« AnteriorContinuar »
Opinion of the Court.
ERROR to a judgment of the Circuit Court of Appeals which affirmed a judgment of the District Court entered on a verdict directed for the defendants, in an action for treble damages under the Anti-Trust Act. For the opinion of this Court on a former review, see 259 U. S. 344.
Mr. Henry S. Drinker, Jr., with whom Messrs. James B. McDonough and Edwin A. Lucas were on the briefs, for plaintiffs in error.
Mr. William A. Glasgow, Jr., with whom Messrs. G. L. Grant and Henry Warrum were on the brief, for defendants in error.
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE TAFT delivered the opinion of the Court.
This is a suit for damages for the effect of an alleged conspiracy of the defendants unlawfully to restrain and prevent plaintiffs' interstate trade in coal in violation of the first and second sections of the Federal Anti-Trust Act. The charge is that the defendants, in 1914, for the purpose of consummating the conspiracy, destroyed valuable mining properties of the plaintiffs. Treble damages and an attorney's fee are asked under the seventh section of the Act. The suit was brought in the District Court for the Western District of Arkansas. The plaintiffs are the Bache-Denman Coal Company and eight other corporations, in each of which the first named owns a controlling amount of stock. One of them is the Coronado Company, which gives the case its name. The corporations were correlated in organization and in the physical location of their mines. They had been operated for some years as a unit in the Prairie Creek Valley in Sebastian County, Arkansas. Immediately after the destruction of the property the District Court in a proper proceeding appointed receivers for the mines, and they or their successors are also parties to this suit. The original com
Opinion of the Court.
plaint was filed in September, 1914. It was demurred to, and the demurrer sustained. On error in the Court of Appeals the ruling was reversed. Dowd v. United Mine Workers of America, 235 Fed. 1. The case then came on for trial on the third amended complaint and the 'answers of the defendants. The trial resulted in a verdict of $200,000 for the plaintiffs, which was trebled by the court, and a counsel fee of $25,000 and interest to the date of the judgment were added. The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment as to interest, but in other respects affirmed it. 258 Fed. 829. On error from this Court under § 241 of the Judicial Code, the judgments of both courts were reversed, and the cause remanded to the District Court for further proceedings. The opinion is reported in 259th United States, 344. The new trial, in October, 1923, resulted in a directed verdict and judgment for the defendants, which was affirmed by the Circuit Court of Appeals. The case is here on error for a second time.
In our previous opinion we held that the International Union, known as the United Mine Workers of America, the union known as United Mine Workers, District No. 21, and the subordinate local unions which were made defendants, were, though unincorporated associations, subject to suit under the Anti-Trust Act, but that there was not sufficient evidence to go to the jury to show participation by the International Union in the conspiracy and the wrongs done. We found evidence tending to show that District No. 21 and other defendants were engaged in the conspiracy and the destruction of the property, but not enough to show an intentional restraint of interstate trade and a violation of the Anti-Trust Act. The plaintiffs contend that they have now supplied the links lacking at the first trial against each of the principal defendants.
The Bache-Denman mines lie near the west line of Arkansas, next to Oklahoma. In all the Arkansas mines,
Opinion of the Court.
except a small one, union miners were engaged. The towns of the neighborhood-Hartford, Huntington, Midland, Frogtown and others were peopled by them. District No. 21 was a regional organization of the United Mine Workers which included Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. Mr. Bache as manager of the plaintiffs' mines had been operating them for a number of years with union labor and under a District No. 21 contract and scale of wages, which did not expire until July 1, 1914. In March of that year he determined to run his mines thereafter on a non-union or open basis, and notified Pete Stewart, the president of the District No. 21, that he intended to do so. He shut down his mines and prepared to open them on an open shop basis on April 6th. He anticipated trouble. He employed three guards from the Burns Detective Agency and a number of others to aid him. He bought a number of Winchester rifles and ammunition, and surrounded his principal mining plant at Prairie Creek, No. 4, with cables strung on posts. He had notices prepared and sent to his employees who occupied the company's houses that they should vacate unless they remained in his employ. He sent out for non-union men and had gathered some thirty or more for the day fixed for the opening. The people in all that part of the country were urged by the members of the local unions to come to a meeting at the school house, a short distance from the Prairie Creek mine, for a public protest. The meeting appointed a committee to visit the superintendent and insist that the mine remain a union mine. The guards, directed not to use their guns save to defend their own lives, were at the mercy of the union miners, who assaulted them, took their guns away and injured a number of them. The employees deserted the mine, which filled with water upon the stopping of the pumps. One of the crowd went up to the top of the coal tipple and planted a flag on which was the legend, “This is a union man's country."
Opinion of the Court.
Mr. Bache obtained from the federal District Court an injunction against the union miners and others taking part in this lawless violence, including among them the President of No. 21, Pete Stewart, and Holt, its SecretaryTreasurer. Bache then prepared to resume mining. The work progressed under the protection of United States deputy marshals. Meanwhile non-union miners and other employees were brought in from out of the State. The United States marshals were after some weeks withdrawn from the property and only private guards were retained. Meanwhile the water had been pumped out and the mining and shipping of coal were about to begin. A large force of union miners of the local unions and of District No. 21, and their sympathizers, armed themselves with rifles and other guns furnished and paid for by the District No. 21 organization, and before day on July 17th began an attack upon the men whom Bache had brought together, and proceeded to destroy the property and equipment. It was a battle, in which two of the employees of the mine, after capture, were deliberately murdered, and not only gunfire and bullets but also dynamite and the torch were used to destroy all the property on the premises of the Prairie Creek Mine and of three of the other mines of the plaintiffs.
First. Is there any evidence in the present record tending to show that the International Union of the United Mine Workers participated?
Under Article 16 of the constitution of the International Union, it is provided, Section 1:
“No district shall be permitted to engage in a strike involving all or a major portion of its members, without the sanction of an International Convention or the International Executive Board."
“ Districts may order local strikes within their respective districts on their own responsibility, but where local
strikes are to be financed by the International Union, they must be sanctioned by the International Executive Board.”
It does not appear that the International Convention or Executive Board ever authorized this strike or took any part in the preparation for it or in its maintenance, or that they ratified it by paying any of the expenses. It came within the definition of a local strike in the constitutions of both the national and district organizations. The district organization made the preparations and paid the bills. It was sought on both trials to bring the International in by proving that the President of the national body, John P. White, was in Kansas City and heard of the trouble which had taken place on April 6 at Prairie Creek, and that he reported it to the International Board; and further that in May he made a long speech at a special convention of District No. 21, held at Fort Smith, Arkansas, for the trial of one of its officers for corruption, in which he referred with earnest approval to the great international union strikes in Colorado and West Virginia, but made no specific allusion to the Prairie Creek difficulty. It was also argued that communications from outsiders and editorials published in the United Mine Workers' journal giving an account of the occurrence at Prairie Creek, and representing that the troubles were due to the aggression of the armed guards, and that the action of the union men was justified in defense of their homes, expressed such sympathy with the union men as to constitute a ratification by the International Union because the United Mine Workers' journal was an authorized publication of the Union.
There were introduced at both trials long accounts of speeches and votes at national conventions of the International Union and meetings between union operators and representatives of the International Union from 1898 to 1914, revealing a constant effort on the part of the