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U.S. Supreme Court

United Workers v. Laburnum Corp., 347 U.S. 656 (1954)

United Construction Workers v. Laburnum Construction Corp.

No. 188

Argued April 5, 1954

Decided June 7, 1954

347 U.S. 656


Respondent construction corporation brought in a Virginia state court against three labor organizations a common law tort action for damages, based upon tortious conduct which constituted also an unfair labor practice under § 8(b)(1)(A) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947.

Held: the Act did not give to the National Labor Relations Board such exclusive jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action as to preclude the state court from hearing and determining the issues. Pp. 347 U. S. 657-669.

(a) To the extent that Congress prescribed preventive procedure against unfair labor practices, conflicting state procedure to the same end is excluded. But, to the extent that Congress has not prescribed procedure for dealing with the consequences of tortious conduct already committed, there is no ground for concluding that existing criminal penalties or liabilities for tortious conduct have been eliminated. Garner v. Teamsters Union, 346 U. S. 485, distinguished. Pp. 347 U. S. 663-666.

(b) The fact that the 1947 Act prescribed new preventive procedure against unfair labor practices on the part of labor organizations was additional recognition of congressional disapproval of such practices, and is consistent with an increased insistence upon the liability of such organizations for tortious conduct and inconsistent with their immunization from liability for damages caused by their tortious practices. Pp. 347 U. S. 666-668.

(c) The denial of jurisdiction to the state court in this case would mean that, where the federal preventive administrative procedures are impotent or inadequate, the offenders, by coercion of the type found here, may destroy property without liability for the damage done. P. 347 U. S. 669.

(d) The fact that petitioners are labor organizations, with no contractual relationship with respondent or its employees, is no basis for depriving the State of jurisdiction of this action against them. P. 347 U. S. 669.

194 Va. 872, 75 S.E.2d 694, affirmed. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 347 U. S. 657

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