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SOLVENT MACHINERY AND FILTER SYSTEMS v. TEAMSTERS LOCAL NO. 115 AFFILIATED WITH INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD TEAMSTERS (01/17/85)

submitted: January 17, 1985.

SOLVENT MACHINERY AND FILTER SYSTEMS, INC., APPELLEE,
v.
TEAMSTERS LOCAL NO. 115 AFFILIATED WITH THE INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS, WAREHOUSEMEN AND HELPERS OF AMERICA, AN UNINCORPORATED ASSOCIATION ON BEHALF OF ITSELF AND ALL ITS MEMBERS AND JOHN P. MORRIS, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS SECRETARY-TREASURER OF TEAMSTERS LOCAL NO. 115 AND JAMES OLIVER, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ORGANIZING REPRESENTATIVE OF TEAMSTERS LOCAL 115 AND THOMAS LAHART AND ERIC BUXBAUM AND JOHN DOE AND JANE DOE, PICKETS, APPELLANTS



An Appeal from the Order of the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas, Docket No. 82-7633-06-5. Civil Division.

COUNSEL

Norton H. Brainard, III, Philadelphia, for appellants.

Spaeth, President Judge, and Del Sole and Johnson, JJ. Spaeth, President Judge, files a dissenting opinion.

Author: Del Sole

[ 343 Pa. Super. Page 506]

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County which issued a preliminary injunction on October 14, 1982 against Teamsters Local 115, and certain named union officials and defendant pickets unnamed in the order. The president and owner of Solvent

[ 343 Pa. Super. Page 507]

Machinery and Filter Systems, Inc., Appellee, had announced on October 11, 1982 that the plant had been sold and would be closed immediately for the purpose of taking inventory. The following day, on October 12, 1982, a picket line was established by Appellants to protest the termination of their employment. The employer then sought an injunction in the Court of Common Pleas by filing a Complaint in Equity. On October 14, 1982, a hearing was held at which witnesses for both sides testified. The court issued an injunction from which order this appeal was taken. Appellants seek reversal of the order, and they seek damages for the losses incurred, legal costs and reasonable counsel fees, arguing that the trial court lacked the authority to issue the injunction under the Labor Anti-Injunction Act, 43 Pa.C.S.A. § 206a et seq.

The trial court found that the Labor Anti-Injunction Act did not apply under the circumstances of this case, citing § 206d(d) which provides that the Act does not apply in cases:

[w]here in the course of a labor dispute as herein defined, an employee, or employees acting in concert, or a labor organization, or the members, officers, agents or representatives of a labor organization or anyone acting for such organization, seize, hold, damage, or destroy the plant, equipment, machinery, or other property of the employer with the intention of compelling the employer to accede to any demands, conditions, or terms of employment, or for collective bargaining.

43 Pa.C.S.A. § 206d(d).

Upon review of the record, we find that the trial court's application of the law to the facts in this case is erroneous. The section of the statute quoted above requires that employees or their organization seize, hold, damage or destroy property with the intention of compelling the employer to accede to their demands [emphasis added]. In this case, there was no evidence that property

[ 343 Pa. Super. Page 508]

    was seized.*fn1 There was minimal evidence of property damage presented at the hearing, and no evidence that the defendants perpetrated the property damage. There was absolutely no evidence presented by either side which linked the property damage to an intention to compel the Appellee to do anything -- in fact, the record does not reveal precisely what the Appellants' demands were. We find therefore that this case is governed by the Labor Anti-Injunction Act.

We turn then to § 206i of the Act which sets forth the conditions under which an injunction may be issued. This section provides that an injunction may only be issued when the court finds:

(a) That unlawful acts have been threatened and will be committed unless restrained, or have been committed and will be continued unless restrained, but no temporary or permanent injunction or temporary restraining order shall be issued on account of any threat or unlawful act, excepting against the person or persons, association or organization, making the threat or committing the unlawful act, or actually authorizing or ratifying the same after actual knowledge thereof.

(b) That substantial and irreparable injury to complainant's property will follow unless the ...


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