Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America v. Richman Brothers

Decision Date04 April 1955
Docket NumberNo. 173,173
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Mr.William J. Isaacson, for petitioners.

Mr. Luther Day, Cleveland, Ohio, for respondent.

Mr. Philip Elman, Washington, D.C., for N.L.R.B. amicus curiae by special leave of Court.

Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

In Weber v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc., 348 U.S. 468, 75 S.Ct. 480, decided last Monday on writ of certiorari to the Missouri Supreme Court, we considered the jurisdiction of a state court to enjoin conduct which in one aspect brought it within exclusive federal authority under the Taft-Hartley Act and in another constituted a violation of a state statute against restraint of trade. In this case we have to decide the question whether, under similar circumstances, a union has open to it, without resorting to the appellate procedures of the State and eventually of this Court, jurisdiction of a federal district court to enjoin the employer from pursuing his action in the state court.

Petitioner, an unincorporated association of clothing workers, was responsible for peaceful picketing of a number of respondent's retail stores, presumably to compel its factory employees to join the union. Respondent, an Ohio corporation engaged in the manufacture and sale of men's clothing in interstate commerce, filed suit in the Court of Common Pleas for Cuyahoga County, Ohio, alleging that the union's conduct constituted a common-law conspiracy as well as a statutory and common-law restraint of trade. It prayed for temporary and permanent injunctions. The union brought proceedings to remove the case to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, claiming that the employer's petition alleged facts bringing the case within the original jurisdiction of the District Court as a civil action arising under the Taft-Hartley Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 141 et seq. 28 U.S.C. § 1337, 28 U.S.C.A. § 1337. That court remanded the action to the state court on the ground that if, as the union contended, the complaint in effect alleged a violation of § 8(b)(1)(A) of the Taft-Hartley Act, under the decision in Garner v. Teamsters, Chauffeurs and Helpers Local Union, No. 776 (A.F.L.), 346 U.S. 485, 74 S.Ct. 161, 98 L.Ed. 228, only the National Labor Relations Board had jurisdiction of its subject matter. Richman Brothers Co. v. Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, D.C., 114 F.Supp. 185, rehearing denied, D.C., 116 F.Supp. 800.

Upon remand, the union invoked the ground taken by the District Court in denying its jurisdiction in a motion to dismiss the action in the state court. This motion was denied without opinion. The union then filed this complaint in the same District Court seeking an injunction which would require the employer to withdraw the action commenced in the state court. Jurisdiction was based on 28 U.S.C. § 1337, 28 U.S.C.A. § 1337. This provision confers jurisdiction on federal courts over any civil action arising under any Act of Congress regulating interstate commerce. The union also relied on 28 U.S.C. § 1651, 28 U.S.C.A. § 1651, the all-writs section. The District Court held that under 28 U.S.C. § 2283, 28 U.S.C.A. § 2283, which prohibits federal injunctions against state court proceedings, it was without power to grant the requested relief, inasmuch as the action did not come within any of the exceptions to that general prohibition. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit unanimously affirmed, 211 F.2d 449. The jurisdictional question is plainly important in this area of federal-state relations and we granted certiorari, 348 U.S. 813, 75 S.Ct. 43.

Subsequent to the affirmance by the Court of Appeals, the Ohio Court of Common Pleas ruled favorably on the employer's motion for a temporary injunction. Rich- man Brothers Co. v. Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, Ohio Com.Pl., 116 N.E.2d 60.

1. Under the decision in Weber v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc., we may assume that the conduct in controversy is subject to whatever relief the Taft-Hartley Act may afford, and therefore is outside state authority. The question is whether a federal court may, before complaint has been entertained by the Board and at the request of one of the private parties, enjoin the attempt to secure relief through state proceedings.

We need not re-examine the series of decisions, prior to the enactment of Title 28 of the United States Code in 1948, which appeared to recognize implied exceptions to the historic prohibition against federal interference with state judicial proceedings. See Toucey v. New York Life Ins. Co., 314 U.S. 118, 62 S.Ct. 139, 86 L.Ed. 100. By that enactment, Congress made clear beyond cavil that the prohibition is not to be whittled away by judicial improvisation. Former § 265 of the Judicial Code provided:

'The writ of injunction shall not be granted by any court of the United States to stay proceedings in any court of a State, except in cases where such injunction may be authorized by any law relating to proceedings in bankruptcy.' 36 Stat. 1162.

The 1948 enactment revised as well as codified. The old section was thus embodied in the new § 2283:

'A court of the United States may not grant an injunction to stay proceedings in a State court except as expressly authorized by Act of Congress, or where necessary in aid of its jurisdiction, or to protect or effectuate its judgments.'

In lieu of the bankruptcy exception of § 265, Congress substituted a generalized phrase covering all exceptions, such as that of the Interpleader Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2361, 28 U.S.C.A. § 2361, to be found in federal statutes. Two newly formu- lated exceptions to the general prohibition deal with problems of judicial administration which had earlier been the subject of the series of decisions dealt with in the Toucey case. If confirmation of the comprehensive scope thus revealed on the face of the enactment were necessary, it is to be found in the Reviser's Notes, which state:

'An exception as to Acts of Congress relating to bankruptcy was omitted and the general exception substituted to cover all exceptions.'1

In the face of this carefully considered enactment, we cannot accept the argument of petitioner and the Board, as amicus curiae, that § 2283 does not apply whenever the moving party in the District Court alleges that the state court is 'wholly without jurisdiction over the subject matter, having invaded a field pre-empted by Congress.' No such exception had been established by judicial decision under former § 265.2 In any event, Congress has left no justification for its recognition now. This is not a statute conveying a broad general policy for appropriate ad hoc application. Legislative policy is here expressed in a clear-cut prohibition qualified only by specifically defined exceptions.

We are further admonished against taking the liberty of interpolation when Congress clearly left no room for it, by the inadmissibility of the assumption that ascertainment of pre-emption under the Taft-Hartley Act is self-determining or even easy. As we have noted in the Weber case, 'the areas that have been pre-empted by federal authority and thereby withdrawn from state power are not susceptible of delimitation by fixed metes and bounds.' 348 U.S. at page 480, 75 S.Ct. at page 487. What is within exclusive federal authority may first have to be determined by this Court to be so.

2. We turn, therefore, to the specific exemptions contained in § 2283. The first of these permits an injunction to issue 'as expressly authorized by Act of Congress'. In the present case we are directed to no 'express' authorization within even the most attenuated meaning of the term. Of course no prescribed formula is required; an authorization need not expressly refer to § 2283. But the only 'express' authorization, in the freest use of the word, to be found in the Taft-Hartley Act does not help petitioner. Congress has provided an administrative agency to pass on claims that rights granted by the Act are denied or that restrictions imposed by the Act are disregarded. Only after the Board has found such claims to be well-founded and has formulated remedies for their vindication does the jurisdiction for review by the Court of Appeals come into being. However, injunctive relief or a temporary restraining order may be obtained by the Board from the appropriate District Court, pending final adjudication by the Board, 'upon issuance of a complaint' by the Board or when there is 'reasonable cause to believe' in the truth of a charge that a party 'has engaged in an unfair labor practice within the meaning of paragraph (4)(A), (B), or (C) of section 8(b).' Congress explicitly gave such jurisdiction to the district courts only on behalf of the Board on a petition by it or 'the officer or regional attorney to whom the matter may be referred'. § 10(j), (l), 61 Stat. 149, 29 U.S.C. § 160(j, l), 29 U.S.C.A. § 160(j, l). To hold that the Taft-Hartley Act also authorizes a private litigant to secure interim relief would be to ignore the closely circumscribed jurisdiction given to the District Court and to generalize where Congress has chosen to specify. To find exclusive authority for relief vested in the Board and not in private parties accords with other aspects of the Act. See Amalgamated Utility Workers v. Consolidated Edison Co. of New York, 309 U.S. 261, 60 S.Ct. 561, 84 L.Ed. 738. Such was the authority recognized in Capital Service, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, 347 U.S. 501, 74 S.Ct. 699, 98 L.Ed. 887.

But the argument is made that to permit the state courts to proceed unchecked in their incursion upon a federally pre-empted domain dislocates the federal scheme as a whole. This argument is only a rephrasing of the suggestion that whenever Congress is found to have preempted a field by legislation § 2283 must yield. But its thrust is...

To continue reading

Request your trial
211 cases
  • Cameron v. Johnson, Civ. A. No. 1891(H).
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Mississippi
    • December 24, 1966
    ...the term injunction. Porter v. Dicken, 328 U.S. 252, 66 S.Ct. 1094, 90 L.Ed. 1203 (1946); Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America v. Richmond Bros. Co., 348 U.S. 511, 75 S.Ct. 452, 99 L.Ed. 600 (1955); Dilworth v. Riner, 343 F.2d 226 (5 Cir. 1965) (dictum); Beal v. Waltz, 309 F.2d 721 (5 Ci......
  • Wallace v. Brewer
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of Alabama
    • June 9, 1970
    ...cavil that the prohibition is not to be whittled away by judicial improvisation.' Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America v. Richman Brothers Co., 1955, 348 U.S. 511, 514, 75 S.Ct. 452, 454, 99 L.Ed. 600. It follows that a federal court must yield to the important institutional interests in......
  • Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • June 8, 1970
    ...expressed in a clearcut prohibition qualified only by specifically defined exceptions.' Amalgamated Clothing Workers v. Richman Bros., 348 U.S. 511, 515 516, 75 S.Ct. 452, 455, 99 L.Ed. 600 (1955). Since that time Congress has not seen fit to amend the statute and we therefore adhere to tha......
  • Roodveldt v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Pennsylvania
    • February 6, 1984
    ..."reinforced by a desire to avoid direct conflicts between state and federal courts." Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America v. Richman Bros., 348 U.S. 511, 518, 75 S.Ct. 452, 457, 99 L.Ed. 249 (1955). With these principles in mind, I turn to Roodveldt's motion for injunctive relief. The an......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 books & journal articles
  • Forum shopping for arbitration decisions: federal courts' use of antisuit injunctions against state courts.
    • United States
    • University of Pennsylvania Law Review Vol. 147 No. 1, November 1998
    • November 1, 1998
    ...peace, and commercial arbitration, where such a policy is irrelevant). (100) See, e.g., Amalgamated Clothing Workers v. Richman Bros., 348 U.S. 511, 518 (1955) ("The prohibition of [28 U.S.C.] [sections] 2283 is but continuing evidence of confidence in the state courts, reinforced by a desi......
  • Issues Relating to Parallel Litigation
    • United States
    • ABA Antitrust Library Business Torts and Unfair Competition Handbook Business tort litigation
    • January 1, 2014
    ...§ 2283. 136. See Leiter Minerals v. United States, 352 U.S. 220 (1957). 137. Amalgamated Clothing Workers of Am. v. Richman Bros. Co., 348 U.S. 511, 516 (1955); Desmond v. McColl (In re BankAmerica Corp. Sec. Litig.), 263 F.3d 795 (8th Cir. 2001). 138. See, e.g., Mitchum v. Foster, 407 U.S.......
  • Removal jurisdiction and the All Writs Act.
    • United States
    • University of Pennsylvania Law Review Vol. 148 No. 2, December 1999
    • December 1, 1999
    ...(220) 18 U.S.C. [subsections] 1961-68 (1994). (221) Tafflin, 493 U.S. at 458. (222) 428 U.S. 465 (1976). (223) Id. at 493-94 n.35. (224) 348 U.S. 511 (1954) (finding that the federal district court is denied power to enjoin state court proceedings under 28 U.S.C. [sections] (225) See id. at......
  • Issues Relating To Parallel Litigation
    • United States
    • ABA Archive Editions Library Business Torts and Unfair Competition Handbook. Second Edition Business Tort Litigation
    • June 23, 2006
    ...2283. 103. See Leiter Minerals, Inc. v. United States, 352 U.S. 220 (1957). 104. Amalgamated Clothing Workers of Am. v. Richman Bros. Co., 348 U.S. 511, 516 (1955); Desmond v. McColl ( In re BankAmerica Corp. Sec. Litig.), 263 F.3d 795 (8th Cir. 2001). 105. See, e.g ., Mitchum v. Foster, 40......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT