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L & J EQUIPMENT COMPANY v. UNITED MINE WORKERS AMERICA (02/01/85)

filed: February 1, 1985.

L & J EQUIPMENT COMPANY, INC.
v.
UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA, UNITED MINE WORKERS DISTRICT FOUR, AND UNITED MINE WORKERS DISTRICT FIVE. APPEAL OF UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA, UNITED MINE WORKERS DISTRICT FOUR, AND UNITED MINE WORKERS DISTRICT FIVE, THOMAS EDWARD SAMEK AND MARSHALL MORRIS



No. 620 Pittsburgh, 1984, Appeal from the Order entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Greene County, Civil No. 10 in Equity, 1983.

COUNSEL

James T. Davis, Uniontown, for appellants.

William M. Radcliffe, Uniontown, for appellee.

Rowley, Del Sole and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Rowley

[ 339 Pa. Super. Page 53]

OPINION OF THE COURT

The United Mine Workers of America, United Mine Workers Districts Four and Five (Union), Thomas Edward Samek and Marshall Morris, appeal from the Order of May 14, 1984, adjudging them in contempt of court for violating the court's previous orders of July 29, 1983 and October 14, 1983, enjoining the use or threat of force on picket lines and the prevention of ingress to and egress from the worksite of L & J Equipment Company (L & J). Pursuant to the contempt adjudication, Marshall Morris received a suspended sentence, Thomas Samek was sentenced to not less than one month or more than six months in the Greene County

[ 339 Pa. Super. Page 54]

    jail, and the Union was fined $2,500.00. Appellants argue that the contempt proceedings were in the nature of indirect criminal contempt and, thus, they were entitled to the right to be notified of the accusations against them and the right to demand a jury trial in accordance with 42 Pa.Cons.Stat. § 4136(a). Appellants further claim that the penalties imposed upon them exceeded the statutory maximums set forth in 42 Pa.Cons.Stat. § 4136(b). We agree, and therefore, we reverse the order and vacate the sentences imposed.

These proceedings were commenced by a complaint in equity filed by L & J against the Union on July 26, 1983, seeking injunctive relief against unlawful and unreasonable picketing of L & J's surface mining operation in Greene County. Thomas Samek was a rank and file union organizer assigned to the L & J picket line and Marshall Morris was a striking employee of L & J who was a picket at the worksite. Upon consideration of L & J's complaint, on July 26, 1983 a preliminary injunction was granted against unlawful picketing and the number of pickets was limited. Following hearings held on July 28 and 29, 1983, the court entered an Order enjoining the members and employees of the Union: 1) from causing or threatening the use of force on or about the picket line; 2) from exercising or using physical restraint on vehicles entering or using L & J's premises; and 3) from maintaining more than a specific limited number of pickets at main access roads. A subsequent Order finding appellants in contempt of the July 29, 1983 injunction was entered on October 14, 1983, but no sentence was imposed. The October 14, 1983 Order modified the previous Order by authorizing picketing in an area where it had previously been prohibited, enjoining the use or display of weapons at the worksite, and enjoining physical obstruction of ingress to and egress from the worksite.

Thereafter, on March 6, 1984, L & J filed a petition alleging numerous violations of the court's injunction. The petition requested that the Union be held in contempt of court and that Thomas Samek and Marshall Morris be

[ 339 Pa. Super. Page 55]

    barred from the picket line. On May 4, 1984, L & J filed a supplemental petition alleging further violations of the court's Orders regarding conduct that occurred near the worksite on April 26, 1984. The Union also filed a petition on May 4, 1984, requesting that L & J be held in contempt of the court's Orders. A hearing was held concerning the contempt petitions before Judge Glenn Toothman on May 14, 1984. The court found that Marshall Morris had obstructed the path of a delivery man to the worksite and threatened the safety of the driver and his family. Union organizer Thomas Samek was found to have assaulted Frederick Sparks, a L & J employee, causing facial lacerations and trauma of the head. At the close of the hearing the court found the Union, Marshall Morris and Thomas Samek in contempt of court. Morris received ...


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