Local 20, Teamsters, Chauffeurs & Helpers Union v. Morton

PETITIONER: Local 20, Teamsters, Chauffeurs & Helpers Union
LOCATION: New York Times Office

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 377 US 252 (1964)
ARGUED: Apr 29, 1964
DECIDED: May 25, 1964

Facts of the case


Media for Local 20, Teamsters, Chauffeurs & Helpers Union v. Morton

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 29, 1964 in Local 20, Teamsters, Chauffeurs & Helpers Union v. Morton

Earl Warren:

-- Local 20, Teamsters, Chauffeurs & the Helpers Union, Petitioner, versus Lester Morton.

Mr. Previant.

David Previant:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

This case is here on certiorari -- excuse me, to the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

It involves the question of the scope and applicability of the doctrine of preemption as applied to Section 303 damage cases under the Taft-Hartley Act.

The court below has sustained a judgment against petitioner here for actual and punitive damages which is based upon Ohio common law for actual compensatory damages based upon Section 303 and for what is known as a totality of effort rule damages, also under 303.

In other words, we are confronted here with, actually, the application of four different measures of damages to the dispute which arose in this case.

The facts are relatively free from controversy.

I think, the -- there's --


David Previant:

A -- a measure of damages which is known now as totality of effort damages and which the court below said that as long as they were both unlawful, as well as lawful act, it would total up all damages even though the lawful act -- the damages flowing from the lawful acts could be readily ascertained as well as the damages flowing from the unlawful act.

The --


David Previant:

I think it is a new concept here. Some of the Circuits appeared to be following it, but I think there's even some question as to what the Circuits mean when they say totality of effort.

Byron R. White:

That means (Inaudible)

David Previant:

Yes, this -- this has been applied under Section 303 without any reference to the state common law.

Byron R. White:

Across the Board.

David Previant:

That's right, Your Honor.

I say, the facts are relatively free from dispute but there are some question raised here in this Court as to the significance of some of these facts in connection with the application of the damage rule below.

The petitioner, local is a labor union in Cleo, Ohio and the respondent, Lester Morton, conducts a trucking business in Tiffin, Ohio and services principally the construction trades.

He operates principally, dump trucks on a contract hauler basis with various customers and suppliers.

There is no problem here as to whether or not the activities involve interstate commerce.

The local union had represented employees of Morton for a number of years, but it never had a written contract.

In the latter part of 1956, request was made upon Morton for a written contract and upon Morton's refusal because he said his competitors were not organized, the union went on strike.

The strike lasted some five or six weeks.

The strike was, in all respects, conducted peaceably.

There was peaceful picketing at the premises of the primary employer, Mr. Morton.

There was no interference with the ingress or egress at anytime at the Morton premises.

There was no violence or threat of violence at the Morton premises.

There was no physical injury to person or property at the Morton premises or other places nor was there, as a matter of fact, any violence or threat of violence at secondary sites as well as at Mr. Morton's site.