Mr. Sol Gelb, of New York City, for petitioner.
Mr. Wm. J. O'Brien, Jr., of New York City, for respondent.
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.A. 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, 2 Cir., 153 F.2d 841, 163 A.L.R. 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 theref 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 . [334 U.S. 304 , 306] 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 , 64 S. Ct. 997, 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 [334 U.S. 304 , 307] 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 U.S. 91, 11 S. Ct. 673.2
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, 2 Cir., 164 F.2d 21, and one rendered by the like court for the Fifth Circuit in Louisiana & Arkansas R. Co. v. Pratt, 5 Cir., 142 F.2d 847, 153 A.L.R. 851.
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;1 upon appeal that [334 U.S. 304 , 308] 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. 811, 28 U.S.C.A. 811,3 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 verdict4
[334 U.S. 304 , 309] 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 siln t 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.'6 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. [334 U.S. 304 , 310] It is this treatment of the court's mandate, now accepted by this Court and forming the basis for its disposition of the case without reaching the question certiorari was granted to review, from which I dissent. It confuses settled lines of distinction between different statutes and of decisions relating to them. I think these were correctly drawn and ought to be maintained. If that were done, we would be forced to reach and decide the question now avoided concerning the effect of 811.
Ordinarily it is for the court issuing a mandate to determine its scope and effect, and other courts are bound by its determination. But this is not always so. If it were true, for example, that the silence of a mandate or a judgment regarding interest invariably precluded its recovery, the Court's decision and that of the Circuit Court of Appeals would be correct. But an explicit provision for interest is not always necessary to its inclusion, whether in a judgment or a mandate. In some instances interest attaches as a matter of law, even though the mandate or judgment is wholly silent regarding it. In others explicit mention is necessary to its inclusion. Blair v. Durham, 6 Cir., 139 F.2d 260, and authorities cited.
Where the claim for interest rests upon statute, whether the one or the other effect results depends upon the terms and effect of the particular statute on which the claim is founded. Because not all statutes are alike in this respect, the terms and intent of each must be examined, when put in question, to ascertain whether the interest allowed attaches to the judgment or the mandate by operation of law or only upon explicit judicial direction. Usually this is resolved by determining whether the interest allowed is to be given in the court's discretion or as a matter of right. Blair v. Durham, supra.
As the Blair opinion points out, ordinarily there is no occasion to mention statutory interest expressly, since it [334 U.S. 304 , 311] attaches as a legal incident from the statute allowing it. 8 On the other hand, it has often been declared that interest is not allowed on judgments affirmed by this Court or the Circuit Courts of Appeals unless so ordered expressly. 9 The Blair opinion, however, further notes that all the cases so declaring are founded upon another statute than the one involved here, namely, 28 U.S.C. 878, 28 U.S.C.A. 878.10 And, it may be added, the decisions relied upon by this Court and by the Circuit Court of Appeals in this phase of the case presently before us involved either 878 or the allowance of other relief not based on 811.11
It becomes important therefore to ascertain whether the two statutes , 811 and 878, are alike in their effects as requiring or not requiring explicit mention of the interest provided for in order for it to be included in a [334 U.S. 304 , 312] judgment or mandate. The two sections are very different in their terms. Section 878 authorizes the federal appellate courts to award damages for delay, 12 and in terms makes the award discretionary with the reviewing court. Schell v. Cochran, 107 U.S. 625 . It is in connection with such awards, as has been stated, that the repeated decisions now applied to petitioner's claim, grounded solely on 811, have held that interest is to be deemed denied unless explicitly mentioned in the mandate.