49 Cal.2d 338, 24629, Atkinson v. Superior Court

Docket Nº:24629
Citation:49 Cal.2d 338, 316 P.2d 960
Opinion Judge:[10] Traynor
Party Name:Atkinson v. Superior Court
Attorney:[7] John W. Preston, Harold A. Fendler and Daniel A. Weber for Petitioners. [8] No appearance for Respondent. [9] Bodkin, Breslin & Luddy, Henry Kaiser, Emanuel L. Gordon, Michael G. Luddy, O'Melveny & Myers, Homer I. Mitchell, Charles G. Bakaly, Jr., Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp, Guy Knupp, Loeb...
Case Date:November 05, 1957
Court:Supreme Court of California
 
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Page 338

49 Cal.2d 338

316 P.2d 960

WILLIAM (BILL) ATKINSON et al., Petitioners,

v.

THE SUPERIOR COURT OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY, Respondent

v.

THE SUPERIOR COURT OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY, Respondent

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF MUSICIANS et al., Real Parties in Interest.

L. A. No. 24629., L. A. No. 24630.

Supreme Court of California

Nov. 5, 1957

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF MUSICIANS et al., Real Parties in Interest. [L. A. No. 24630. In Bank. Nov. 5, 1957.] JOHN H. ANDERSON, JR., et al., Petitioners,

Page 339

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 340

COUNSEL

John W. Preston, Harold A. Fendler and Daniel A. Weber for Petitioners. No appearance for Respondent. Bodkin, Breslin &amp Luddy, Henry Kaiser, Emanuel L. Gordon, Michael G. Luddy, O'Melveny &amp Myers, Homer I. Mitchell, Charles G. Bakaly, Jr., Mitchell, Silberberg &amp Knupp, Guy Knupp, Loeb &amp Loeb, Alfred I. Rothman and Averill C. Pasarow for Real Parties in Interest

OPINION

TRAYNOR, J.

Separate class actions were brought by two groups of musicians attacking the validity of collective bargaining contracts between their employers and the American Federation of Musicians and certain trust agreements related thereto. One action is on behalf of the employees of various motion picture companies and the other is on behalf of the employees of various phonograph record companies. The gist of plaintiffs' complaints is that in violation of its duty as their collective bargaining agent and in fraud of their rights the federation contracted with the employers that certain royalty payments and payments for reuse of motion pictures on television should be paid to a trustee for specified trust purposes instead of to the employees.

Plaintiffs allege that these payments constitute wages earned by the employees and that their diversion to the trust is violative of their rights; that the purpose of the trust is to contribute to the public knowledge and appreciation of music throughout the United States and Canada, and the trustee is authorized and directed to expend the trust funds in presenting personal performances by instrumental musicians to

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which the public is admitted without charge; that the trust arrangement diverts wages earned by California employees, members of Local Number 47, for the benefit of federation members elsewhere without corresponding benefit to plaintiffs from the operation of similar arrangements made elsewhere; that the employers are willing to make the payments to their employees, but for their agreements with the federation to make the payments to the trustee; and that the national executive officers of the federation insisted on this arrangement for the selfish purpose of perpetuating themselves in office and of maintaining their hold and control over the affairs of the federation and used the trust fund to win the support of officials of the federation's locals and member musicians throughout the United States and Canada, who vastly out-number plaintiffs and are not employed by the employers here involved.

In each action, the federation, the trustee, and the respective employers are named as defendants. Plaintiffs seek a declaration of the invalidity of the collective bargaining agreement and their right to the payments either as beneficiaries of a constructive trust or on the ground that the payments constitute wages withheld in violation of sections 222 and 224 of the Labor Code. They also seek damages against the federation for breach of its duty to them. At the commencement of the actions they moved for the appointment of a receiver to collect the payments and preliminary injunctions to prevent the employers from making the payments to the trustee. The employers have been personally served with process in this state, and personal jurisdiction has been obtained over the federation. The trustee was served pursuant to court order by delivery of summonses and complaints and motion papers within the State of New York, but he has not appeared.

The trial court held that insofar as plaintiffs sought to intercept the delivery of payments to the trustee by the appointment of a receiver and temporary injunctions, the trustee was an indispensable party and that the court had no jurisdiction to grant plaintiffs' motions for provisional relief without personal jurisdiction over the trustee. It was careful to point out that its ruling was based solely on lack of jurisdiction and stated that "if the court had jurisdiction to do so, the exercise of a sound discretion would probably require the granting of a preliminary injunction and perhaps the appointment of a receiver. ..."

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Some of the plaintiffs in each of the actions then filed their petitions for writs of mandate in the District Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District. The Second Division of that court issued alternative writs of mandate and after a hearing filed its decision in each case "commanding respondent superior court to assume and exercise jurisdiction over petitioners' application for preliminary injunction and appointment of receiver as prayed herein." Petitions for hearing by the real parties in interest, the defendant employers and federation, were then granted by this court.

The writ of mandate is an appropriate remedy unless an appeal from each order denying the motion for a preliminary injunction constitutes "a plain, speedy, and adequate remedy." (Code Civ. Proc., section 1086; Financial Indem. Co. v. Superior Court, 45 Cal.2d 395, 399 .) Petitioners alleged in their petitions before the District Court that the remedy by appeal was not adequate because of the necessity of prompt action to prevent further movement of funds out of the jurisdiction of the superior court. Since no purpose but delay would be served at this time by reviewing the District Court's decision that the remedy by appeal...

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