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International Printing Union v. Rebenson

OPINION FILED APRIL 29, 1953

INTERNATIONAL PRINTING PRESSMEN AND ASSISTANTS' UNION OF NORTH AMERICA AND PRINTING SPECIALTIES AND PAPER PRODUCTS UNION NUMBER 415, APPELLEES,

v.

WALTER A. REBENSON AND WILLIAM R. KENNY, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS REPRESENTATIVES OF MEMBERS OF AN UNINCORPORATED ASSOCIATION ALSO KNOWN AS PRINTING SPECIALTIES AND PAPER PRODUCTS UNION NUMBER 415, APPELLANTS.



Appeal by defendants from the Circuit Cook of Cook county; the Hon. DANIEL A. ROBERTS, Judge, presiding. Heard in the third division of this court for the first district at the February term, 1953. Reversed. Opinion filed April 29, 1953. Released for publication May 19, 1953.

MR. JUSTICE FEINBERG DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Plaintiffs filed this action in the circuit court of Cook county against the individual defendants and as representatives of the members of an unincorporated association known as Printing Specialties and Paper Products Union No. 415, for injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment.

Whether a prior pending action in the superior court involves substantially the same relief sought in the instant action and is substantially between the same parties is the controlling question presented upon this appeal, and requires an analysis of the pleadings in both actions.

The complaint alleged, inter alia, that plaintiff International is a labor union organized as an unincorporated association and affiliated with the American Federation of Labor; that it maintains its principal place of business in Hawkins county, Tennessee; that it has a membership approximately 96,000 in number, which membership is divided among approximately 600 local constituent units located in various cities throughout the United States and Canada; that plaintiff Printing Specialties and Paper Products Union No. 415 is a local constituent unit affiliated with and subordinate to the plaintiff International union; that plaintiff local maintains an office in Chicago, Illinois; that the members of the class of persons represented by the individual defendants number approximately 300 and are so numerous as to make it impractical to bring them all before the court, and that said individual defendants adequately represent all of the said members of the class; that plaintiff seeks common relief against all members of the class.

It is further alleged that on October 9, 1937, plaintiff International granted a charter to the plaintiff local No. 415, thereby constituting said local a constituent unit of the plaintiff International union; that said local was granted the use of the name "Chicago Paper and Box Workers Union No. 415" by the said International; that plaintiff International and plaintiff local No. 415 now act and since 1937 have acted as representatives to the members of said local; that from 1937, when local No. 415 received its charter from plaintiff International, to June 1949, plaintiff carried on the activities of the local Chicago Paper and Box Workers Union No. 415, including the making of collective bargaining agreements with employers, under the foregoing name, in and around Chicago, and were carried on by plaintiff under said name; that on or about May 1, 1949, plaintiff International adopted and promulgated a uniform designation for its local constituent units composed of employees in the paper products and converting industries, such uniform designation being prefixed to the local union number issued and assigned by plaintiff International; that such uniform designation is "Printing Specialties and Paper Products Union"; that on or about June 15, 1949, Chicago Paper and Box Workers Union No. 415 adopted said uniform designation as promulgated by plaintiff International, and thereafter was and is known as Printing Specialties and Paper Products Union No. 415, said name having been issued to them by plaintiff International; that said Chicago local has since and does still carry on all of its activities under said name; that said designation has a well-fixed and definite meaning and identity in the minds of all members belonging to said local.

It is further alleged that on or about August 15, 1951, plaintiff International notified defendants Rebenson and Kenny, in their capacity as president and secretary-treasurer, respectively, of plaintiff local union No. 415, of the suspension of said local because of a strike called by said individual defendants against three Chicago employers in violation of the constitution and laws of the plaintiff International; that thereupon plaintiff, through its proper officers, and pursuant to the constitution and laws of said International, appointed a steward or trustee to take care of the property and affairs of local union No. 415 for and in behalf of the plaintiff and all of the members; that demand was made upon the individual defendants to turn over said property and affairs of local No. 415, which defendants failed and refused to do, whereupon plaintiff International instituted a suit in the superior court of Cook county (No. 51 S 14078) seeking performance by the individual defendants of their duties and obligations under the laws of plaintiff International; and that said lawsuit has not been determined.

The complaint further alleges that on or about September 19, 1951, said individual defendants called an illegal meeting, attended allegedly by members of plaintiff local No. 415, at which time said defendants purported to disaffiliate the plaintiff local No. 415 from plaintiff International, and thereupon purportedly organized a self-designated independent union employing as a title for said independent union the designation "Printing Specialties and Paper Products Union No. 415," being the same designation under which plaintiff previously carried on the affairs and activities of said local; that pursuant to the lawful suspension of said local No. 415, all of its properties and assets passed in trust to the nominee of the president of the plaintiff International under the contract of affiliation of the plaintiff International and the plaintiff local No. 415, said contract being the constitution and laws of the plaintiff; that "among such property and assets was the name Printing Specialties and Paper Products Union No. 415 which name is a valuable property right and asset of plaintiffs"; that the use by said defendants of the name "Printing Specialties and Paper Products Union No. 415" for their independent local union has tended to mislead and to be confusing, and that members of the plaintiff's local are led to believe that the use of said name has been authorized by its officers, directors or members, which is not the fact; and that by the use of said name by the defendants, employers and the public are led to believe that the defendants' organization is really the plaintiff local No. 415, the same as previously, which is not the fact.

The complaint prayed for a declaratory judgment that defendants have no right to the use of said designation for their independent union local; that the court issue a temporary injunction restraining defendants and the class of persons represented by them from using the said designation for their independent union local, and that upon a final hearing said injunction be made perpetual.

Defendants filed written objections to the issuance of a preliminary injunction, setting up, among other reasons, the pendency of the action in the superior court of Cook county, and that a comparison of the pleadings in said action with the present complaint discloses that the cause of action and the parties in both cases are substantially the same, and that substantially identical relief is prayed for in both, and that such injunctive relief was denied in the cause pending in the superior court. A copy of the complaint in the superior court and defendants' answer to said complaint and counterclaim are attached to said objections as exhibits. Defendants also, in opposition to the motion for temporary injunction, filed a certified copy of an order entered in the pending action in the superior court.

Upon notice and a hearing had, a temporary injunction was ordered, restraining defendants and their agents from using the name "Printing Specialties and Paper Products Union No. 415," substantially as prayed for in the complaint, from which order defendants prosecute this appeal.

The complaint in the superior court action discloses that the parties are substantially the same. The same facts alleged in the instant complaint are there also alleged, except that the instant complaint alleges an attempt on the part of the defendants to disaffiliate from the International and the organization of an independent union local using the same name designation.

The relief prayed for in the superior court complaint was for an accounting and a decree adjudging and decreeing that plaintiffs are entitled to possession of all the property, effects, books, records, money on hand in the possession, custody or control of the individual defendants as officers of local No. 415, and to direct the individual defendants to deliver the same to Peter Perrigo on behalf of the International; and that an interlocutory or preliminary injunction be issued enjoining and restraining said defendant, pending the final determination of the case, from:

"(a) Removing from Cook County, Illinois, any of the property and effects, books, records, moneys on hand, moneys deposited in banks and securities, notes or bonds in the possession, custody or control of the individual defendants as officers of Local No. 415.

"(b) Destroying any books or records in the possession, custody or control of the individual defendants ...


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