Teamsters Union v. Morton
377 U.S. 252 (1964)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Teamsters Union v. Morton, 377 U.S. 252 (1964)

Local 20, Teamsters, Chauffeurs & Helpers Union v. Morton

No. 485

Argued April 29, 1964

Decided May 25, 1964

377 U.S. 252

Syllabus

During a strike, petitioner labor union engaged in secondary activities to induce customers and suppliers to cease dealing with the respondent employer. The respondent filed suit in the Federal District Court under § 303 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 and state common law to recover for business losses caused by the union's unlawful conduct, and was awarded compensatory damages for the union's having encouraged employees of a customer to force its employer to stop doing business with respondent (in violation of § 303); for the union's having persuaded the management of one of the respondent's customers to cease doing business with the respondent, and for its having caused loss of a contract because there were not enough employees available during the strike to perform it (both in violation of state law); and punitive damages (also under state law), although it was held that the strike was free of violence. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

Held:

1. The action of the union in encouraging the employees of a customer to force their employer to stop doing business with the respondent was a clear violation of § 303. P. 377 U. S. 256.

2. State law has been displaced by §303 in private damage actions based on peaceful union secondary activities. Pp. 377 U. S. 256-261.

(a) The union's request to the management of one of respondent's customers to cease doing business with respondent is not prohibited by § 303(a). Pp. 377 U. S. 259-260.

(b) Punitive damages are not provided for in § 303(b), which is limited to compensatory damages. Pp. 377 U. S. 260-261.

3. Peaceful primary strike activity does not violate § 303(a) even though petitioner may have contemporaneously engaged in unlawful activities elsewhere. Pp. 377 U. S. 261-262.

320 F.2d 505, judgment vacated and case remanded.

Page 377 U. S. 253

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