American Federation of Musicians v. Carroll

PETITIONER: American Federation of Musicians
LOCATION: South Boston Court

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1967-1969)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 391 US 99 (1968)
ARGUED: Mar 04, 1968
DECIDED: May 20, 1968

Facts of the case


Media for American Federation of Musicians v. Carroll

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 04, 1968 in American Federation of Musicians v. Carroll

Earl Warren:

American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, et al., petitioners versus Joseph Carroll et al. and number 310, Joseph Carroll et al., petitioners versus American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada et al.

Ronald Rosenberg:

May it please the Court.

This case is before Your Honors on cross petitions for certiorari to the Second Circuit.

In case 309, the American Federation of Musicians and its logo late 02 seek reversal of the Court of Appeals holding to which Judge Friendly had decided that certain of the Unions regulations constitute price fixing and violation of the antitrust laws.

In case number 310, the plaintiffs four professional musicians challenged the Circuit Court's unanimous decision that a host of other practices which they had challenged and which the District Court had dismissed, did not constitute -- did not constitute violations of the antitrust laws.

The plaintiffs had raised an entire series of violations of the antitrust laws which both courts below categorized into set -- eight separate categories but it is to the allegation that the unions violated the antitrust laws, the predicate of the majority opinion of the Second Circuit and to the contention that the unions violate the antitrust laws by accepting so called orchestra leaders into membership that I will address to my remarks primarily.

The second point that the unions violate the antitrust laws by seeking and even coercing orchestra leaders into membership, I will address myself to my opening remarks because in our view, it sheds light on the basic contention in case number 309, the price fixing charge and indeed in our opinion, the answer to the question is to whether or not the union may admit the so called orchestra leaders into membership is in fact conclusive analytically under this Court's decision of the question of whether or not the unions may legitimately set a minimum price for the total contribution that the orchestra leader makes to the so called purchase or the music.

Following a five week trial on this entire case involving myriad of issues, Judge Levet who had had a certain special familiarity with the industry, with the practices of the American Federation of Musicians due to a length of this particular trial and to his participation in other earlier litigation between these two parties, dismissed the complaints in their entirety.

His opinion which has contained of course in the record contains comprehensive findings of fact which are meticulously annotated to the lengthy record of this case.

And he as I have indicated dismissed the complaints in their entirety.

We rely very heavily Your Honors upon the careful findings of fact that the trial judge made in this case.

Indeed, these findings of fact lay at the heart of this case and in the findings of job and wage competition as I shall attempt to show to you Your Honors in fact or conclusive of the legitimacy of the unions' contentions in this case.

Although the plaintiff's here in case 310 attack the unions' regulations and so far as they pertain in all fields of musical endeavor, both courts below considered that the primary -- indeed the main attack concern the so called club-date field which was by stipulation said to be single engagements concerning social affairs such as Bar Mitzvahs or weddings and other comparable social events.

The plaintiffs in fact in this case, the four remaining plaintiffs do perform and there is a finding to the effect that they perform primarily in the club-date field.

The so called non-club-date field would include theatrical engagements, opera recordings, nightclub acts, and engagements of that type.

The club-date field again is single engagements concerning social affairs.

Now, in order to understand the nature of this particular field and the manner which these particular engagements come about, it might be helpful to describe the -- some of the testimony of the witnesses as regards the method by which a so called club-date comes about.

Normally, the purchaser of the music, the sponsor of the social affair will approach a given musician.

You might have met that musician before, seen them in the previous engagement or he might even be a relative.

In some circumstances where the fact that a given engagement is to come about that there is to be a Bar Mitzvah that there is to be a wedding is known the musician will approach the sponsor of the activity himself seeking the engagement.

Now, when the sponsor of the engagement in the pawns of the trade, the purchase of the music engages that particular musician and to obtain to play that engagement and to obtain the other musicians who will play, that leader by that act becomes the leader for the engagement and he then undertakes the responsibility of playing that engagement, obtaining the other musicians who will play who are called sidemen, straight instrumentalists.

Now the particular musician who has assumed the responsibility of leader might be acting his particular time for a leader for the first time of his life, for the hundredth time in his life, he might -- the very afternoon on which he is to play as a leader that evening, perform as a sidemen.

The fluidity and the interchangeability of functions in this field as outlined in the record and is in the findings of fact is considerable.

Musicians perform in many fields.

They perform in the club-date field, the non-club-date field.

They are sometimes leader and sometimes sidemen.


Ronald Rosenberg:

Yes Your Honor.

On each engagement, there will be someone performing the leaders function.

Now at -- in response really to what Justice Harlan has just said, at each engagement, there will be a person who will perform the conducting function and that is the leader's function, the obligation to conduct.