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UNITED STATES v. DRIVERS

March 26, 1940

UNITED STATES
v.
DRIVERS, CHAUFFEURS AND HELPERS LOCAL UNION NO. 639 OF INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS, STABLEMEN AND HELPERS OF AMERICA et al., an association



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GORDON

This is a criminal prosecution under Section 3 of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, Act of July 2, 1890, c. 647, 26 Stat. 209, 15 U.S.C. Sec. 3; 15 U.S.C.A. § 3.

The defendants are six in number. They are the Drivers, Chauffeurs and Helpers Local Union No. 639 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Stablemen and Helpers of America; Thomas O'Brien, a representative of the International Brotherhood; and four officers or representatives of the Drivers Local No. 639.

 The indictment charges, in substance, that from about May 16, 1939, continuously up to the date of the finding of the indictment, the defendants, in violation of the Sherman Anti-trust Act, unlawfully engaged, within the District of Columbia, in a combination and conspiracy to restrain trade and commerce, to wit, the construction of buildings and other public and private works and the trade and commerce in materials used or to be used, in the construction of said buildings and public and private works; and that it was part of said conspiracy that said restraint would be, and it was, effected by the employment of strikes, boycotts and by threats to use, and the use of, force and violence.

 The defendants have filed a demurrer and alternative motion to quash the indictment.

 The first and second grounds of the motion to quash will be first considered together. The defendants urge:

 "1. That the said indictment is indefinite, vague and uncertain, and does not fully inform the defendants of the charges against them and each of them and they are unable to understand the indictment and to plead against the same and to prepare and defend themselves against the said indictment.

 "2. That the charge contained in said indictment is so general, vague, indefinite and uncertain that it could not be pleaded as res adjudicata or former jeopardy."

 The section of the statute upon which this indictment is based is very brief and, insofar as here pertinent, provides as follows: "Every contract, combination in form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce in any Territory of the United States or of the District of Columbia * * * is declared illegal. Every person who shall make any such contract or engage in any such combination or conspiracy, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding $5,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding one year, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court."

 In the indictment before the court each defendant is adequately described. The Drivers Local No. 639 is described as "an association having its principal place of business at Washington, District of Columbia." The five individual defendants are described by name and by their official connection with the International Brotherhood and the Drivers Local No. 639. It is charged, following the language of the statute, that the defendants "engaged, within the District of Columbia, in a combination and conspiracy to restrain trade and commerce of, and in, the District of Columbia." It is then specified that the trade and commerce sought to be restrained was "the construction of buildings and other public and private works in the District of Columbia, and the trade and commerce in materials used, or to be used, in the construction of said buildings and private and public works." The venue is consistently laid in the District of Columbia, and the time is described as being a continuous period between May 16, 1939, and the date of the indictment, which was returned on October 12, 1939.

 The indictment then proceeds to elaborate the alleged conspiracy. It is alleged that it was part of the conspiracy to induce and compel the Howat Concrete Company, the Maloney Concrete Company and the Super Concrete Corporation, which owned and operated more than 50 per cent of all "mixer" concrete trucks in the District of Columbia to employ, as drivers and operators of said trucks, only members of the Drivers Local No. 639, and to compel said companies to breach contracts previously entered into and then in full force and effect, between the International Union of Operating Engineers Local No. 77 and said companies, in which contracts said companies had contracted and agreed to employ, and were employing, 75 per cent of the drivers and operators on said trucks from the membership of said Operating Engineers Local No. 77; that it was further part of the conspiracy to compel drivers and operators of said trucks, then in the employ of said companies, to resign from or otherwise terminate their membership in said Operating Engineers Local No. 77 and compel them to become members of the Drivers Local No. 639; that it was further part of said conspiracy that, to accomplish and effectuate these purposes, the defendants would, and they did, threaten the calling of strikes, urge, induce and assist in the calling of strikes by members of the Drivers Local No. 639 on various construction projects in this District, the purpose and effect being to stop construction work on said projects; that it was further part of said conspiracy to prevent, by threat of force and by force, and defendants did so prevent, the delivery of concrete to said projects by "mixer" concrete trucks driven and operated by persons not members of Drivers Local No. 639.

 In the final paragraph of the indictment, under the heading "Purpose and Object of Conspiracy," it is set forth that the intent and effect of this conspiracy and of the acts done in pursuance thereof, was to restrain trade and commerce in this District and to impose an unreasonable burden thereon; and that said conspiracy was formed and carried out for the sole object of replacing members of the Operating Engineers Local No. 77 with members of the Drivers Local No. 639 in the operation of these "mixer" concrete trucks.

 The indictment, as a whole, does not appear to me to be indefinite, vague or uncertain, nor do I perceive why defendants are unable to understand it and plead to it. Defendants' chief complaint in this respect seems to be that the indictment does not set out with more particularity, as to names, dates, places and methods, the force, violence and threats referred to. If more specific information as to the acts of force and violence and the threats would be helpful, defendants may obtain such information by way of a bill of particulars.

 I am of opinion that the first and second grounds of the motion to quash are without merit. See Sec. 1025, R.S., 18 U.S.C. Sec. 556, 18 U.S.C.A. § 556; Nash v. United States, 5 Cir., 186 F. 489, reversed on other grounds, 229 U.S. 373, 33 S. Ct. 780, 57 L. Ed. 1232; Beard v. United States, 65 ...


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