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Vincent v. Local 294

decided: April 2, 1970.

MERLE D. VINCENT, JR., REGIONAL DIRECTOR, THIRD REGION, NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, PETITIONER-APPELLEE
v.
LOCAL 294, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS, WAREHOUSEMEN AND HELPERS OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT



Moore, Friendly and Hays, Circuit Judges.

Author: Hays

HAYS, C. J.:

This is an appeal from an order and adjudication of civil contempt entered in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York against appellant Local 294, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen & Helpers of America for its disobedience and violation of, and failure and refusal to comply with, an order of the district court granting a temporary injunction pursuant to Section 10 (l) of the National Labor Relations Act, as amended.*fn1

I.

The Section 10 (l) injunction was granted upon a petition filed by Merle D. Vincent, Jr., Regional Director of the Third Region of the National Labor Relations Board. The petition was based upon a charge filed with the Board by Bethlehem Steel Corporation and alleged that there was reasonable cause to believe that Teamsters was engaged in picketing and various related acts and conduct designed to compel Bethlehem to assign the work of fueling equipment and handling the fuel hose and nozzle at the New York State South Mall Project at Albany to employees represented by the Teamsters rather than to employees represented by Local 106, International Union of Operating Engineers (AFL-CIO), in violation of Section 8(b)(4)(i) and (ii)(D) of the Act.*fn2 The district court, after conducting a hearing, found that there was reasonable cause to believe that appellant was engaging in the unfair labor practices alleged and, on July 16, 1968, entered an order enjoining appellant from engaging in such acts and conduct "pending the final disposition of the matters involved pending before the [Board]."*fn3

Thereafter, the Board, pursuant to Section 10(k) of the Act,*fn4 conducted a hearing on the merits of the jurisdictional dispute which gave rise to the unfair labor practice charge filed by Bethlehem, and on January 8, 1969 issued a decision determining that employees represented by Local 106, Operating Engineers were entitled to perform the disputed work for Bethlehem. The Board directed appellant to give notice whether or not it would comply with the determination and refrain from engaging in the unfair labor practices proscribed by Section 8(b)(4)(i) and (ii)(D).*fn5

Appellant did not comply to the satisfaction of the Board, and on June 3, 1969, the Regional Director petitioned the district court for an order adjudging appellant to be in civil contempt of court for violating and disobeying, and failing and refusing to comply with, the injunction order entered on July 16, 1968. The petition alleged, in substance, that appellant, at various times during April and May of 1969, induced and encouraged employees of McEneny Oil Corporation to refuse to supply fuel to Bethlehem, and continued to threaten, restrain and coerce Bethlehem with the object of compelling Bethlehem to assign the work of handling the fuel hose nozzle at the South Mall Project to employees represented by appellant rather than to employees represented by the Operating Engineers. The district court conducted a hearing and, on July 17, 1969, issued a decision finding that appellant had violated the intendment of the injunction order of July 16, 1968 and adjudging appellant to be in civil contempt. An order and adjudication in civil contempt was entered on July 30, 1969, directing appellant to purge itself of civil contempt by fully complying with the injunction order, and upon failure to do so, to pay a fine of $200 a day for every day it continued in noncompliance with that order. No fine was imposed for the past failure to comply with the injunction order.

Meanwhile, on June 5, 1969, the Regional Director had filed with the Board a consolidated complaint alleging that appellant had failed to comply with the Board's Section 10(k) determination of the jurisdictional dispute and that its activities in 1968 and in 1969 constituted unfair labor practices under Section 8(b)(4)(i) and (ii)(D) of the Act.*fn6 These were the activities which formed the basis for the injunction order of July 15, 1968 and for the Board's petition of June 3, 1969 for an order of civil contempt. Hearings on the unfair labor practice charges were held before a trial examiner on July 29 and 30, 1969, and on December 16, 1969, while the present appeal from the order of civil contempt was pending, the Board issued its decision and order, adopting the trial examiner's conclusion that appellant's activities both in 1968 and in 1969 violated Section 8(b)(4)(i) and (ii)(D) of the Act.*fn7

On appeal, Teamsters contends that it did not violate the injunction order of July 16, 1968 and that it was error to adjudge it in civil contempt. The Regional Director argues that since the Board has made a final adjudication with respect to the unfair labor practice charge which formed the basis for the Section 10 (l) injunction, both the injunction and the civil contempt order have terminated and the appeal should be dismissed as moot. Bethlehem, the charging party, which prepared a brief and participated at oral argument, would prefer us to hold that the civil contempt order is not a "final decision" under 28 U.S.C. ยง 1291 (1964) and is therefore not appealable.*fn8

We find that the order of civil contempt is appealable, but hold that the appeal is moot.

II.

The general rule as to the appealability of an order of civil contempt is stated in 6 Moore, Federal Practice para. 54.17 at 154-55 (1966) as follows:

"[A] party to a suit may not appeal an order finding or imprisoning him for the commission of a civil contempt during the pendency of the action, except in connection with some appealable order, as an interlocutory injunction, or a final judgment or decree in the civil action, or in connection with an appeal from a judgment imposing both criminal and civil sanctions."

See Fox v. Capital Co., 299 U.S. 105, 107, 81 L. Ed. 67, 57 S. Ct. 57 (1936); McCrone v. United States, 307 U.S. 61, 83 L. Ed. 1108, 59 S. Ct. 685 (1939). Where, however, civil contempt proceedings are instituted after the conclusion of the principal action rather than during the pendency of the action, the order disposing of the contempt proceedings is appealable. Stringfellow v. Haines, 309 F.2d 910, 911 (2d Cir. 1962); Parker v. United States, 153 F.2d 66, 69 (1st Cir. 1946). The issue in each case is whether the matters adjudicated in the civil contempt proceeding are otherwise subject to review. See Lamb v. ...


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