Independent Tape Merchant's Association v. Creamer, Civ. No. 72-73.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtSHERIDAN
Citation346 F. Supp. 456
PartiesINDEPENDENT TAPE MERCHANT'S ASSOCIATION, Plaintiff, v. J. Shane CREAMER, Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Leroy S. Zimmerman, District Attorney for Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, and as Class Representative on behalf of each and every District Attorney in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Defendants, and Recording Industry Association of America, Inc., Intervenor Defendant.
Docket NumberCiv. No. 72-73.
Decision Date24 July 1972

346 F. Supp. 456

INDEPENDENT TAPE MERCHANT'S ASSOCIATION, Plaintiff,
v.
J. Shane CREAMER, Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Leroy S. Zimmerman, District Attorney for Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, and as Class Representative on behalf of each and every District Attorney in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Defendants,
and
Recording Industry Association of America, Inc., Intervenor Defendant.

Civ. No. 72-73.

United States District Court, M. D. Pennsylvania.

July 24, 1972.


346 F. Supp. 457
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
346 F. Supp. 458
James L. Fisk, Washington, D. C., for plaintiff

J. Shane Creamer, Atty. Gen. of Pennsylvania, Lawrence T. Hoyle, Jr., Barton Isenberg, Deputy Attys. Gen., Harrisburg, Pa., for defendants.

Ralph S. Snyder, C. Gary Wynkoop, Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, Philadelphia, Pa., Howard S. Smith, Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp, Los Angeles, Cal., Jules E. Yarnell, Laporte & Meyers, New York City, for intervenor defendant.

SHERIDAN, Chief Judge.

In this action plaintiff, Independent Tape Merchant's Association, contends that a statute of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 18 P.S. § 4878.1 (Supp., 1972), is unconstitutional because it attempts to grant an unlimited copyright to producers of sound recordings and is therefore in direct conflict with 17 U. S.C.A. §§ 1(f), 1 nt., 5(n), 19, 20, 26, 101(e) (Supp., 1972) (originally enacted as the Act of October 15, 1971, Pub. L. No.92-140, §§ 1-3, 85 Stat. 391). Originally, plaintiff filed a motion for a temporary restraining order; the motion was denied on March 10, 1972. Plaintiff presently seeks a declaration that the state law is invalidated by the Supremacy Clause; and it seeks, preliminarily and permanently, to enjoin state officials from criminally prosecuting its members and from otherwise interfering with their sales of sound recordings in interstate commerce. In support of its request for equitable relief,

346 F. Supp. 459
plaintiff argues that criminal prosecution of its members is imminent and that prosecution will yield irreparable harm by creating a multiplicity of harassing and vexatious litigation and by destroying the business which plaintiff's members have developed in Pennsylvania

Jurisdiction is asserted under 28 U.S.C.A. § 1338.1 Since federal preemption is the only ground upon which the Pennsylvania statute is alleged to be invalid, and since the basic analysis therefore involves a comparison of the relevant statutes to determine whether they conflict, a three-judge court is not proper. Swift & Company, Inc. v. Wickham, 1965, 382 U.S. 111, 86 S.Ct. 258, 15 L. Ed.2d 194; Miller v. Anckaitis, 3 Cir. 1970, 436 F.2d 115.

Defendants are J. Shane Creamer, Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Leroy S. Zimmerman, District Attorney of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, and as class representative on behalf of each and every District Attorney in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; and the Recording Industry Association of America, Inc., which was permitted to intervene pursuant to Rule 24 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendants and intervenor defendant filed responsive pleadings in which they affirmatively contend, inter alia, that the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted because the relevant statutes do not conflict and, even assuming that they do, the allegations therein do not entitle plaintiff to either injunctive or declaratory relief. Briefs have been submitted; and, no factual issue having been raised, a hearing was held at which oral argument was made with respect to both the preliminary and the permanent injunction. Fed.Rules Civ.Proc. Rule 65(a) (2), 28 U.S.C.A. In rendering a decision, the propriety of injunctive and declaratory relief will be considered separately.

The court assumes, without deciding, that plaintiff is a proper representative party to seek to enjoin prospective state prosecutions of its members and that plaintiff's allegations of imminent prosecution constitute a sufficient threat of enforcement to confer standing upon it to seek injunctive relief. Younger v. Harris, 1971, 401 U.S. 37, 91 S.Ct. 746, 27 L.Ed.2d 669; Boyle v. Landry, 1971, 401 U.S. 77, 91 S.Ct. 758, 27 L.Ed.2d 696; Burak v. Sprague, E.D.Pa.1971, 335 F.Supp. 347. It is nonetheless apparent that an injunction would be improper.

A federal court should not enjoin threatened state prosecutions except when necessary to prevent irreparable harm which is great and immediate. Douglas v. City of Jeannette, 1943, 319 U.S. 157, 63 S.Ct. 877, 87 L.Ed. 1324; Watson v. Buck, 1941, 313 U.S. 387, 61 S.Ct. 962, 85 L.Ed. 1416; Fenner v. Boykin, 1926, 271 U.S. 240, 46 S.Ct. 492, 70 L.Ed. 927; Cooley v. Endictor, N.D. Ga.1971, 340 F.Supp. 15; Becker v. Thompson, N.D.Ga.1971, 334 F.Supp. 1386, aff'd, 5 Cir. 1972, 459 F.2d 919; cf. Younger v. Harris, supra; Hopson v. Asch, 3 Cir.1972, 457 F.2d 79. Plaintiff has alleged that a failure to enjoin state officials from prosecuting will yield a multiplicity of harassing and vexatious litigation. However, the exercise of equitable discretion to avoid a multiplicity of litigation is restricted to cases in which there would otherwise be a necessity for numerous suits between the same parties involving the same issues; it does not ordinarily extend to cases involving numerous parties in which the issues between them and the state are not necessarily identical. Douglas v. City of Jeannette, supra. On

346 F. Supp. 460
the contrary, it is clear that the cost, anxiety, and inconvenience which any of plaintiff's members may suffer in defending against a single criminal prosecution brought in good faith cannot in itself constitute irreparable harm. Douglas v. City of Jeannette, supra; accord, Younger v. Harris, supra. Moreover, the mere allegation of the threat of prosecution falls far short of establishing irreparable harm if the state is allowed to prosecute in the normal manner. Beal v. Missouri Pacific Railroad Corp., 1941, 312 U.S. 45, 61 S.Ct. 418, 85 L.Ed. 577; Musick v. Jonsson, 5 Cir. 1971, 449 F.2d 201; Landreth v. Hopkins, N.D.Fla.1971, 331 F.Supp. 920; cf. Boyle v. Landry, supra

Relative to plaintiff's contention that prosecution will destroy the business which its members have developed in Pennsylvania, it suffices to say that no one is immune from prosecution, in good faith, for his alleged criminal acts. Beal v. Missouri Pacific Railroad Corp., supra. At no time has plaintiff alleged that prosecutions are being threatened in bad faith or for the purpose of harassment. Without such an allegation, there is no basis for a finding of irreparable harm. Cooley v. Endictor, supra; Becker v. Thompson, supra; cf. Younger v. Harris, supra.

There is an additional consideration which is significant with respect to injunctive relief. In Younger v. Harris, supra, 401 U.S. at 41, 91 S.Ct. 746, the Supreme Court expressly reserved judgment regarding the circumstances in which federal courts may enjoin state officials when there is no state prosecution pending at the time the federal suit is filed. However, the principle upon which the doctrine of non-intervention is based, viz., the notion of comity which requires that the equitable discretion of federal courts be exercised with scrupulous regard for the rightful independence of state governments, Younger v. Harris, supra, 401 U.S. at 44, 91 S.Ct. 746, applies with special force in the instant proceeding. The Pennsylvania law became effective on January 10, 1972, with the enforcement provisions which plaintiff seeks to enjoin to be activated several months thereafter. 18 P.S. §§ 4878.1(e), (f) (Supp., 1972). This action was filed on February 14, 1972. Admittedly, the filing of the complaint was timed to coincide with the respective effective dates of the relevant state and federal statutes and to confer jurisdiction on this court before the activation of the state enforcement provisions. Brief for plaintiff at 5. It would be manifestly disruptive of Pennsylvania's administration of its criminal laws for this court to enjoin state officials from initiating prosecution in a case which was filed under circumstances intended to absolutely preclude state officials from ever exercising prosecutorial discretion. Ordinarily there should be no interference with state prosecuting officials; they are charged with prosecution, and must decide how and when it is to be done. Fenner v. Boykin, supra. This is not a case in which the policy enunciated in Younger v. Harris, supra, should apply with greatly diminished force because it appears that Pennsylvania is purposefully refusing to prosecute, relying upon the mere existence of its law to deter conduct which is arguably protected by the Constitution. Wulp v. Corcoran, 1 Cir.1972, 454 F.2d 826. Rather, it is reasonable to assume that prosecutions will be commenced expeditiously, thereby promptly vindicating any rights of plaintiff's members which the Pennsylvania statute is found to infringe.

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  • Bykofsky v. Borough of Middletown, Civ. No. 75-74.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • February 18, 1975
    ...1416; Fenner v. Boykin, 1926, 271 U.S. 240, 46 S.Ct. 492, 70 L.Ed. 927; Independent Tape Merchant's Association v. Creamer, M.D.Pa.1972, 346 F.Supp. 456, 459-460; cf. Lewis v. Kugler, 3 Cir. 1971, 446 F.2d 1343.5 In addition, the Supreme Court's description of declaratory relief as a milder......
  • Registrar & Transfer Co. v. Director of Division of Taxation, Dept. of Treasury
    • United States
    • Superior Court of New Jersey
    • February 28, 1978
    ...suit." Ewing v. Trenton, 137 N.J.Eq. 109, 110, 43 A.2d 813, 814 (Ch.1945); accord, Independent Tape Merchant's Ass'n v. Creamer, 346 F.Supp. 456, 461 (M.D.Pa.1972) (not to "be granted if its issuance appears calculated to reward the winner of a race to the courthouse"); Donad......
  • Ryder Truck Rental, Inc. v. Rollins, No. S-92-1134
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • July 1, 1994
    ...defensively to bag in advance an imminent and impending law suit." See, also, Independent Tape Merchant's Association v. Creamer, 346 F.Supp. 456 (M.D.Pa.1972) (not to be granted if issuance appears calculated to reward winner of race to Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the dist......
  • Ohio Cas. Co. v. Jackson County Bank, No. 82-C-854.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Western District of Wisconsin
    • April 14, 1983
    ...320 (1st Cir.1974), a result contrary to the purpose of declaratory relief. See also Independent Tape Merchant's Association v. Creamer, 346 F.Supp. 456, 461 5 Although this Court cannot dictate trial strategy, presumably if the Bank obtains a judgment against Mr. Nelson, it would look to t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
10 cases
  • Bykofsky v. Borough of Middletown, Civ. No. 75-74.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • February 18, 1975
    ...1416; Fenner v. Boykin, 1926, 271 U.S. 240, 46 S.Ct. 492, 70 L.Ed. 927; Independent Tape Merchant's Association v. Creamer, M.D.Pa.1972, 346 F.Supp. 456, 459-460; cf. Lewis v. Kugler, 3 Cir. 1971, 446 F.2d 1343.5 In addition, the Supreme Court's description of declaratory relief as a milder......
  • Registrar & Transfer Co. v. Director of Division of Taxation, Dept. of Treasury
    • United States
    • Superior Court of New Jersey
    • February 28, 1978
    ...suit." Ewing v. Trenton, 137 N.J.Eq. 109, 110, 43 A.2d 813, 814 (Ch.1945); accord, Independent Tape Merchant's Ass'n v. Creamer, 346 F.Supp. 456, 461 (M.D.Pa.1972) (not to "be granted if its issuance appears calculated to reward the winner of a race to the courthouse"); Donad......
  • Ryder Truck Rental, Inc. v. Rollins, No. S-92-1134
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • July 1, 1994
    ...defensively to bag in advance an imminent and impending law suit." See, also, Independent Tape Merchant's Association v. Creamer, 346 F.Supp. 456 (M.D.Pa.1972) (not to be granted if issuance appears calculated to reward winner of race to Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the dist......
  • Ohio Cas. Co. v. Jackson County Bank, No. 82-C-854.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Western District of Wisconsin
    • April 14, 1983
    ...320 (1st Cir.1974), a result contrary to the purpose of declaratory relief. See also Independent Tape Merchant's Association v. Creamer, 346 F.Supp. 456, 461 5 Although this Court cannot dictate trial strategy, presumably if the Bank obtains a judgment against Mr. Nelson, it would look to t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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