Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation v. Mayacamas Corporation

PETITIONER: Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation
RESPONDENT: Mayacamas Corporation
LOCATION: Hustler Magazine Headquarters

DOCKET NO.: 86-1329
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1988-1990)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 485 US 271 (1988)
ARGUED: Dec 07, 1987
DECIDED: Mar 22, 1988

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation v. Mayacamas Corporation

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 07, 1987 in Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation v. Mayacamas Corporation

William H. Rehnquist:

We'll hear argument now in No. 86-1329, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation versus Mayacamas Corporation.

John Paul Stevens:

Is that based on some decision or do you just think it's clear on those words?

William H. Rehnquist:

Mr. Bien, you may proceed whenever you're ready.

Elliot L. Bien:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court.

I'd like to open this afternoon with a very brief statement of the case and next comment on the nature of the issue as it was faced by the District Court, and then turn to the matter of appellate jurisdiction.

As set forth in the briefs, while appellate jurisdiction does not stand or fall on the merits of any particular rule, it seems quite clear that the presence of appellate jurisdiction does turn on both the nature and the importance of the ruling, and on the practicalities of delaying appellate review.

Now, the underlying facts and legal issues of this case are completely unremarkable from a Federal point of view.

What is remarkable from that standpoint is the notion that a Federal Court should undertake to adjudicate this type of dispute when a competent State court was already doing so on the exact same issues, exact same parties, and when removal had been available to the State Court defendant but had been foregone.

After summarizing the case, I will argue that the Federal suit that resulted was not only identical and duplicative of the State Court lawsuit, but because removal had been available the duplicative Federal suit was wholly unnecessary even from the Federal plaintiff's point of view.

And wholly without justification under this Court's decisions or under the intention of Congress since 1789 when Congress created the removal process.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

Mr. Bien, as I understand it, the Georgia suit went to trial and there's a judgment.

Elliot L. Bien:

I will be addressing that.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

Is that right?

Elliot L. Bien:

Yes, Your Honor.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

And have you filed any motion in the Federal District Court now to dismiss the suit on res judicata grounds or something?

Elliot L. Bien:

No.

The Georgia case, as I reported in our Reply Brief, went to a jury trial in early November and a verdict for Mayacamas, the respondent, was entered and judgment ensued.

I'm advised by counsel for the respondent that today or Friday, Mayacamas has filed papers in the trial court in Georgia seeking a new trial, and because of the outcome, we certainly expect on Gulfstream's part that whatever the outcome of the new trial proceedings in Georgia, it will be followed by an appeal by Mayacamas as well.

Harry A. Blackmun:

But you haven't reached the appellate stage yet?

Elliot L. Bien:

No.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Surely you will appeal?

Elliot L. Bien:

I can state on Gulfstream's behalf that we will not appeal.

Harry A. Blackmun:

You will not appeal?

Elliot L. Bien:

We will not appeal.

We may cross appeal if Mayacamas appeals, but we will not appeal.

So in answering your question, Justice O'Connor, I believe that--

Sandra Day O'Connor:

No further motions have been filed in the Federal District Court as a result of what's transpired?

Elliot L. Bien:

--Not as of yet.

Not as of yet.

Antonin Scalia:

You would acknowledge that it's moot if Mayacamas doesn't take an appeal?