California Code of Civil Procedure Section 527.3 - Interpretation

In Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. San Diego County Dist. Council of Carpenters (1979) 25 Cal. 3d 317, the Supreme Court reviewed an order restraining union officers and members from peacefully picketing on a privately owned sidewalk surrounding the plaintiff's stand-alone department store. While the case was pending on appeal, "the Legislature enacted the Moscone Act, Code of Civil Procedure section 527.3, which limits the equity jurisdiction of superior courts in granting injunctions in cases involving labor disputes." ( Sears, 25 Cal. 3d at pp. 320-321.) Sears cited Schwartz-Torrance and In re Lane as establishing the legality of picketing on private sidewalks outside the store as a matter of state labor law. ( Sears, supra, at p. 328.) Thus, Sears concluded that "the sidewalk outside a retail store has become the traditional and accepted place where unions may, by peaceful picketing, present to the public their views respecting a labor dispute with that store. Recognized as lawful by the decisions of this court, such picketing likewise finds statutory sanction in the Moscone Act, and enjoys protection from injunction by the terms of that act. In such context the location of the store whether it is on the main street of the downtown section of the metropolitan area, in a suburban shopping center or in a parking lot, does not make any difference. Peaceful picketing outside the store, involving neither fraud, violence, breach of the peace, nor interference with access or egress, is not subject to the injunction jurisdiction of the courts." (25 Cal. 3d at pp. 332-333.)