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S. & H. GROSSINGER, INC. v. HOTEL & RESTAURANT EMP

June 28, 1967

S. & H. Grossinger, Inc., Plaintiff
v.
Hotel And Restaurant Employees And Bartenders International Union, AFL-CIO, Local 343 et al., Defendants


Tenney, D.J.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: TENNEY

TENNEY, D.J.:

On May 30, 1967, plaintiff commenced an action in the Supreme Court, Sullivan County, New York, by allegedly serving upon the defendants George Snyder and Philip Kazansky a summons and complaint charging all the defendants with illegal picketing of plaintiff's premises and with making false and fraudulent statements to the general public. The complaint seeks an injunction against defendants' acts and damages in the sum of one million dollars. On May 29, 1967, a justice of the State Supreme Court signed an order to show cause, returnable June 9, 1967, requiring defendants to show cause why a temporary injunction should not issue. The order to show cause provided for a stay of the acts complained of pending a hearing and determination of the motion. On May 31, 1967, defendants removed the action to this court.

 Defendants have moved herein, by order to show cause, to dismiss the complaint or to quash the return of the summons. When oral argument was heard, the Court, on its own motion, raised the issue of remand to the State court, although no such petition was before it at that time or at the present. The parties have briefed the issue of remand since a determination that the matter should be remanded to the State court would make the resolution of defendants' motions unnecessary. In re Bear River Drainage Dist., 267 F.2d 849 (10th Cir. 1959).

 It is clear that under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c), where the case has been improperly removed the district court has the power and indeed is required to remand such case sua sponte to the State court. Erwin v. Allied Van Lines, Inc., 239 F. Supp. 144 (W.D. Ark. 1965); Teeter v. Iowa-Illinois Gas & Elec. Co., 237 F. Supp. 961 (N.D. Iowa 1964); In re Butler's Trust, 201 F. Supp. 316 (D. Minn. 1962); 1 Barron & Holtzoff, Federal Practice & Procedure § 109, at 536 (Wright ed. 1960); 1A Moore Federal Practice para. 0.168[4.-1], at 1344 (2d ed. 1965). The issue to be resolved on a motion for remand is whether the district court has jurisdiction of the action. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441, 1447; Big Apple Supermarkets, Inc. v. Dutto, 237 F. Supp. 774, 776 (E.D.N.Y. 1965); Table Talk Pies v. Strauss, 237 F. Supp. 514, 516 (S.D.N.Y. 1964). A determination of the jurisdiction of this court requires an examination of plaintiff's complaint and defendants' petition for removal. Table Talk Pies v. Strauss, supra.

 Plaintiff alleges that it is a New York corporation engaged in the resort hotel business in Sullivan County, New York. Defendants Local 343 and Local 806 are unincorporated associations maintaining offices in Monticello, New York, and Queens, New York, respectively. Defendant Kazansky is business agent and representative of Local 343 and defendant Snyder is secretary-treasurer, business agent and representative of Local 806.

 In 1962, Local 343 attempted to organize plaintiff's employees. In December 1963, an election was held under the auspices of the National Labor Relations Board wherein plaintiff's employees rejected the union. Three re-run elections were held resulting in similar rejections of the union. Local 343 has filed objections to the election, which objections have been investigated by the Board. *fn1"

 On May 15, 1967, it is alleged, defendant Snyder, on behalf of Local 806, sent a telegram to plaintiff demanding recognition as bargaining agent of plaintiff's "Gate Control Employees", which demand was rejected by plaintiff. On the following day, both unions formed a picket line across plaintiff's main entrance. Plaintiff alleges that the picket line was unlawful, that it interfered with guests, employees, vendors and delivery personnel, and that those people using the main entrance were threatened and abused. In addition, plaintiff contends that the pickets uttered false statements and carried placards containing false and fraudulent representations. According to plaintiff, the picketing is dangerous and presents "a grave potential hazard" since the entrance is contiguous to heavily traveled highways. (Complt. para. 9.) Finally, plaintiff alleges that the activities carried on by Local 806 are in violation of the Labor Management Relations Act. No specific allegation of interstate commerce is contained in the complaint.

 Defendants' petition for removal states that plaintiff "purchases substantial amounts of items from corporations and companies throughout the several states, the total value of which exceeds several million dollars annually, and move within the realm of interstate commerce." This allegation is not disputed herein and where "the allegations of the petition for removal are not challenged, they may be taken as true." Table Talk Pies v. Strauss, supra at 518; Hernandez v. Watson Bros. Transp. Co., 165 F. Supp. 720 (D. Colo. 1958).

 28 U.S.C. § 1337 gives the district courts original jurisdiction of actions "arising under any Act of Congress regulating commerce. " Francis H. Leggett & Co. v. O'Rourke, 237 F. Supp. 561, 562 (S.D.N.Y. 1964); Table Talk Pies v. Strauss, supra at 517. The Labor Management Relations Act is such an act. 29 U.S.C. § 141.

 Section 303 of the Labor Management Relations Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 187, provides that "it shall be unlawful . . . in an industry or activity affecting commerce, for any labor organization to engage in any activity or conduct defined as an unfair labor practice in section 158(b)(4) of this title," and that anyone injured in his business or property by reason of such violation may sue for damages sustained in any district court of the United States.

 29 U.S.C. § 158(b)(4) provides in pertinent part that it shall be an unfair labor practice on the part of a union

 
(ii) to threaten, coerce, or restrain any person engaged in commerce or in an industry affecting commerce, where in either case an object thereof is -
 
* * *
 
(B) forcing or requiring any person to cease using, selling, handling, transporting, or otherwise dealing in the products of any other producer, processor, or manufacturer, or to ...

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