« ForrigeFortsett »
304 Opinion of the Court.
of judgment. The circuit court of appeals modified the judgment to exclude the interest. 164 F. 2d 21. This Court granted certiorari. 333 U. S. 836. Affirmed, p. 307.
Sol Gelb submitted on brief for petitioner.
William J. O'Brien, Jr. argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief were Louis J. Carruthers, Hugh B. Cox and Arthur R. Douglass.
Mr. Justice Jackson delivered the opinion of the Court.
This case first presents the question whether a plaintiff recovering under the Federal Employers' Liability Act, 45 U. S. C. § 51, is entitled to have interest on the verdict for the interval between its return and the entry of judgment, where the Circuit Court of Appeals' mandate which authorized the judgment contains no direction to add interest and is never amended to do so.
The jury returned a verdict of $42,500. The District Court then granted a motion, as to which decision had been reserved during the trial, to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction, and the judgment entered was therefore one of dismissal. However, the Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, 153 F. 2d 841, and directed that judgment be entered on the verdict for plaintiff. When the District Court entered judgment, it added to the verdict interest from the date thereof to the date of judgment. The mandate of the Circuit Court of Appeals had made no provision for interest. No motion to recall and amend the mandate had been made and the term at which it was handed down had expired. Motion to resettle so as to exclude the interest was denied by the District Court. The Circuit Court of Appeals has modified the judgment to exclude the interest in question and to conform to its mandate, 164 F. 2d 21, and the case is here on certiorari, 333 U. S. 836.
Opinion of the Court. 334U.S.
In its earliest days this Court consistently held that an inferior court has no power or authority to deviate from the mandate issued by an appellate court. Himely v. Rose, 5 Cranch 313; The Santa Maria, 10 Wheat. 431; Boyce's Executors v. Grundy, 9 Pet. 275; Ex parte Sibbald v. United States, 12 Pet. 488. The rule of these cases has been uniformly followed in later days; see, for example, In re Washington & Georgetown R. Co., 140 U. S. 91; Ex parte Union Steamboat Company, 178 U. S. 317; Kansas City Southern R. Co. v. Guardian Trust Co., 281 U. S. 1. Chief Justice Marshall applied the rule to interdict allowance of interest not provided for in the mandate, Himely v. Rose, 5 Cranch 313; Mr. Justice Story explained and affirmed the doctrine, The Santa Maria, 10 Wheat. 431; Boyce's Executors v. Grundy, 9 Pet. 275. We do not see how it can be questioned at this time. It is clear that the interest was in excess of the terms of the mandate and hence was wrongly included in the District Court's judgment and rightly stricken out by the Circuit Court of Appeals. The latter court's mandate made no provision for such interest and the trial court had no power to enter judgment for an amount different than directed. If any enlargement of that amount were possible, it could be done only by amendment of the mandate. But no move to do this was made during the term at which it went down. While power to act on its mandate after the term expires survives to protect the integrity of the court's own processes. Hazel-Atlas Glass Co. v. Hartford Co., 322 U. S. 238. it has not been held to survive for the convenience of litigants. Fairmont Creamery Co. v. Minnesota, 275 U. S. 70.
The plaintiff has at no time moved to amend the mandate which is the basis of the judgment. That it made no provision for interest was apparent on its face. Plaintiff accepted its advantages and brings her case to this Court, not on the proposition that amendment of the 304 Rutledge, J., dissenting.
mandate has been improperly refused, but on the ground that the mandate should be disregarded. Such a position cannot be sustained. Hence the question whether interest might, on proper application, have been allowed, is not reached.1 In re Washington & Georgetown R. Co., 140
Mr. Justice Rutledge, with whom Mr. Justice Black, Mr. Justice Douglas and Mr. Justice Murphy join, dissenting.
We granted certiorari to resolve a conflict between the decision of the Circuit Court of Appeals, 164 F. 2d 21, and one rendered by the like court for the Fifth Circuit in Louisiana & Arkansas R. Co. v. Pratt, 142 F. 2d 847.
In each case the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff, but the trial court nevertheless gave judgment for the defendant as a matter of law;' upon appeal that
1 Compare Louisiana & Arkansas R. Co. v. Pratt, 142 F. 2d 847, with Briggs v. Pennsylvania R. Co., 164 F. 2d 21.
2 "We do not consider the question as to whether interest was allowable by law, or rule, or statute, on the original judgment of the special term, or whether it would have been proper for the special term, in rendering the judgment, or otherwise, to have allowed interest upon it, or whether it would have been proper for the general term to do so; but we render our decision solely upon the point that, as neither the special term nor the general term allowed interest on the judgment, and as this court awarded no interest in its judgment of affirmance, all that the general term could do, after the mandate of this court went down, was to enter a judgment carrying out the mandate according to its terms, and simply affirming the prior judgment of the general term, and directing execution of the judgment of the special term . . . with costs, and without interest . . . ." 140 U.S.91 at 97.
1 In this case the complaint was dismissed on the ground that the plaintiff administratrix lacked capacity to bring the action; in the Pratt case the trial court found the verdict inconsistent with answers given to special interrogatories, and therefore gave judgment for the defendant.
Ritledge, J., dissenting. 334U.S.
judgment was reversed; and the cause was remanded with directions to enter judgment on the verdict. In both cases the appellate courts' mandates were silent concerning interest, but the trial courts included in the judgments interest from the date of the verdict, not merely from the time when judgment was entered following receipt of the appellate courts' mandates.2 In the Pratt case this action of the trial court was sustained as conforming to the mandate; in this case the trial court's like action was reversed as being in excess of and, to that extent, contrary to the mandate.
The two cases thus present squarely conflicting decisions on two questions: (1) whether the appellate court's mandate includes the interest provided by 28 U. S. C. 8 Hll," although the mandate makes no explicit mention of interest; (2) whether, if so, the interest allowed by the section properly runs from the date of the verdict* 304 Rutledge, J., dissenting.
'In the Pratt case the District Court allowed interest not only from the date of the verdict but also from the date of judicial demand. This was modified on appeal to allow interest only from the date of verdict. 142 F. 2d 847.
"The section is as follows: "Interest shall be allowed on all judgments in civil causes, recovered in a district court, and may be levied by the marshal under process of execution issued thereon, in all cases where, by the law of the State in which such court is held, interest may be levied under process of execution on judgments recovered in llie courts of such State; and it shall be calculated from the date of the judgment, at such rate as is allowed by law on judgments recovered in the courts of such State." Rev. Stat. § 966, 28 U. S. C. §KU.
'Although § SI 1 requires calculation of interest "from the date of the judgment," the claim is that, in circumstances like these, the words "the judgment" should be taken to specify not the time of entering judgment after appeal and issuance of mandate following reversal, but the time when judgment properly would have been entered but for the delay caused by the defendant's resistance to the plaintiff's rightful claim as established on appeal. Cf. Fed. Rules Civ. Proc., Rule 58. Petitioner fixes this time as the date of the
or only from the time of entering judgment after receipt of the appellate court's mandate. Both questions are necessarily involved on petitioner's presentation and should now be decided.
This Court, however, declines to answer the second question, because it determines the first in respondent's favor, accepting, erroneously I think, the decision of the Circuit Court of Appeals in this phase of the case.5 That court construed its mandate as not including interest. This was on the basis that the mandate was silent concerning interest, mentioning expressly only the principal sum awarded by the verdict. In such a case the court said, "the District Court is without power to enter judgment for a different sum." * Hence, it was held, the mandate was violated when interest was added to that sum. 164 F. 2d at 23. And even upon the assumption that the mandate might have been amended to include interest by timely application for that purpose, this could not be done after expiration of the term at which the judgment was rendered, as petitioner sought to have done.7 Ibid.
verdict. It is not necessary now to consider whether, if petitioner's broad contention were accepted, the proper date would be that of the verdict or that on which the trial court concluded its consideration of the case and entered the original judgment for the defendant.
5 The Circuit Court of Appeals not only rested upon its construction of its mandate and the view that it could not be altered after the term, but also decided the question concerning petitioner's right to interest under §811 adversely to his claim that it begins to run prior to the date of the trial court's entry of judgment after remand. To what extent this ruling influenced the decision as to the mandate's effect is not clear.
* Citing In re Washington & Georgetown R. Co., 140 U. S. 91; Thornton v. Carter, 109 F. 2d 316. See text infra at note 11.
7 In the Pratt case the term of court at which the original mandate of the Circuit Court of Appeals had been handed down had similarly expired.