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Martin v. Campanaro

CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS, SECOND CIRCUIT.


: June 5, 1946.

MARTIN
v.
CAMPANARO ET AL. IN RE SUBURBAN BUS CO., INC.

Author: Frank

Before CHASE, CLARK, and FRANK, Circuit Judges.

FRANK, Circuit Judge.

1. The Trustee has moved to dismiss the appeal on the ground that no one of the claimants has a claim which by any possibility can exceed $200, and that none of the claimants has asked this court for leave to appeal pursuant to § 24 sub. a of the Bankruptcy Act, 11 U.S.C.A. § 47, sub. a. But obviously the claims aggregate more than $500; the Referee passed upon the claims as a group; the claimants, in effect, consolidated their claims in their petition for review, without objection from the Trustee; and the judge treated them as if consolidated. Such consolidation was proper, under F.R.C.P. 42(a), 28 U.S.C.A. following section 723c, which applies here under General Order 37, 11 U.S.C.A. following section 53.

2. We agree that the action of the National War Labor Board did not create rights, enforceable by the claimants, which will support their claims.*fn1

3. But they can properly prove claims for the difference between the reasonable value of their services and the amounts paid. A contract implied in fact derives from the "presumed" intention of the parties as indicated by their conduct. When an agreement expires by its terms, if, without more, the parties continue to perform as theretofore, an implication arises that they have mutually assented to a new contract containing the same provisions as the old.*fn2 Ordinarily, the existence of such a new contract is determined by the "objective" test, i.e., whether a reasonable man would think the parties intended to make such a new binding agreement - whether they acted as if they so intended.

Applying that test, as it is applied by the New York (as well as most other) courts no new contract to continue on the old terms came into being here. In the light of the notice of April 19, 1944, from Amalgamated to Suburban, the subsequent unsuccessful negotiations, the activities of the Mediation Board, the hearings before the National War Labor Board, and the wartime no-strike pledge given by organized labor (of which we may take judicial notice), we think that a "reasonable man" would not believe that, when these employees continued to work, while their representative, Amalgamated, was making efforts to procure revised terms, they were agreeing to work, in the interval, at the old rates. No more, on these facts, could it reasonably be supposed that their signing the pay envelopes, or their accepting the checks, was the equivalent of giving releases or waivers of their claims for additional compensation; for whether a receipt constitutes a release or waiver depends on the circumstances under which it was given.*fn3 Implications which would ordinarily stem from certain kinds of conduct are, of course, negatived by other conduct inconsistent with such implications.*fn4

We think that here there was a contract "implied in fact" to pay the reasonable value of the services unless a new contract definitizing the wage-rates should be negotiated, and that, in the meantime, the employees accepted, merely on account, what was paid them.*fn5 Accordingly, there must be a hearing to determine the value of claimants' services.

Reversed and remanded.


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