Carbon Fuel Company v. United Mine Workers of America

PETITIONER: Carbon Fuel Company
RESPONDENT: United Mine Workers of America
LOCATION: U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

DOCKET NO.: 78-1183
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

CITATION: 444 US 212 (1979)
ARGUED: Nov 05, 1979
DECIDED: Dec 10, 1979

ADVOCATES:
David D. Johnson - On behalf of the Petitioner
Harrison Combs - for respondents
Harrison Coombs - On behalf of United Mine Workers of America, et al

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Carbon Fuel Company v. United Mine Workers of America

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 05, 1979 in Carbon Fuel Company v. United Mine Workers of America

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - December 10, 1979 in Carbon Fuel Company v. United Mine Workers of America

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in Number 78-1183, Carbon Fuel Company against United Mine Workers of America will be announced by Mr. Justice Brennan.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

This case is here on the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

It's a suit against an internation union, United Mine Workers of America against District 17, a regional subdivision of the international and against three local mine workers unions.

The suit seeks damages suffered by the petitioner, Carbon Fuel Company, resulting from some 50 unauthorized or wildcat strikes engaged in by the local unions of Carbon Fuel's several coal mines in West Virginia.

A jury awarded separate verdicts for damages against all of the defendants.

The Court of Appeals modified and as modified, affirmed the verdicts against the local unions, but the Court set aside the awards against the international union and District 17, and remanded to the trial court with direction to dismiss the case against those defendants.

The Court of Appeals held that neither in law nor by implication from the terms of the collective-bargaining agreement between Carbon Fuel and the international, was there any duty on the part of the international or District 17, which Carbon Fuel contended, to use all reasonable means available to them to prevent the wildcat strikes or bring about their termination.

Rather, the Court of Appeals held that liability of those defendants could be found only upon evidence that the international and or the district instigated, supported, ratified or encouraged the strikes since Carbon Fuel had preferred -- proffered no such evidence.

The verdicts against the international and District 17, the Court of Appeals could not stand. We agree and for reasons stated in the opinion filed with the clerk affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you Mr. Justice Brennan.