Construction Laborers v. Curry - 371 U.S. 542 (1963)


U.S. Supreme Court

Construction Laborers v. Curry, 371 U.S. 542 (1963)

Local No. 438, Construction & General

Laborers' Union, AFL-CIO v. Curry

No. 87

Argued November 7-8, 1962

Decided January 21, 1963

371 U.S. 542

Syllabus

Respondents sued in a Georgia state court to enjoin a labor union from picketing the site where they were engaged in construction work. They alleged that the picketing was for the purpose of forcing them to hire only union labor, and that it violated the Georgia right to work statute. The union contended that its picketing was for the sole purpose of publicizing the facts about the wages paid by respondents, and that its activities were within the exclusive jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board. It was stipulated that respondents had purchased more than $50,000 worth of goods and commodities from outside of Georgia. The trial court denied a temporary injunction. The Georgia Supreme Court found that the picketing was peaceful and that the evidence was sufficient to sustain a finding that respondents were not paying wages conforming with those paid on similar types of work in the area, as required by their contract; but it concluded that the picketing was for the purpose of forcing respondents to employ only union labor, and that, therefore, it violated the Georgia statute. It held that the trial court had erred in denying a temporary injunction. This Court granted certiorari.

Held:

1. The allegations of the complaint, as well as the findings of the Georgia Supreme Court, made out at least an arguable violation of § 8(b) of the National Labor Relations Act, and the state court had no jurisdiction to issue an injunction or to adjudicate this controversy, which was within the exclusive jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board. Pp. 371 U. S. 543-548.

2. The judgment of the Supreme Court of Georgia was "final," within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 1257, and this Court has jurisdiction to review it. Pp. 371 U. S. 548-552.

(a) The judgment falls within that small class which finally determines claims of right separable from, and collateral to, rights asserted in the main action, claims which are too important to be denied review and too independent of the cause itself to require that

Page 371 U. S. 543

appellate consideration be deferred until the whole case is adjudicated. Cohen v. Beneficial Loan Corp., 337 U. S. 541. Pp. 371 U. S. 548-549.

(b) The policy of 28 U.S.C. §1257 against piecemeal reviews of state court judgments does not prevent this Court holding that the judgment was final, particularly when postponing review would seriously erode the national labor policy requiring the subject matter of respondents' cause to be heard exclusively by the National Labor Relations Board, not by state courts. Pp. 371 U. S. 549-550.

(c) Since the Georgia Supreme Court resolved the merits of the issues raised in the course of the hearing on the temporary injunction and left nothing of substance to be decided in the trial court, as petitioner conceded, its judgment was "final" within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 1257. Pp. 371 U. S. 550-551.

(d) Montgomery Building Trades Council v. Ledbetter Erection Co., 344 U. S. 178, does not require a different conclusion. P. 371 U. S. 552.

217 Ga. 512, 123 S.E.2d 653, reversed.



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