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SINGER v. A. HOLLANDER & SON

June 30, 1952

SINGER
v.
A. HOLLANDER & SON, Inc.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: FORMAN

Plaintiff, Philip A. Singer, in his complaint, sets forth, among other things, the following allegations:

 That the contract, and particularly the restrictive provisions of its Paragraphs 'Fourth' *fn1" and 'Eighth' *fn2" constituted agreements in restraint of trade or commerce among the several states and with foreign nations and are illegal under the Sherman and Clayton Anti-Trust Acts, 15 U.S.C.A.Chapter 1.

 That plaintiff and defendant were processors of furs in the course of which commerce among the several states and with foreign nations is affected and that the restrictions complained of were intended to operate and did operate to prevent or reduce competition

 '(a) as to the price to be paid for processing services; and (b) the introduction of new colors on furs of better quality thereby depriving the public of the benefit of reduction in price of the processing service and of the finished garment by reason of competition and the increase in the finished products by reason of the introduction of new colors of furs.'

 That prior to 1940 plaintiff was an active competitor of defendant in several branches of the industry and that the contract and Paragraph 'Eighth' were intended to enable defendant to place plaintiff in a state of idleness so as to prevent plaintiff from re-engaging in the industry and to deny the public the advantage of competition and the talent, skill and experience of the plaintiff.

 That there are many branches of the fur dressing and dyeing industry in which some companies devote themselves exclusively to the dressing or dyeing of a given fur, others to dressing and dyeing processes where those are inseparable and still others are engaged solely in striping furs which are dyed by others and substantially no processor engages at any time in the dressing and dyeing of all of the dozens of furs in commercial use; that competition among processors consists essentially of producing new shades or colors of furs.

 That the formulae and processes utilized by plaintiff in his employment by defendant were his own, acquired by him prior to said employment, and that other processes which plaintiff sought to develop during employment with defendant were commercially unsound and conceded to be so by the defendant; that at no time did defendant entrust plaintiff with any formula or process or any business methods which were of a nature which would require or justify the exaction of any restriction with respect to competitive activities after the termination of the term of their contract and that in any event the restriction contained in the fourth paragraph of the contract is unreasonably broad since it relates to all of the branches of the industry and for the reason that no information with respect to rabbit could be used competitively against defendant in other branches of the industry.

 That on or about September 5, 1945, defendant instituted against plaintiff, Imperial Fur Blending Corporation, Richard Villani (now deceased), and Robert Caruba, an action in the Court of Chancery in the State of New Jersey seeking to enforce the restrictive provisions of the said contract both by way of injunctive relief and the recovery of damages.

 That on November 24, 1945 the defendant obtained a temporary injunction in said proceedings restraining plaintiff from continuing his then employment with the co-defendant in the said action, Imperial Fur Blending Corporation, which restraint continued in effect until the expiration of Paragraph 'Fourth' of the contract, to wit, December 31, 1946. That those proceedings were instituted and are being maintained by the defendant herein in furtherance of the illegal purpose denounced by said acts of Congress; that after trial the complaint filed in the State court was dismissed by the trial court on the ground that the defendant was guilty of unclean hands, but on appeal to the Supreme Court of New Jersey the judgment was reversed and the cause remanded. A. Hollander & Son, Inc., v. Imperial Fur Blending Corp., 2 N.J. 235, 66 A.2d 319. That the opinion of the Supreme Court of New Jersey provides that the plaintiff herein account for the sum of $ 150 per week, received in salary from January 1, 1943 to December 31, 1944, and that the several defendants in the said state action account for profits made by them as a result of operations conducted in violation of said restrictive covenant. That the defendant is about to enter an order or judgment in the trial court pursuant to the mandate of the appellate court and to proceed with an accounting.

 That the Court of Chancery of New Jersey was without jurisdiction to entertain the causes of action alleged in this complaint and they were not submitted to said court for adjudication.

 That the defendant is the largest processor of furs in the industry in the United States and occupies a preeminent position in the field dominating the industry and doing about thirty percent of all the fur processing work in the country monopolizing and attempting to monopolize the industry within the meaning of the acts of Congress; that it has exacted and exacts from all of its dyers and other key personnel, contracts in the same form and substance as the one of which plaintiff complains and that they are intended by defendant as a means and method whereby the defendant forecloses skillful and talented dyers in its employ from leaving their employment and entering into competition with defendant; that plaintiff has been and will be injured in his business and in his property by reason of defendant's acts as follows: (a) loss of income and earnings which the plaintiff would have been able to obtain from January 1, 1943 through December 31, 1946 by engaging as an independent processor and by obtaining employment in the industry, (b) loss of opportunity to reestablish himself properly in the industry to capitalize upon his standing in the industry and to enhance his skill and experience by participating actively in processing work, (c) damage by reason of any recovery which the defendant herein may obtain against the plaintiff in the stated action described above and to the extent of any such recovery, (d) loss by reason of expenses and obligations incurred by plaintiff in defense of said litigation in the said court.

 Thereby plaintiff claims he has been damaged to the extent of $ 150,000 which he seeks to recover three-fold, plus the cost of suit, including a reasonable amount for attorneys' fees.

 Plaintiff includes a second count in his complaint in which he repeats the allegations of the first count and alleges further that the continuance of the litigation in the State court and the enforcement of any judgment therein against him or his co-defendants will result in further injury to the plaintiff in his business and property, in violation of the acts of Congress; that defendant has threatened to sue all who use the processes of the Imperial Fur Blending Corporation or handle products so processed by that company, and the institution of any such action would grievously injure plaintiff in his business and property by impairing ...


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