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LEWIS v. HIXSON

June 11, 1959

JOHN L. LEWIS, JOSEPHINE ROCHE AND HENRY G. SCHMIDT, AS TRUSTEES OF THE UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA WELFARE AND RETIREMENT FUND OF 1950, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
WILLIAM T. HIXSON AND GORDON HIXSON, INDIVIDUALLY AND TRADING AS HIXSON COAL CO., A PARTNERSHIP, DEFENDANTS. JOHN L. LEWIS, JOSEPHINE ROCHE AND HENRY G. SCHMIDT, AS TRUSTEES OF THE UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA WELFARE AND RETIREMENT FUND OF 1950, PLAINTIFFS, V. BOYD EXCELSIOR FUEL CO., INC., A CORPORATION, DEFENDANT. JOHN L. LEWIS, JOSEPHINE ROCHE AND HENRY G. SCHMIDT, AS TRUSTEES OF THE UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA WELFARE AND RETIREMENT FUND OF 1950, PLAINTIFFS, V. HIXSON COAL CO., INC., A CORPORATION, DEFENDANT. JOHN L. LEWIS, JOSEPHINE ROCHE AND HENRY G. SCHMIDT, AS TRUSTEES OF THE UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA WELFARE AND RETIREMENT FUND OF 1950, PLAINTIFFS, V. ETHEL H. BLACKARD, INDIVIDUALLY AND TRADING AS THE E.H. BLACKARD COAL COMPANY, DEFENDANT. JOHN L. LEWIS, JOSEPHINE ROCHE AND HENRY G. SCHMIDT, AS TRUSTEES OF THE UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA WELFARE AND RETIREMENT FUND OF 1950, PLAINTIFFS, V. JEWEL MINING COMPANY, INCORPORATED, A CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John E. Miller, Chief Judge.

  The plaintiffs in all of the cases are Trustees of the United Mine Workers of America Welfare and Retirement Fund of 1950.

The defendants are coal operators, and during all times material herein were engaged in the operation of various coal mines in the Western District of Arkansas.

The amount in controversy in each case exceeds the sum of $3,000, exclusive of interest and costs. All the actions were commenced prior to July 25, 1958.

Civil Action No. 1410 was filed March 22, 1958. The defendants are William T. Hixson and Gordon Hixson, d/b/a the Hixson Coal Company, a partnership, of Paris, Logan County, Arkansas. After the filing of several motions, now immaterial, the defendants on September 24, 1958, filed their answer.

Civil Action No. 1411 was filed March 22, 1958. The defendant, Boyd Excelsior Fuel Company, Inc., is a corporation organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Delaware, and is engaged in the mining of coal in Sebastian County, Arkansas. Following the filing of several motions, now immaterial, the defendant on May 17, 1958, filed its motion for a summary judgment. Action on the motion was deferred until a trial on the merits, and on September 23, 1958, the defendant filed its answer.

Civil Action No. 1413 was filed April 1, 1958. The original defendants were Ethel H. Blackard and Bobby Blackard, an alleged partnership, doing business in Johnson County, Arkansas. After the filing of various motions, now immaterial, it was agreed by the parties that the defendant, Bobby Blackard, was not a proper party defendant, and therefore the complaint as to the original defendant, Bobby Blackard, was dismissed by order of the court on August 27, 1958. On September 29, 1958, the remaining defendant, Ethel H. Blackard, filed his answer, and at the conclusion of the trial on the merits, said defendant filed his motion for judgment on the ground that the plaintiffs had failed to prove that the defendant owes them any amount whatsoever.

Civil Action No. 1420 was filed April 18, 1958. The defendant, Jewel Mining Company, Inc., is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Arkansas, and is engaged in the operation of coal mines in Logan County, Arkansas. After several motions, now immaterial, were filed, the defendant on September 23, 1958, filed its answer.

By agreement of all parties the cases were consolidated for trial, and on March 26, 1959, were tried to the court. At the conclusion of the trial of the cases on their merits, they were submitted and taken under consideration, and the attorneys for the respective parties were requested to file briefs in support of their contentions. The briefs have been received and have been considered along with the pleadings and all the evidence, and the court now files this opinion in lieu of formal findings of fact and conclusions of law, separately stated.

The plaintiffs are citizens of Illinois, Colorado, and Ohio, respectively. The defendants are all citizens and residents of Arkansas except that the defendant in Civil Action No. 1411, Boyd Excelsior Fuel Co., Inc., is a citizen of the State of Delaware, and the defendant in Civil Action No. 1420, Jewel Mining Co., Inc., is a citizen of the State of Illinois.

The United Mine Workers of America Welfare and Retirement Fund of 1950 is a trust created by the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement of 1950, pursuant to Section 302(c)(5), Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, 29 U.S.C.A. § 186(c)(5).

On or about October 4, 1952, the defendants in Civil Action No. 1410, William T. Hixson and Gordon Hixson, partners, trading under the name of Hixson Coal Company, signed the National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement of 1950, as amended September 29, 1952, effective October 1, 1952.

The defendant in Civil Action No. 1412, Hixson Coal Company, Inc., on August 30, 1954, signed the Agreement of 1950, as amended September 29, 1952, effective October 1, 1952; on September 10, 1955, signed the Agreement effective September 1, 1955; and on October 30, 1956, signed the Agreement effective October 1, 1956.

The defendant in Civil Action No. 1413, Ethel H. Blackard, trading as the E.H. Blackard Coal Company, on October 22, 1952, signed the Agreement effective October 1, 1952; on June 25, 1956, signed the Agreement effective September 1, 1955; and on October 17, 1956, signed the Agreement effective October 1, 1956.

The defendant in Civil Action No. 1411, Boyd Excelsior Fuel Company, Inc., on October 3, 1953, signed the Agreement effective October 1, 1952, and on August 29, 1955, signed the Agreement effective September 1, 1955.

The defendant in Civil Action No. 1420, Jewel Mining Company, Inc., on August 29, 1955, signed the Agreement effective September 1, 1955, and on October 1, 1956, signed the Agreement effective October 1, 1956.

  Hixson Coal Company, a partnership
  Civil Action No. 1410
Tonnage           Debt            Paid             Balance
11,113.40       $4,445.36         None           $4,445.36
  Boyd Excelsior Fuel Company, Inc.
  Civil Action No. 1411
Tonnage           Debt            Paid             Balance
125,596.00      $50,238.40      $35,119.60      $15,118.80
  Hixson Coal Company, Inc.
  Civil Action No. 1412
Tonnage           Debt            Paid             Balance
25,079.05       $10,031.62       $985.80          $9,045.82
  E.H. Blackard Coal Company
  Civil Action No. 1413
Tonnage           Debt            Paid             Balance
33,668.36       $13,467.34       $6,186.60        $7,280.74
  Jewel Mining Company, Inc.
  Civil Action No. 1420
Tonnage           Debt            Paid             Balance
28,811.00       $11,524.40       $5,226.07       ...

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