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Independent Oil Workers at Paulsboro v. Socony Mobil Oil Co.

Decided: November 30, 1964.

INDEPENDENT OIL WORKERS AT PAULSBORO, NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SOCONY MOBIL OIL COMPANY, INC., DEFENDANT



Wick, J.s.c.

Wick

This matter has come before the court upon a motion to dismiss the action on the grounds that (a) the court lacks jurisdiction over the subject matter, and (b) the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. These defenses were originally raised in the defendant's answer, and upon its application have been heard on a preliminary hearing in compliance with R.R. 4:12-4.

After the complaint was filed on December 14, 1963, plaintiff Independent Oil Workers at Paulsboro, New Jersey, hereinafter referred to as the union, moved for temporary injunctive relief, and defendant Socony Mobil Oil Company, Inc., hereinafter referred to as Socony, moved to stay the proceeding pending arbitration. Both motions were denied. Independent Oil Workers, etc. v. Socony Mobil Oil Co. , 82 N.J. Super. 159 (Ch. Div. 1964).

The facts before the court at this time are identical to those before the court in the previous proceeding and will not be reiterated.

Socony contends that this court does not have jurisdiction to remedy a breach of a collective bargaining agreement by injunction where the conduct allegedly producing the breach also allegedly is a violation of the National Labor Relations Act. It contends that an injunction, unlike damages, would regulate the conduct, and Congress has vested jurisdiction to regulate such conduct exclusively in the National Labor Relations Board.

In the previous decision of this court, cited above, we said:

"Initially, let it be stated without reservation that this court is of the opinion it has the jurisdiction required to hear and determine the controversy sub judice even though it may constitute what amounts to an unfair labor practice cognizable before the National Labor Relations Board. Donnelly v. United Fruit Co. , 40 N.J. 61 (1963); Carpenters & Millwrights Local Union No. 2018, United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America, A.F.L.-C.I.O. v. Riggs-Distler & Co. , 40 N.J. 97 (1963); Cosmark v. Struthers Wells Corp. , 412 Pa. 211, 194 A. 2 d 325 (Sup. Ct. 1963); Smith v. Evening News Ass'n , 371 U.S. 195, 83 S. Ct. 267, 9 L. Ed. 2 d 246 (1962); Dowd Box Co. v. Courtney , 368 U.S. 502, 82 S. Ct. 519, 7 L. Ed. 2 d 483 (1962); * * *." (at p. 171)

This court is still of the opinion that it has jurisdiction. In Smith v. Evening News Association , 371 U.S. 195, 197-198, 83 S. Ct. 267, 269, 9 L. Ed. 2 d 246 (1962), the United States Supreme Court held:

"The authority of the Board to deal with an unfair labor practice which also violates a collective bargaining contract is not displaced by ยง 301, but it is not exclusive and does not destroy the jurisdiction of the courts in suits under $301. If, as respondent strongly urges, there are situations in which serious problems will arise from both the courts and the Board having jurisdiction over acts which amount to an unfair labor practice, we shall face those cases when they arise."

The New Jersey Supreme Court, in Carpenters and Millwrights Local v. Riggs-Distler & Co. , 40 N.J. 97 (1963), has stated:

"In view of Smith v. Evening News Association , 371 U.S. 195, 83 S. Ct. 267, 9 L. Ed. 2 d 246, decided December 10, 1962, the doctrine of Garmon (San Diego Building Trades Council v. Garmon , 359 U.S. 236, 79 S. Ct. 773, 3 L. Ed. 2 d 775) no longer stands in the way of the exercise of concurrent jurisdiction by state courts over a cause of action alleging breach of an employer-union contract relating to wages, hours and other conditions of employment. Such jurisdiction exists under section 301 of the LMRA even though the breach of the agreement may constitute an unfair labor practice." (at p. 99)

In view of this broad statement by our Supreme Court, this court does not agree with Socony's contention that the Smith case rule is limited to ...


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