Local 20, Teamsters Chauffeurs and Helpers Union v. Morton, No. 485

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtSTEWART
Citation12 L.Ed.2d 280,377 U.S. 252,84 S.Ct. 1253
Decision Date25 May 1964
Docket NumberNo. 485
PartiesLOCAL 20, TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS AND HELPERS UNION, etc., Petitioner, v. Lester MORTON, etc

377 U.S. 252
84 S.Ct. 1253
12 L.Ed.2d 280
LOCAL 20, TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS AND HELPERS UNION, etc., Petitioner,

v.

Lester MORTON, etc.

No. 485.
Argued April 29, 1964.
Decided May 25, 1964.

Page 253

David Previant, Milwaukee, Wis., for petitioner.

M. J. Stauffer, Sandusky, Ohio, for respondent.

Mr. Justice STEWART delivered the opinion of the Court.

The petitioner is a labor organization. The Respondent is a company engaged in the business of providing dump trucks and drivers, as a subcontractor on highway construction, with its principal place of business at Tiffin, Ohio. The petitioner represented the respondent's employees from 1950 until 1956 under an oral agreement. In 1956 the parties engaged in negotiations for a written agreement. An impasse in barg ining precipitated a strike which lasted from August to October of that year. During the strike the petitioner engaged in secondary activities involving some of the respondent's customers and suppliers, for the purpose of inducing them to cease doing business with the respondent. Claiming that these activities were unlawful both under § 303 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, 29 U.S.C. § 187,1 and

Page 254

under the common law of Ohio, the respondent sued the petitioner in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, claiming damages for business losses caused by the petitioner's allegedly unlawful conduct during the strike.

Page 255

After a trial without a jury, the District Court found that the petitioner had encouraged the employees of France Stone Co., a supplier of the respondent, and the employees of C. A. Schoen, Inc., and O'Connel Coal Co., customers of respondent, to force their employers to cease doing business with the respondent, in violation of § 303 of the federal Act.2 The court awarded the respondent some $1,600 damages for business losses cau ed by this violation of federal law.3 The court also determined that during the strike the petitioner had persuaded the management of Launder & Son, Inc., another of the respondent's customers, to refrain from doing business with the respondent. Since there had been no approach to Launder's employees, the court held that the request to Launder management was permissible activity under federal law, but ruled that this conduct violated the common law of Ohio, which, the court said, prohibits 'making direct appeals to a struck employer's customers or suppliers to stop doing business with the struck employer * * *.' The respondent was accordingly awarded almost $9,000 as compensatory damages for this violation of Ohio law.4 In addition, the court awarded the respondent more than $9,000 for the loss of a contract to haul sand for the Wilson Sand & Gravel Co., which loss had resulted from an insufficient number of drivers available during the strike to perform the contract. This award was based upon the court's reasoning that the respondent was entitled to recover damages measured by all of the profits lost as a result of the petitioner's total strike activity, so long as some of that activity was unlawful.5 Finally, the court awarded punitive damages of $15,000, although expressly finding that the petitioner's

Page 256

conduct during the strike had at all times been free of any violence.6

The Court of Appeals affirmed the award in all respects.7 Relying on the doctrine of pendent jurisdiction, Hurn v. Oursler, 289 U.S. 238, 53 S.Ct. 586, 77 L.Ed. 1148, and cases involving union violence, e.g., Flame Coal Co. v. United Mine Workers, 6 Cir., 303 F.2d 39, the appellate court concluded that '(a) nonfederal cause of action is not extinguished because a state court is preempted by federal law from providing relief,'8 and that 'punitive damages are recoverable for unlawful secondary boycott activities * * *.'9 Certiorari was granted to consider the issues of federal labor law which this case presents. 375 U.S. 939, 84 S.Ct. 348, 11 L.Ed.2d 270.

At the outset we affirm the award of compensatory damages for the violation of § 303 of the federal Act. The District Court found that 'the defendant encouraged the employees of the O'Connel Company to stop using plaintiff's trucks for the purpose of forcing or requiring the O'Connel Company to cease doing business with the plaintiff * * *.'10 This finding of a clear violation of § 303 was supported by the evidence, as was the amount of damages awarded therefor.11

With respect to the remaining components of the money judgment recovered by the respondent, the central question to be decided is whether a court, state or federal, is free to apply state law in awarding damages resulting from a union's peaceful strike conduct vis-a -vis a secondary employer, or is confined in the field of damage actions brought for union secondary activities to the specifi-

Page 257

cally limited provisions of § 303 of the federal Act. We disagree with the Court of Appeals that this question can be resolved either by reference to the doctrine of pendent jurisdiction or by reference to the line of precedents which have permitted state law to be applied in situations where union activities involving violence were present.

If the provisions of § 303 mark the limits beyond which a court, state or federal, may not go in awarding damages for a union's secondary activities, then the doctrine of pendent jurisdiction can be of no service. Pendent jurisdiction permits a federal court under some circumstances to determine a state cause of action which otherwise would have to be heard in the state court. Hurn v. Oursler, supra. But if the state court would be without authority to award damages under state law, then the doctrine of pendent jurisdiction can give 'the District Court * * * no greater power to do so.' Lauf v. E. G. Shinner & Co., 303 U.S. 323, 328, 58 S.Ct. 578, 581, 82 L.Ed. 872.

And in cases involving union violence, state law has been permitted to prevail by reason of controlling considerations which are entirely absent in the present case. '(W)e have allowed the States to grant compensation for the consequences, as defined by the traditional law of torts, of conduct marked by violence and imminent threats to the public order. International Union, United Automobile, etc., Workers v. Russell, 356 U.S. 634, 78 S.Ct. 932, 2 L.Ed.2d 1030; United Construction Workers, etc., v. Laburnum Const. Corp., 347 U.S. 656, 74 S.Ct. 833, 98 L.Ed. 1025. * * * State jurisdiction has prevailed in these situations because the compelling state interest, in the scheme of our federalism, in the maintenance of domestic peace is not overridden in the absence of clearly expressed congressional direction. * * * In the present case there is no such compelling state interest.' San Diego Bldg. Trades Council v. Garmon, 359 U.S. 236, 247—248, 79 S.Ct. 773, 781, 3 L.Ed.2d 775.

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It is the respondent's contention, however, that since the petitioner union's peaceful conduct was neither arguably protected under § 7 nor arguably prohibited under § 8 of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, the trial court was free to award damages on the basis of state law for injuries caused by this conduct. But even though it may be assumed that at least some of the secondary activity here involved was neither protected nor prohibited, it is still necessary to determine whether by enacting § 303, 'Congress occupied this field and closed it to state regulation.' International Union of United Automobile,...

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260 practice notes
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers v. Foust, No. 78-38
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 29, 1979
    ...875, 877, 6 L.Ed.2d 1 (1961), and in actions under § 303 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 187, Teamsters v. Morton, 377 U.S. 252, 260-261, 84 S.Ct. 1253, 1258-1259, 12 L.Ed.2d 280 (1964). Like the NLRA, the Railway Labor Act is essentially remedial in purpose. See supra, a......
  • Retail Prop. Trust v. United Bhd. of Carpenters & Joiners of Am., No. 12–56427.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • September 23, 2014
    ...that may also constitute secondary boycott activity. Following the reasoning of Local 20, Teamsters, Chauffeurs & Helpers Union v. Morton, 377 U.S. 252, 84 S.Ct. 1253, 12 L.Ed.2d 280 (1964), Lodge 76, Int'l Ass'n of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL–CIO v. Wis. Empl. Relations Comm'n, 4......
  • Int'l Longshore & Warehouse Union & Pac. Mar. Ass'n v. Ictsi Or., Inc., Case No. 3:12–cv–01058–SI.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Oregon)
    • March 24, 2014
    ...and condemns specific union conduct directed to specific objectives.’ ” Local 20, Teamsters, Chauffeurs & Helpers Union v. Morton, 377 U.S. 252, 258, 84 S.Ct. 1253, 12 L.Ed.2d 280 (1964) (quoting Local 1976, United Bhd. of Carpenters and Joiners of Am. v. N.L.R.B., 357 U.S. 93, 98, 78 S.Ct.......
  • New England Health Care Employees Union v. Rowland, No. Civ.A. 3-01-CV-464 J.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • September 13, 2002
    ...action. Machinists, 427 U.S. 132, 145-46, 96 S.Ct. 2548, 49 L.Ed.2d 396 (1976); Local 20, Teamsters, Chauffeurs & Helpers Union v. Morton, 377 U.S. 252, 258-59, 84 S.Ct. 1253, 12 L.Ed.2d 280 (1964). "Congress struck the `balance ... between the uncontrolled power of management and labor to ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
260 cases
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers v. Foust, No. 78-38
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 29, 1979
    ...875, 877, 6 L.Ed.2d 1 (1961), and in actions under § 303 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 187, Teamsters v. Morton, 377 U.S. 252, 260-261, 84 S.Ct. 1253, 1258-1259, 12 L.Ed.2d 280 (1964). Like the NLRA, the Railway Labor Act is essentially remedial in purpose. See supra, a......
  • Retail Prop. Trust v. United Bhd. of Carpenters & Joiners of Am., No. 12–56427.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • September 23, 2014
    ...may also constitute secondary boycott activity. Following the reasoning of Local 20, Teamsters, Chauffeurs & Helpers Union v. Morton, 377 U.S. 252, 84 S.Ct. 1253, 12 L.Ed.2d 280 (1964), Lodge 76, Int'l Ass'n of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL–CIO v. Wis. Empl. Relations Comm'n, 42......
  • Int'l Longshore & Warehouse Union & Pac. Mar. Ass'n v. Ictsi Or., Inc., Case No. 3:12–cv–01058–SI.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Oregon)
    • March 24, 2014
    ...and condemns specific union conduct directed to specific objectives.’ ” Local 20, Teamsters, Chauffeurs & Helpers Union v. Morton, 377 U.S. 252, 258, 84 S.Ct. 1253, 12 L.Ed.2d 280 (1964) (quoting Local 1976, United Bhd. of Carpenters and Joiners of Am. v. N.L.R.B., 357 U.S. 93, 98, 78 S......
  • New England Health Care Employees Union v. Rowland, No. Civ.A. 3-01-CV-464 J.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • September 13, 2002
    ...Machinists, 427 U.S. 132, 145-46, 96 S.Ct. 2548, 49 L.Ed.2d 396 (1976); Local 20, Teamsters, Chauffeurs & Helpers Union v. Morton, 377 U.S. 252, 258-59, 84 S.Ct. 1253, 12 L.Ed.2d 280 (1964). "Congress struck the `balance ... between the uncontrolled power of management and labor to......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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