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ROE v. OPERATION RESCUE

December 23, 1989

JANE ROE, ET AL.
v.
OPERATION RESCUE, ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: NEWCOMER

 CLARENCE C. NEWCOMER, United States District Judge

 Presently before the court is plaintiffs' motion for civil contempt. After a hearing on the matter held on December 18, 1989, the motion is now ripe for adjudication.

 I. Procedural Background

 The pertinent provisions of each of the aforementioned injunctions read as follows:

 
Defendants, the officers, directors, agents and representatives of defendants, and all other persons acting in concert with them are enjoined and restrained in any manner or by any means from:
 
(a) trespassing on, blocking, obstructing ingress or egress from any facility at which abortions are performed in the City of Philadelphia or metropolitan area (including the City of Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Cherry Hill, New Jersey) and,
 
(b) physically abusing or tortiously harassing persons entering, leaving, working at, or using any services at any facility at which abortions are performed in the City of Philadelphia and metropolitan area (including the City of Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Cherry Hill, New Jersey) provided that: (i) "sidewalk counseling", consisting of reasonably quiet conversation of a non-threatening nature conducted by not more than two people for each person they are seeking to counsel, shall not be prohibited; (ii) no one is required to accept or listen to "sidewalk counseling" and should anyone decline such counseling, that person shall have the absolute right to leave or walk away without harassment; (iii) "sidewalk counseling" as defined here shall not limit the right of the Police Department and/or the United States Marshal to maintain public order by reasonably necessary rules and regulations as they decide are necessary at any particular demonstration site.

 II. Civil Contempt -- Legal Standard

 Civil contempt is remedial in nature and its purpose is to benefit the complainant. Latrobe Steel Co. v. United Steelworkers of America, 545 F.2d 1336, 1343 (3rd Cir. 1976); CBS Inc. v. Pennsylvania Record Outlet, Inc., 598 F. Supp. 1549, 1557 (W.D.Pa. 1984). Civil contempt proceedings are instituted primarily on motion of the plaintiff and are part of the underlying action. Latrobe, 545 F.2d at 1343-44.

 Courts use civil contempt both to compensate losses or damages sustained by reason of noncompliance with a court order and to coerce future compliance. McDonald's Corp. v. Victory Investments, 727 F.2d 82, 87 (3rd Cir. 1984); CBS Inc., 598 F. Supp. at 1557; Calvin Klein Co. v. Fashion Indus. Inc., 221 U.S.P.Q. 81, 83 (D.N.J. 1982). Thus, the broad category of civil contempt consists of compensatory or remedial actions which seek to compensate the complainant for damages caused by past acts of disobedience, and coercive actions which are designed to aid the complainant by bringing the defiant party into compliance with the court's order. Latrobe, 545 F.2d at 1344.

 To establish civil contempt, a plaintiff must prove the following elements by clear and convincing evidence: (1) that a valid order of the court existed; (2) that the defendants had knowledge of the order; and (3) that the defendants disobeyed the order. Calvin Klein Co., at 83. A person is liable for civil contempt if he violates a court order with actual notice that the order has been issued. Quinter v. Volkswagen of America, 676 F.2d 969, 973 (3rd Cir. 1982). It is not necessary, however, that the person be formally served with the order or that the violation be willful or intentional. Id.

 None of the parties has challenged the validity or the existence of the applicable injunctions or restraining orders. Thus, the following discussion focuses on the remaining two ...


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