Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Jacksonville Terminal Company

PETITIONER: Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen
RESPONDENT: Jacksonville Terminal Company
LOCATION: Circuit Court of Mobile County

DOCKET NO.: 69
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1967-1969)
LOWER COURT: State appellate court

CITATION: 394 US 369 (1969)
ARGUED: Dec 11, 1968
DECIDED: Mar 25, 1969

ADVOCATES:
Dennis G. Lyons - for the respondents
Neal P. Rutledge - for the petitioners

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Jacksonville Terminal Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 11, 1968 in Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Jacksonville Terminal Company

Earl Warren:

Number 69, Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen Et Al., petitioners versus Jacksonville Terminal Company.

Mr. Rutledge.

Neal P. Rutledge:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

This is another of a long series of cases that have come before this Court with increasing frequency in this century which poses the familiar problem of state's rights on the one hand versus federal control or preemption of economic relations affecting interstate commerce.

This is the second appearance before this Court of this case in the sense of the conduct that is involved.

The prior case came up through the federal court system.

It arises and I will just sketch briefly the factual situation.

It arises out of a long standing strike against the Florida East Coast Railroad which runs in Florida roughly from Jacksonville down to Miami.

The Florida East Coast Railroad is a class 1 railroad covered by the Interstate Commerce Act and the Railway Labor Act.

The strike involved all parties concede is a legal strike arising out of the Railway Labor Act.

It's a strike concerning proposed changes and working conditions, rules and rights of pay, all the procedures of the Railway Labor Act concededly were exhausted.

Now, the three petitioner union, petitioners that are involved in this case are the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, the Order Of Railway Conductors and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen, all unions that represent railroad employees who actually operate trains.

Those unions went on strike against the Florida East Coast Railroad in April of 1966 and within the few weeks following the beginning of that strike, the picketing that was here involved commenced.

The picketing was peaceful and orderly and it went on for a period of only a few hours when it was enjoined in a suit brought by the respondent in this case in the United States District Court in Jacksonville.

That Court issued the temporary restraining order which it subsequently converted into a preliminary injunction.

That injunction was appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit which vacated the injunction in May of 1966.

The respondents then properly filed an application to reinstate the injunction in this Court and this Court expedited the time for filing the petition for cert and reinstated the injunction over the summarizes and set the case down for hearing in October of 1966, at which time, the decision of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the opinion of Chief Judge Tuttle of that Court was affirmed by divided vote, equally divided.

Now, the picketing that is here involved is picketing that concerns for the East Coast certainly and also the respondent, Jacksonville Terminal Company and therefore it is we submit a crucial importance to examine the relationship between those two.

In Jacksonville, the Florida with the -- which is the Northern Terminals of the Florida East Coast.

There is the Jacksonville Terminal Company which is jointly owned by the Florida East Coast Railroad together with the Atlantic Coastline and the Seaboard and the Southern Railways.

Potter Stewart:

Mr. Rutledge, if I may ask you to go back just a moment.

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit set aside the injunction by divided court as I remember it.

Chief Judge Tuttle wrote the opinion for the Court --

Neal P. Rutledge:

That's correct.

Potter Stewart:

And was the sole ground for that decision, the Norris-LaGuardia Act, do I read that correctly or --

Neal P. Rutledge:

That's -- that's correct.

In other words, the holding of that Court as I understand it was that the Norris-LaGuardia Act precluded the injunction in this case because it arose out of and involved a labor dispute.

Potter Stewart:

That was my recollection then I just had before.

Neal P. Rutledge:

There were other contentions raised before the Court of Appeals.

Potter Stewart:

Yes.