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The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 6: Labor disputes; injunctions; issuance; conditions precedent; procedural requisites

Section 6. (1) No court shall have jurisdiction to issue a preliminary or permanent injunction in any case involving or growing out of a labor dispute, as defined in section twenty C of chapter one hundred and forty-nine, except after hearing the testimony of witnesses in open court, with opportunity for cross-examination, in support of the allegations of a complaint made under oath, and testimony in opposition thereto, if offered, and except after findings of fact by the court, to the effect:—

(a) That unlawful acts have been threatened and will be committed unless restrained or have been committed and will be continued unless restrained, but no injunction or temporary restraining order shall be issued on account of any threat or unlawful act excepting against the person or persons, association or organization making the threat or committing the unlawful act or actually authorizing or ratifying the same after actual knowledge thereof;

(b) That substantial and irreparable injury to the plaintiff's property will follow;

(c) That as to each item of relief granted greater injury will be inflicted upon the plaintiff by the denial of relief than will be inflicted upon the defendants by the granting of relief;

(d) That the plaintiff has no adequate remedy at law; and

(e) That the public officers charged with the duty to protect the plaintiff's property are unable or unwilling to furnish adequate protection.

(2) Such hearing shall be held after due and personal notice thereof has been given, in such manner as the court shall direct, to all known persons against whom relief is sought, and also to the chief of those public officials of the city or town within which the unlawful acts have been threatened or committed charged with the duty to protect the plaintiff's property; provided, however, that if a complaint shall also allege that, unless a temporary restraining order shall be issued without notice, a substantial and irreparable injury to the plaintiff's property will be unavoidable, such a temporary restraining order may be issued upon testimony under oath, sufficient, if sustained, to justify the court in issuing a preliminary injunction upon a hearing after notice, and a statement of the grounds justifying the issuance of such order shall be made a matter of record by the court; provided, further, that no such temporary restraining order shall be issued except upon its also being made to appear to the satisfaction of the court, either from the testimony of witnesses or from written assurances filed by counsel in regard to his personal conduct:—

(A) That a principal representative or attorney of the employees or labor organizations participating in such dispute was informed of the time and place at which the application for a temporary restraining order would be presented sufficiently in advance to appear in opposition thereto; or

(B) That the plaintiff made every reasonable effort to comply with clause (A) but was unable so to do; provided, however, that notification by mail alone shall not be deemed compliance with this section without proof of receipt.

Such testimony or written assurances shall set forth in detail the manner in which the plaintiff complied with clause (A) or (B) and shall be made part of the record in the case. If the defendants appear in opposition to the application for a temporary restraining order they shall be afforded an opportunity to cross-examine the plaintiff's witnesses at such length as is reasonable under the circumstances and a like opportunity to introduce evidence in opposition thereto. Such a temporary restraining order shall be effective for no longer than five days and shall become void at the expiration of said five days and shall not be subject to renewal. No temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction shall be issued except on condition that the plaintiff shall first file an undertaking with adequate security in an amount to be fixed by the court sufficient in its opinion to recompense those enjoined for any loss, expense or damage caused by the improvident or erroneous issuance of such order of injunction, including all reasonable costs, together with a reasonable attorney's fee, and expense of defense against the order or against the granting of any injunctive relief sought in the same proceeding and subsequently denied by the court.

(3) The undertaking herein mentioned shall be understood to signify an agreement entered into by the plaintiff and the surety upon which a judgment may be rendered in the same action or proceeding against said plaintiff and surety, upon a hearing to assess damages of which hearing the plaintiff and surety shall have reasonable notice, the said plaintiff and surety submitting themselves to the jurisdiction of the court for that purpose. But nothing herein contained shall deprive any party having a claim or cause of action under or upon such undertaking from electing to pursue his ordinary remedy by a separate civil action.

(4) No restraining order or injunctive relief shall be granted to any plaintiff who has failed to comply with any obligation imposed by law which is involved in the labor dispute in question, or who has failed to make every reasonable effort to settle such dispute either by negotiation or with the aid of any available governmental machinery of mediation or voluntary arbitration.

(5) No restraining order, other than a temporary restraining order issued without notice as provided in subdivision (2) of this section, and no preliminary or permanent injunction shall be granted in a case involving or growing out of a labor dispute, except on the basis of findings of fact made and filed by the court in the record of the case prior to the issuance of such restraining order or injunction; and every restraining order or injunction granted in a case involving or growing out of a labor dispute shall include only a prohibition of such specific act or acts as may be expressly complained of in the complaint filed in such case and as shall be expressly included in said statement of grounds or findings of fact made and filed by the court as provided herein.

(6) Whenever the court shall issue or deny a preliminary injunction in a case involving or growing out of a labor dispute, the court, upon the request of any party to the proceeding, shall forthwith report any questions of law involved in such issue or denial to the supreme judicial court and stay further proceedings except those necessary to preserve the rights of the parties. Upon the filing of such report, the questions reported shall be heard in a summary manner by a justice of the supreme judicial court, who shall with the greatest possible expedition affirm, reverse or modify the order of the superior court. The decision of such justice of the supreme judicial court upon the questions so raised shall be final, but without prejudice to the raising of the same questions before the full court upon appeal from the final judgment.

(7) No permanent injunction which may be issued under this section shall be effective for a period exceeding one year from the date of its issuance; provided, however, that after a new hearing and findings of fact as provided in clauses (a) to (e), inclusive, of subsection (1) and subject to the provisions of subsections (2) to (5), inclusive, it may be renewed.