issued a memorandum opinion on August 14, 1980, holding the Association in civil contempt for failing to notify all of its members of the terms of the injunction. The court awarded damages in the form of attorney's fees to Local 249 to defray the cost of prosecuting the contempt proceedings. The court ...


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