245 U.S. 275 (1917), 23, Eagle Glass & Manufacturing Company v. Rowe

Docket Nº:No. 23
Citation:245 U.S. 275, 38 S.Ct. 80, 62 L.Ed. 286
Party Name:Eagle Glass & Manufacturing Company v. Rowe
Case Date:December 10, 1917
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 275

245 U.S. 275 (1917)

38 S.Ct. 80, 62 L.Ed. 286

Eagle Glass & Manufacturing Company



No. 23

United States Supreme Court

Dec. 10, 1917

Submitted December 18, 1916




In a suit to restrain alleged concerted wrongful conduct upon the part of officials of a labor union, a temporary injunction should not be granted against those who were not served and did not submit themselves to the jurisdiction.

The bill alleged that the answering defendants had constituted other persons named as defendants their agents and representatives and had assisted and were supporting them in their alleged wrongful conduct. Held, in view of specific denials and supporting affidavits, not rebutted, that the circuit court of appeals did not err in dissolving the temporary injunction.

Where an application for a temporary injunction has been submitted upon affidavits taken ex parte, without opportunity for cross-examination, and without any consent that the court proceed to final determination of the merits, it is error for the circuit court of appeals, upon interlocutory appeal, to direct a dismissal of the bill unless on its face there is no ground for equitable relief.

The plaintiff's bill set up a contract with its employees identical in form with the contract involved in Hitchman Coal & Coke Co. v. Mitchell, ante, 229, and charged defendants with the formation and pursuit of a scheme to "unionize" the plaintiff's shop by interfering with its employees similar in nature, motive, and methods to the scheme held illegal in that case. Held that the bill stated an equitable cause of action, and that it was error for the circuit court of appeals to dismiss it on interlocutory appeal without affording plaintiff an opportunity to prove the allegations upon final hearing, as against the defendants within the jurisdiction.

219 F. 719 affirmed in part and reversed in part.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 276

PITNEY, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE PITNEY delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case is quite similar to Hitchman Coal & Coke Co. v. Mitchell, ante, 229, and was submitted at the time of the argument of that case. It was a suit in equity, commenced July 28, 1913, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. This was after that court had rendered its final decree in the Hitchman case (202 F. 512), and the decree awarding a temporary injunction herein was made before the reversal of the final decree in the Hitchman case by the circuit court of appeals (214 F. 685).

The plaintiff, Eagle Glass & Manufacturing Company, is a West Virginia corporation, having its principal office and its manufacturing plant in that state. The object of the bill was to restrain the defendants, officers and members of the American Flint Glass Workers' Union, a voluntary association having its principal office at Toledo, in the State of Ohio, from interfering with the relations existing between plaintiff and its employees for the purpose of compelling plaintiff to "unionize" its factory. The original defendants, Thomas W. Rowe, Joseph Gillooly, and three others, were among the chief executive officers of the union, and were sued individually and as such officers. The federal jurisdiction was invoked on the ground of diversity of citizenship, it being alleged that all of the defendants were citizens of the State of Ohio.

Upon the filing of the bill, with numerous affidavits verifying its averments, and showing that plaintiff's factory was run as a nonunion shop under individual agreements with its employees, each employee having signed a

Page 277

paper declaring that he was not a member of the American Flint Glass Workers' Union and would not become a member while an employee of the Eagle Company, that the company agreed that it would run nonunion while he was in its employ, that, if at any time while so employed, he desired to become connected with the union, he would withdraw from the employ of the company, and that, while in its employ, he would not make any effort amongst its employees to bring about the unionizing of the plant against the company's wish; that the defendants, with notice of this, were making efforts through Gillooly as organizer, and threatening further efforts to induce some of plaintiff's employees to quit its employ, and to persuade others secretly to join the union and remain at work in plaintiff's factory contrary to the terms of their agreement until a sufficient number had joined so as to be able, by threatening to quit in a body, to compel the unionization of the shop, and that, by the activities of defendants, the plaintiff was threatened with irreparable injury; the district court granted a restraining order.

[38 S.Ct. 82] Process requiring defendants to answer the bill was promptly issued, but was served upon Gillooly alone, together with the restraining order. At the request of an attorney, a general appearance was entered for the other defendants. Gillooly filed an answer, amounting to a plea to the jurisdiction of the court, based upon the allegation that he was a resident and citizen of the State of West Virginia, and not of the State of Ohio as alleged in the bill. Upon this answer and affidavits in support of it, he moved to dissolve the restraining order and dismiss plaintiff's suit, and thereupon, on the ground that he was a citizen of West Virginia, an order was made dismissing the bill as to him, without prejudice, and retaining the suit as to the other defendants. Plaintiff moved for a temporary injunction against them, whereupon the attorney at whose request their appearance had been entered moved to strike

Page 278

it out on the ground that his request was due to...

To continue reading