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Standard Oil Co. of Cal. v. United States

U.S.
Oct 18, 1976
429 U.S. 17 (1976)

Summary

holding that it is well-settled that "the District Court may entertain a Rule 60(b) motion without leave by this Court" even if the appellate court has already decided an appeal of the complained-of judgment

Summary of this case from Doyle v. Padula

Opinion

ON MOTION TO RECALL MANDATE

No. 72-1251.

Decided October 18, 1976

On motion to recall Supreme Court mandate affirming a District Court judgment against movant, and for leave to file a motion under Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 60(b), the motion to recall is denied because the District Court may take appropriate action on the Rule 60(b) motion without leave of this Court.


Following an eight-day trial, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California enjoined movant from engaging in certain practices found to violate § 3 of the Sherman Act, 26 Stat. 209, as amended, 15 U.S.C. § 3. 362 F. Supp. 1331 (1973). The judgment was summarily affirmed by this Court. 412 U.S. 924. Movant now seeks to have the judgment set aside on the basis of alleged misconduct by Government counsel and by a material witness who is now prosecuting a treble-damages action against movant. Preliminarily to filing a motion in the District Court pursuant to Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 60(b), movant has filed a motion in this Court requesting that we recall our mandate and grant leave to proceed in the District Court. We hold that the District Court may entertain a Rule 60(b) motion without leave by this Court. We therefore deny the motion to recall our mandate, without prejudice to Standard Oil's right to proceed in the District Court.

It is technically incorrect to refer to our "mandate" because a copy of the judgment was issued in lieu of a mandate. See this Court's Rule 59(3). Nevertheless, to avoid confusion with the District Court judgment, we will use the term "mandate" throughout this opinion.

We recognize that in the past both this Court and many Courts of Appeals have required appellate leave before the District Court could reopen a case which had been reviewed on appeal. The requirement derived from a belief that an appellate court's mandate bars the trial court from later disturbing the judgment entered in accordance with the mandate. See In re Potts, 166 U.S. 263 (1897); Butcher Sherrerd v. Welsh, 206 F.2d 259, 262 (CA3 1953), cert. denied, 346 U.S. 925 (1954); Home Indemnity Co. of New York v. O'Brien, 112 F.2d 387, 388 (CA6 1940). It has also been argued that the appellate-leave requirement protects the finality of the judgment and allows the appellate court to screen out frivolous Rule 60(b) motions. Tribble v. Bruin, 279 F.2d 424, 427-428 (CA4 1960); 7 J. Moore, Federal Practice ¶ 60.30 [2], p. 429 n. 27 (1975).

This Court held that appellate leave was required in In re Potts, 166 U.S. 263 (1897), and spoke approvingly of the practice in Hazel-Atlas Co. v. Hartford Co., 322 U.S. 238, 248 (1944). The appellate-leave requirement has also been approved by several Court of Appeals decisions, in addition to those cited in the paragraph of the text accompanying this footnote. See Wilson Research Corp. v. Piolite Plastics Corp., 336 F.2d 303, 305 (CA1 1964); Hartman v. Lauchli, 304 F.2d 431, 432-433 (CA8 1962) (alternative holding). On the other hand, the Tenth Circuit has rejected the requirement, Kodekey Electronics, Inc. v. Mechanex Corp., 500 F.2d 110, 112-113 (1974); Wilkin v. Sunbeam Corp., 405 F.2d 165 (1968), and the Seventh Circuit has recently indicated that it now "would probably not go so far as to hold that appellate leave is necessary whenever relief is sought under Rule 60(b)(5)," SEC v. Advance Growth Capital Corp., 539 F.2d 649, 650 (1976).

In our view, the arguments in favor of requiring appellate leave are unpersuasive. Like the original district court judgment, the appellate mandate relates to the record and issues then before the court, and does not purport to deal with possible later events. Hence, the district judge is not flouting the mandate by acting on the motion. See 11 C. Wright A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2873, pp. 269-270 (1973). Cf. SEC v. Advance Growth Capital Corp., 539 F.2d 649, 650 (CA7 1976). Furthermore, the interest in finality is no more impaired in this situation than in any Rule 60(b) proceeding. Finally, we have confidence in the ability of the district courts to recognize frivolous Rule 60(b) motions. Indeed, the trial court "is in a much better position to pass upon the issues presented in a motion pursuant to Rule 60(b)," Wilkin v. Sunbeam Corp., 405 F.2d 165, 166 (CA10 1968). Accord, Wilson Research Corp. v. Piolite Plastics Corp., 336 F.2d 303, 305 (CA1 1964); 11 Wright Miller, supra, at 269.

The appellate-leave requirement adds to the delay and expense of litigation and also burdens the increasingly scarce time of the federal appellate courts. We see no reason to continue the existence of this "unnecessary and undesirable clog on the proceedings," S.C. Johnson Son, Inc. v. Johnson, 175 F.2d 176, 184 (CA2 1949) (Clark, J., dissenting). We therefore deny the motion to recall because the District Court may take appropriate action without this Court's leave.

MR. JUSTICE WHITE took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.


Summaries of

Standard Oil Co. of Cal. v. United States

U.S.
Oct 18, 1976
429 U.S. 17 (1976)

holding that it is well-settled that "the District Court may entertain a Rule 60(b) motion without leave by this Court" even if the appellate court has already decided an appeal of the complained-of judgment

Summary of this case from Doyle v. Padula

holding that a party need not obtain leave from an appellate court prior to filing a Rule 60(b) motion in the district court

Summary of this case from Lazare Kaplan Int'l, Inc. v. PhotoScribe Techs., Inc.

holding that a party need not obtain leave from an appellate court prior to filing a Rule 60(b) motion in the district court

Summary of this case from Lazare Kaplan Int'l, Inc. v. Photoscribe Techs., Inc.

holding that a district court confronted with a Rule 60 motion after conclusion of an appeal may revisit issues based on "later events" but may not flout the mandate by redeciding questions "relate[d] to the record and issues [previously] before the [appellate] court"

Summary of this case from Kingdom v. Lamerque

holding appellate leave unnecessary for a district court to consider a 60(b) motion because "the appellate mandate relates to the record and issues then before the court, and does not purport to deal with possible later events"

Summary of this case from Lindy Investments v. Shakertown Inc.

holding that where later review makes doing so appropriate, a district court may grant relief from permanent injunctions without appellate leave

Summary of this case from Prudential Ins. Co. of Am. v. National Park

holding that, although "Courts of Appeals have required appellate leave before the District Court could reopen a case which had been reviewed on appeal," the "arguments in favor of requiring appellate leave are unpersuasive"

Summary of this case from Advanced Comm. Corp. v. F.C.C

holding district court can act on a Rule 60(b) motion following an appellate decision without leave from the appellate court

Summary of this case from Fobian v. Storage Technology Corporation

holding that a district court may entertain a Rule 60(b) motion after an appellate court has resolved the issue without leave from the appellate court

Summary of this case from United States v. Henry

holding that a district court may consider a Rule 60(b) motion following an appellate decision without leave from the appellate court

Summary of this case from Sanders v. Family Dollar Stores, Inc.

holding that a district court may consider a Rule 60(b) motion following an appellate decision without leave from the appellate court

Summary of this case from Sanders v. Family Dollar Stores, Inc.

holding that a district court could consider a Rule 60(b) motion that was based on later events because the appellate court mandate dealt only with the “record and issues then before the court, and does not purport to deal with possible later events” so the “district judge [was] not flouting the mandate by acting on the motion”

Summary of this case from Wright v. Poole

holding that a district court could consider a Rule 60(b) motion that was based on later events because the appellate court mandate dealt only with the “record and issues then before the court, and does not purport to deal with possible later events” so the “district judge [was] not flouting the mandate by acting on the motion”

Summary of this case from Wright v. Poole

holding that after issuance of an adjudication on appeal, party in cause not required to obtain leave of appellate court before filing a motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60 in the district court

Summary of this case from Jurinko v. Medical Protective Co.

holding that district court may entertain a Rule 60(b) motion without leave of appellate court

Summary of this case from Roller v. Gunn

holding that the mandate branch of the law of the case doctrine does not preclude a trial court from entertaining a Rule 60(b) motion that, if granted, would disturb the judgment entered in accordance with the appellate mandate

Summary of this case from State v. Eureka Cnty.

holding that a trial court does not violate the mandate rule in addressing a Rule 60(b) motion in a case affirmed on appeal because "[l]ike the original district court judgment, the appellate mandate relates to the record and issues then before the court, and does not purport to deal with possible later events. Hence, the district judge is not flouting the mandate by acting on the motion."

Summary of this case from State ex Rel. Frazier v. Cummings

concluding that the district court may entertain a post-judgment motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) without obtaining leave from the Supreme Court, because "the appellate mandate [from that court] relates to the record and issues then before the court, and does not purport to deal with possible later events"

Summary of this case from Ford v. British Petroleum

ruling that district courts can entertain Rule 60(B) motions after appeal has been taken without leave of the appellate court

Summary of this case from Matter of Harrington v. Bannigan

denying motion to recall mandate after decision on the basis of alleged misconduct by government counsel and new evidence

Summary of this case from Goland v. Central Intelligence Agency

In Standard Oil Co. of California v. United States, 429 U.S. 17, 17, 97 S.Ct. 31, 50 L.Ed.2d 21 (1976) (per curiam), the Court held that a district court may entertain a Rule 60(b) motion without first obtaining leave of the appellate court.

Summary of this case from Hernandez v. Results Staffing, Inc.

noting that “the trial court is in a much better position to pass upon the issues presented in a motion pursuant to Rule 60(b) ”

Summary of this case from United States v. McRae

stating that "the trial court is in a much better position to pass upon the issues presented in a motion pursuant to Rule 60(b)"

Summary of this case from Nobrega v. Hinkle

discussing finality concerns relating to Rule 60(b) motions filed after appeal

Summary of this case from Diaz v. Jiten Hotel Mgmt., Inc.

In Standard Oil, the appellant sought leave to have the Supreme Court recall its mandate in order to reopen a judgment on the basis of alleged misconduct by both government counsel and a material witness.

Summary of this case from LSLJ Partnership v. Frito-Lay, Inc.
Case details for

Standard Oil Co. of Cal. v. United States

Case Details

Full title:STANDARD OIL CO. OF CALIFORNIA v . UNITED STATES

Court:U.S.

Date published: Oct 18, 1976

Citations

429 U.S. 17 (1976)
97 S. Ct. 31
50 L. Ed. 2d 21

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