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Iodice v. Calabrese

decided: February 25, 1975.

ANTHONY IODICE, BART RUGGIERO, PELHAM TRANSPORTATION CO., INC., AND THORNWOOD EXCAVATORS AND MOVERS, INC., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES-APPELLANTS,
v.
ADELE CALABRESE AND TEAMSTERS AND CHAUFFEURS LOCAL 456, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS-APPELLEES



Appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, David N. Edelstein, Chief Judge, sitting without a jury, finding Local 456 liable for damages under §§ 301 and 303 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 185, 187 (1970) and dismissing claims brought under New York law and the antitrust laws. Affirmed as to liability under § 303, remanded as to damages under that section; reversed as to liability under § 301; affirmed in all other respects.

Smith, Hays and Mansfield, Circuit Judges.

Author: Hays

HAYS, Circuit Judge:

Plaintiffs filed suit in New York Supreme Court alleging that defendants Peter Calabrese and Teamsters and Chauffeurs Local 456 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters had violated § 303 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 187 (1970), the labor contract between plaintiff Pelham Transportation Co. and Local 456, and various provisions of New York state law.*fn1 On defendants' motion, the case was removed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. See Iodice v. Calabrese, 291 F. Supp. 592 (S.D.N.Y. 1968). After trial, Chief Judge Edelstein, sitting without a jury, held that the defendants had violated § 303 and the labor contract with Pelham. Iodice v. Calabrese, 345 F. Supp. 248 (S.D.N.Y. 1972). For the violation of § 303, he granted plaintiff Anthony Iodice nominal damages of $100 and plaintiff Thornwood Excavators and Movers, Inc. damages of $5,000. For violation of the labor contract, he granted Pelham damages of $14,900. The other claims were dismissed.

We reverse the decision as to the violation of the labor contract. We affirm the holding as to the § 303 claim but remand to the district court on the issue of damages. In all other respects, we affirm.

I.

For many years, Anthony Iodice has worked in the Westchester County construction industry operating his own trucking equipment. During that time he has had a stormy relationship with Local 456 of the Teamsters and particularly with its secretary-treasurer, Peter Calabrese.*fn2 At one time Iodice was a member of the Local as an owner -driver, but in 1949 the union decided that owner-drivers should not continue to be allowed to become or remain members of the union. The union offered the owner-drivers an opportunity to sign contracts with the union as owners. Iodice was among many who declined to do so.

In October 1951, Iodice testified that while driving for a company against which Local 456 was striking, he had witnessed an assault by Calabrese. Calabrese was convicted and served nine months in prison.

Since 1953 Iodice has been in the business of moving heavy construction machinery by use of a low-bed trailer and tractor. He operated under his own name until 1965, when he sold his equipment to Thornwood Excavators and Movers, Inc., which was formed by his sister Elissa Guiliano, and went to work for Thornwood as a manager and driver.

The district court found that at various times, both on his own and with Thornwood, Iodice lost business because of pressure put on customers by Local 456 not to deal with him. 345 F. Supp. at 254. The district court enumerated five specific instances in which contractors had hired Iodice to move their equipment but later let him go. 345 F. Supp. at 254-55. In each instance Peter Calabrese threatened the customer with either work stoppages or fines or both if he did not stop dealing with Iodice. In three of the cases, he imposed fines on contractors for having already dealt with Iodice.

Early in 1965 Iodice entered into a contract on behalf of his friend Bart Ruggiero to buy Pelham Transportation Co., which held certificates of public convenience and necessity from the Interstate Commerce Commission and the New York State Public Service Commission. Iodice held no formal position with Pelham but he did serve as an informal adviser on such matters as the computation of rates and the selection of routes. Iodice also contacted Local 456 on behalf of Pelham to propose a contract and to request that the union accept Pelham's two drivers, Nicholas Tramonti and Joseph Nicolai, as members. Calabrese agreed and on April 9, 1965, Iodice and Ruggiero came to the union hall where, at Calabrese's insistence, Iodice signed the contract.

On November 5, 1965, Local 456 began picketing Pelham's premises. Calabrese told Ruggiero that the reason for the picketing was Pelham's failure to make fringe benefit payments as required by the union contract. On December 17 Ruggiero had checks sent to cover what was owed. Calabrese sent the checks back on December 20 on the grounds that the amounts sent were inadequate and that Pelham also owed Tramonti $1,323 for the seven weeks he had not worked because of the picketing. Calabrese claimed that this money was due to Tramonti because Iodice had driven for Pelham in place of Tramonti in violation of the union contract. The picketing continued for two years, during which time Pelham could not do any work. Eventually, Ruggiero sold its equipment and the ICC revoked its certificate of public convenience.

Around the beginning of 1969, Iodice went to work as manager and driver for Pleasant Excavators and Equipment Rental Company, ...


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