154 Cal. 581, S. F. 4469, J. F. Parkinson Company (A Corporation) v. Building Trades Council of Santa Clara County

Docket Nº:S. F. 4469
Citation:154 Cal. 581, 98 P. 1027
Opinion Judge:BEATTY, Judge
Party Name:J. F. PARKINSON COMPANY (a Corporation), Respondent, v. BUILDING TRADES COUNCIL OF SANTA CLARA COUNTY et al., Appellants
Attorney:Cleveland L. Dam, C. S. Burnell, Austin Lewis, and R. M. Royce, for Appellants. Will M. Beggs, for Respondent.
Judge Panel:JUDGES: In Bank. Beatty, C. J. Lorigan, J., concurred. Sloss, J., Angellotti, J., concurring. Henshaw, J., and Melvin, J., concurred with Angellotti, J. Shaw, J., dissenting. SLOSS; ANGELLOTTI SHAW
Case Date:December 08, 1908
Court:Supreme Court of California

Page 581

154 Cal. 581

98 P. 1027

J. F. PARKINSON COMPANY (a Corporation), Respondent,

v.

BUILDING TRADES COUNCIL OF SANTA CLARA COUNTY et al., Appellants

S. F. No. 4469

Supreme Court of California

December 8, 1908

Page 582

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 583

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, and from an order denying a new trial. Hiram D. Tuttle, Judge.

For the reasons above stated the judgment of the superior court is reversed.

COUNSEL

Cleveland L. Dam, C. S. Burnell, Austin Lewis, and R. M. Royce, for Appellants.

Will M. Beggs, for Respondent.

JUDGES: In Bank. Beatty, C. J. Lorigan, J., concurred. Sloss, J., Angellotti, J., concurring. Henshaw, J., and Melvin, J., concurred with Angellotti, J. Shaw, J., dissenting.

OPINION

BEATTY, Judge

Page 584

[98 P. 1028] This is a suit to enjoin an alleged boycott. The plaintiff is the owner and proprietor of a lumber yard at Palo Alto in Santa Clara County, and also of a plumbing and tinning shop, mill, etc. It buys and sells lumber, building materials, and hardware, and employs laborers, teamsters, and mechanics. The principal defendant, the Building Trades Council, is a voluntary association composed of delegates from various labor unions of Santa Clara County. The other defendants are labor unions composed of artisans engaged in the various crafts concerned in building operations, the officers of the council and of the several unions and a large number of members of said unions.

The allegations of the complaint are, in brief, that the defendants for the purpose of coercing the plaintiff into the subjection of its business to their control entered into a conspiracy to compel compliance with their demands by force and intimidation, and in pursuance of said conspiracy, gave notice that unless plaintiff should agree to comply with the rules of the Building Trades Council they would declare a boycott, etc. That in consequence of plaintiff's refusal to sign a written agreement presented by the council, agents and emissaries of the defendants unlawfully and against the will of the plaintiff entered upon its premises and notified its employees that they must quit work for plaintiff on pain of being themselves boycotted and turpentined and beaten, etc., thereby causing many of its employees to quit its service; that by threatening injury to them in their business if they continued to do business with plaintiff, the defendant caused persons with whom plaintiff had been dealing to refuse to sell to it, and its customers to cease buying from it; that by these and other acts of the defendant in which they are still engaged and which they threaten to continue, plaintiff has been damaged in a large amount and will be irreparably damaged, the defendants and each of them being pecuniarily irresponsible and unable to respond in damages. A general and special demurrer to the complaint was overruled and all the defendants united in an answer denying all the material allegations of the complaint except those descriptive of the several parties and their relations to the controversy as above stated. A preliminary injunction was issued and the cause subsequently tried by the court. It was found that

Page 585

the defendants had not caused persons with whom the plaintiff had been dealing to refuse to sell to it, but upon the remaining issues generally, the findings were in favor of the plaintiff, and by the judgment and decree of the court, the defendants, all and each of [98 P. 1029] them, were enjoined "from boycotting plaintiff, that is to say from coercing others against their will to withdraw from plaintiff their beneficial business intercourse, through or by threats that unless those others do so, the defendants will cause directly and indirectly, loss to them; and to desist and refrain from forcibly or by threats of violence or intimidation, or coercion of any kind, interfering with plaintiff in the conduct of its business, or at all, and from forcibly or by threats of force or intimidation, or coercion of any kind, interfering with any person or persons doing or desiring to do business with plaintiff, and from obstructing or interfering forcibly or by threats of force or intimidation, or coercion of any kind with the business of plaintiff and its dealings with its customers or its employees, and from forcibly or by threats of force or intimidation or coercion of any kind, or in any manner, molesting, harassing, annoying, or interfering with the employees of the plaintiff at any time."

There was also a judgment for one dollar damages and costs taxed at $ 304.25.

The defendants in due time moved for a new trial upon a bill of exceptions, specifying numerous alleged errors in the rulings of the court at the trial, and numerous particulars in which it was claimed the evidence was insufficient to justify the findings. The motion for a new trial was overruled, and the appeal is from that order and from the judgment. In support of their appeal the defendants contend that the evidence is insufficient to sustain the findings of the court in material particulars, and that those findings which are sustained by the evidence will not support the judgment. They contend, also, that the findings are vitiated by the rulings admitting and rejecting evidence at the trial against their objections.

Counsel for respondent objects to any consideration of the questions raised as to the sufficiency of the evidence to justify the findings on the grounds: 1. That the appeal was not taken from the judgment within sixty days after its entry; and 2. That the defendants have failed to move under sections

Page 586

663, 663 1/2 of the Code of Civil Procedure. This objection is wholly unfounded. The defendants do not ask us to review the evidence on their appeal from the judgment, and their right to have it reviewed on their appeal from the order is not prejudiced by their failure to move under the sections cited upon the ground that the facts found do not support the judgment.

The first and most important finding of the superior court attacked upon the ground of insufficiency of the evidence to sustain it, is the following: --

" That in order to coerce, and for the purpose of coercing plaintiff into the subjection of its business to the control of said defendants, a combination and conspiracy was entered into by and between the said defendants as individuals and as members of the said defendant associations, and other persons, associations and organizations of persons unknown to plaintiff, and that said persons, defendants, associations and organizations confederated and conspired together to injure, coerce and intimidate plaintiff into compliance with the rules and regulations of said associations, organizations and union, and to the subjection of its business to the control of said defendants and said associations and unions, thus depriving plaintiff of the control and management of its said business."

The evidence does not sustain this finding except in a qualified sense, and when properly understood it presents a question of law materially different from that arising upon its literal terms. The defendants, as above stated, are the Building Trades Council of Santa Clara County, its officers and agents, several labor unions affiliated with the council, and the members of said unions. The council is composed of delegates from the affiliated unions and exercises a general control in matters of common interest to the whole body of its constituents. The unions are voluntary associations organized for the purpose of enforcing regulations which they consider necessary for their welfare. These rules cover a variety of details, including terms of admission into the unions, rates of wages, hours of labor, etc., not of especial importance in this connection, all of which the members are pledged to observe under penalty of fine or expulsion. What we are more immediately concerned with is the rule that union men are not allowed to work on the same job or in the same shop with

Page 587

non-union men, or to handle or use in their several employments material which has been supplied by a dealer who has been declared "unfair" by the council because of the employment by him of non-union workmen. The evidence in this case shows, without conflict, that the Building Trades Council of Santa Clara County, and its constituent or affiliated unions were organized, and that they adopted these and other rules before there was any controversy with plaintiff, and without any special reference to it, and that they merely put its rules in force when, as they contend, the corporation had become "unfair" and had been so declared, by reason of its retention in its employment of a tinner who had refused to join the Tinners' Union. Their combination and conspiracy, if it can be called a conspiracy, was not inspired by any malicious purpose or feeling against the plaintiff; it embraced the world at large and consisted wholly in an agreement to which all the members were pledged that they would refuse to work for any person or firm who employed non-union men, and that they would refuse to work upon or handle any material supplied by an employer of non-union men. They were, in other words, organized for the purpose of enforcing in Santa Clara County what is known as the "closed shop," and the means by which they proposed to accomplish [98 P. 1030] their object was to bind themselves by a mutual pledge to quit working for any one who should be declared "unfair," either because he employed non-union men, or because he required them to handle material supplied by an employer of such men. This being the situation on the first of February, 1904, the plaintiff corporation, which seems to have been conducting...

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