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O'brien v. Matual

AUGUST 12, 1957.

JOHN T. O'BRIEN ET AL., PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

BARNEY MATUAL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of LaSalle county; the Hon. ROBERT L. BRACKEN, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.

JUSTICE CROW DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

The plaintiff, John T. O'Brien, as Fourth Vice-President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, etc., hereinafter referred to, and as Trustee of Local Union No. 46, etc., hereinafter referred to, on behalf of himself and all members of the Brotherhood, filed a complaint July 27, 1956, charging certain irregularities by the defendants, Barney Matual, et al., as officers of Local Union No. 46, in part upon information and belief, some interference with contractual rights under collective bargaining agreements, various derelictions in duties, insubordination, confusion of authority, etc.; alleging he had been appointed July 17, 1956 as Temporary Trustee of Local Union No. 46, Teamsters, Chauffeurs and Helpers of Peru, Illinois, by Dave Beck, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America; the plaintiff had demanded possession of the books, affairs, and assets of the local union; the defendants refused to turn over the funds, books, affairs and assets thereof to the plaintiff; and in refusing to allow the plaintiff Temporary Trustee to take charge, the defendants were not following the International Constitution and By-Laws. The complaint alleged the International Brotherhood is a voluntary, unincorporated association, it has a Constitution and By-Laws, a copy being attached, governing it, its officers, affiliated unions, and members; Local Union No. 46 is a voluntary unincorporated association, affiliated with the International Brotherhood; the General President had set August 6, 1956, at 10:00 a.m., at the Local Union office as the time and place for a hearing to determine whether the temporary trusteeship should forthwith terminate or continue, a copy of the papers to that effect being attached; and the plaintiff on July 24, 1956 informed the officers of Local Union No. 46 of that action and hearing. The complaint prayed for a temporary injunction against the defendants, without notice, to enjoin them from destroying, dissipating, or converting the assets of Local Union No. 46, from exercising any of the duties of officers thereof, and from transacting any business thereof, and also that the court decree that the plaintiff is entitled to take full charge of the affairs of the local union and direct the defendants to turn over all moneys, books, and assets thereof to the plaintiff and account to the plaintiff. It appears from the allegations of the defendants' affirmative defenses and counterclaim that a temporary injunction was issued the same date, July 27, 1956, pursuant to the prayer of the complaint, without notice, but was subsequently dissolved, apparently some time before September 1, 1956 and after August 6, 1956, on motion of the defendants. The plaintiff apparently took no appeal from that interlocutory order of dissolution of that temporary injunction and that matter is not before us.

After the dissolution of that temporary injunction, some of the defendants individually and as officers of Local Union No. 46 filed a verified answer, and certain affirmative defenses, in substance denying the plaintiff is entitled to the relief sought in the complaint, and also a counterclaim in three counts.

The answer, so far as it need be noted at this time, in substance, admits the allegations as to the status of the International Brotherhood, its Constitution and By-Laws, the nature of the plaintiff, the status of Local Union No. 46, the capacities (so far as material) of the defendants officers of the Local Union; denies the General President appointed the plaintiff as temporary trustee of the local union, denies he acted pursuant to the Constitution; admits the General President set Monday, August 6, 1956, at 10:00 a.m., at the local union office for a hearing to determine whether a temporary trustee shall forthwith terminate or continue, and admits notification July 24, 1956 that a trusteeship was being imposed; denies the plaintiff is the duly authorized trustee of the local union; admits their refusal to turn over the moneys, books and property of the local union to the plaintiff; admits the local union has certain properties which are in the defendants' custody or control; and denies the allegations of certain irregularities, etc., the necessity for any temporary injunction, that upon the plaintiff's appointment as temporary trustee the property of the local union became the property of the International Brotherhood, and that the plaintiff has no adequate remedy at law.

The affirmative defenses, so far as they need be noted at this time, are, in substance, that Article 6, Section 6 (a) of the Constitution provides for a temporary trustee, his duties and powers, termination, and continuation thereof; Section 6 (b), (c), (d) and (e) thereof provide for a permanent trustee etc.; the complaint confuses a temporary trustee and a permanent trustee; the General President attempted without authority to designate and empower the plaintiff as trustee, to exercise complete dominion over the plaintiff and the duration of his powers, to withhold some powers, and to arbitrarily take control of the affairs of the local union; no hearing was commenced August 6, 1956, at 10:00 a.m., at the local union office under Article 6, Section 6(a); on August 6, 1956 at 10:30 a.m., a hearing was held purportedly under Article 6, Section 6 (a), but not at the time or place set by the General President; on August 1, 1956, the defendant Barney Matual received a telegram notifying him of a hearing at the Hotel Peru, 10:30 a.m., August 6, 1956, which was sent less than 10 days prior to such hearing, and which was signed by the General President and sent from Washington, although he was not then in Washington, when the telegram was received the defendant Matual, president of the Local Union, was bound by the temporary injunction of July 27, 1956 issued upon the plaintiff's complaint, and prevented from calling a meeting of the members and informing them thereof, from attending the hearing, and from defending against any charges; no notice has been received of the outcome of any hearing or whether the temporary trustee shall terminate or continue; the plaintiff does not come into equity with clean hands; the plaintiff has not been duly appointed trustee of the local union, and the alleged temporary trusteeship has expired for failure to comply with the Constitution.

Count I of the counterclaim is for a temporary injunction, by the defendants Barney Matual and some others as officers of Local Union No. 46, etc., affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, etc., as representatives of the members of the local union, and on behalf of all members of the brotherhood, against the plaintiff John T. O'Brien as Fourth Vice-President, etc., on behalf of himself and all members of the Brotherhood, seeking to enjoin him from interfering with the authority or business of or transacting business on behalf of the local union, or holding himself out as a duly constituted representative of the members thereof, or interfering with the defendants in conducting the affairs of the local union, or interfering with the employment of the members thereof, until a final determination of the case and of the rights of the plaintiff and defendants. This count is based on certain alleged action by the plaintiff after the original complaint, and, particularly, after the dissolution of the prior temporary injunction issued pursuant to the complaint, and which allegedly tends to destroy the status quo before the rights of the parties can be determined. The other counts are for damages and are not now material.

Notice of the defendants-counterclaimants' motion for temporary injunction as prayed in count I of the counterclaim was given and a hearing was held October 17, 1956, after which a temporary injunction was issued that date. This is an appeal by the plaintiff from that interlocutory order for temporary injunction.

It appears from the stipulation of counsel for all the parties entered into in the Trial Court that: (1) no evidence was presented by anyone on the motion of the defendants-counterclaimants for the temporary injunction; (2) the court granted the motion of the defendants-counterclaimants for the temporary injunction based upon the then pleadings only; and (3) the court said, in considering the motion for temporary injunction, that for the purpose of this hearing the only thing before the court was count I of the counterclaim.

The temporary injunction so issued restrains John T. O'Brien as Fourth Vice-President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America and all members of the International Brotherhood and all servants, agents and employees of the plaintiff from:

(a) Transacting any business or attempting to transact any business of any nature on behalf of or interfering with the defendants in conducting the affairs of Local Union No. 46, Teamsters, Chauffeurs and Helpers of Peru, Illinois, until a final determination of this case.

(b) Collecting any dues or attempting to collect any dues from any member of said Local Union No. 46 until final determination of this action.

(c) Contacting any employees or attempting to negotiate with any employers on behalf of any employees who were members of Local Union No. 46 on the date the complaint herein was filed until a final determination of this case.

(d) In any way attempting to influence or coerce any individual who was a member of Local Union No. 46 and join any other body or local union purporting to represent employees, until a final determination of this case.

(e) In any way interfering with the right of any individual who was a member of Local Union No. 46 on the date the complaint herein was filed, to continue in his employment with his employer and from interfering in any manner with the employment of any of said individuals, until a final determination of this action.

Count I of the counterclaim, in substance, alleges that: by the terms of the temporary injunction issued pursuant to the complaint, the plaintiff John T. O'Brien attempted to take over the affairs, business, and assets of Local Union No. 46 under the guise that he had been appointed Temporary Trustee by the General President of the International Brotherhood; the General President did not lawfully appoint the plaintiff Temporary Trustee, and did not abide by the provisions of the Constitution of the International Brotherhood; at the time the General President attempted to appoint the plaintiff as Temporary Trustee, the General President, pursuant to the provisions of Article 6, Section 6a of the Constitution, set the date of August 6, 1956, at 10:00 o'clock a.m., for a hearing to determine whether the temporary trusteeship should continue or forthwith terminate, and designated the place of the hearing as the office of Local Union No. 46, 1605 Fourth Street, Peru, Illinois; no such hearing was commenced or held at that time or place and the defendants did not receive at least 10 days notice of any other time or place for such hearing; although the time set in the Constitution for the General President to notify the local union, following such a hearing, of his decision has expired, the local union has received no notice from the General President that the trusteeship was to continue; by virtue of such failure on the part of the International Brotherhood to hold such a hearing as to whether the temporary trusteeship should terminate or continue within thirty days after the attempted appointment of the plaintiff as such Temporary Trustee, and the failure of the General President to notify the local union of his decision, the temporary trusteeship automatically terminated.

Paragraphs 6 to 15 allege specific acts of the plaintiff after the filing of the complaint, July 27, 1956, and particularly after the dissolution of the temporary injunction issued pursuant to the complaint, that allegedly tended to destroy the status quo that existed July 27, 1956 when the plaintiff instituted the suit, it being alleged the plaintiff had attempted to take the law into his own hands and, by coercion, threats, and promises, to take over the affairs of the local union. There are specific allegations that the plaintiff, through purported agents, has contacted employers and demanded that all business concerning the employees be transacted through the plaintiff and not through the local union; has demanded that the members of the local union pay their dues to the plaintiff and not to the local union; has threatened that unless the dues are so paid their union cards would not be recognized by the International Brotherhood and they would be deprived of employment; and has by letter told the members of the local union not to transact any union business with anyone else except the plaintiff's office. Other allegations are that the plaintiff through his agents has demanded of employers having contracts with the local union requiring the withholding of union dues from wages under the checkoff system that the dues so withheld be forwarded the plaintiff and not to the officers of the local union; confusion exists in the area as to whether the plaintiff or the local union is the legal representative of the International Brotherhood and the employees; the defendants have never received any official notice of revocation of the charter of the local union; certain employers have, because of the circumstances, refused to negotiate or contract with any group purporting to represent the International Brotherhood; and the plaintiff through his agents has threatened the some 200 over-the-road drivers who are members of the local union, and the over-the-road employers, that unless such employees pay the union dues to the plaintiff and obtain a membership card from the plaintiff they will not be permitted by other local unions to drive vehicles in the territory over which other locals have jurisdiction. There are allegations that the unique nature of the status of the local union is being irreparably damaged by loss of members, by the confusion among employers as to with whom they should deal, the loss of prestige, and the loss of dues, that the status of the International Brotherhood in the area is being irreparably damaged, the gains to be made by members of the union in working conditions in the area are being irreparably damaged, and that because of the unique relationship or status of the local union there is no adequate remedy at law.

So far as appears from the pleadings, Local Union No. 46 has operated since April, 1955 as an affiliate of the International Brotherhood, had at the time the complaint was filed, on July 27, 1956, more than 700 members, and the defendants officers, on behalf of the Local Union and its members, were lawfully in ...


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