La Buy v. Howes Leather Company, Inc.

RESPONDENT: Howes Leather Company, Inc.
LOCATION: Congress

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1956-1957)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

CITATION: 352 US 249 (1957)
ARGUED: Oct 17, 1956 / Oct 18, 1956
DECIDED: Jan 14, 1957

Facts of the case


Media for La Buy v. Howes Leather Company, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 18, 1956 in La Buy v. Howes Leather Company, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 17, 1956 in La Buy v. Howes Leather Company, Inc.

Earl Warren:

Number 27, Walter J. La Buy versus Howes Leather Company and Montgomery Ward and Company Incorporated.

James A. Sprowl:

If the Court please --

Earl Warren:

You might wait just a moment until counsel get to see that Mr. Sprowl.

James A. Sprowl:

Excuse me.

Earl Warren:

Now you may proceed Mr. Sprowl.

James A. Sprowl:

In this case, I represent Judge Walter La Buy, one of the District Judges in Chicago.

This proceeding, which is a review of two writs of mandamus issued against Judge La Buy by the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, over his entering of orders in these two companion cases referring them generally to a master for hearing.

I -- in many of these mandamus cases involving an interlocutory order of some sort, the attorney representing the Judge is involved in the litigations that underlie the mandamus suits, but that doesn't happen to this so.

I have nothing to do with the antitrust suits that were referred to the master but was asked by the Judge to be his counsel in the Court of Appeals and in this Court.

Therefore, my knowledge of the underlying litigation is derived from the record which is quite full and the published opinions on interlocutory rulings of Judge La Buy as they have appeared in the federal rule decisions.

I think this case is a considerable importance in the administration of justice in the District Courts.

Judge La Buy had the luck to be the judge to try the du Pont case, United States against du Pont, that is now before this Court on review.

That trial occupied him from November 18th, 1952, until December 21st, 1953, a period of one year during which merely the hearing of the testimony and possibly the arguments in Court, the Court time took 101 trial days or substantially three quarters of the entire year of the Court.

After that, of course, he had to digest that record and write his opinion.

All of that was very unusual and put the Judge behind in his particular docket.

In Chicago, they assigned the cases purely by luck and I think there are eight judges and every eight case goes to one of the judges.

Felix Frankfurter:

And he sees the case through?

James A. Sprowl:

And he sees the case through and never reassigned it except of -- or there might be if -- if one judge had time, they might reassign a case or if -- if a case is related to a case pending before another judge, they consolidate them before the lowest number.

And Judge La Buy, although this isn't in the record, got some relief.

I know he did because of the appointment of new judges and he was able to reassign some cases to those new judges.

Nevertheless, he was left in a very difficult position.

Now, then, another thing had happened to Judge La Buy, now -- that -- that case of the -- the actual trial of the case ended one year before these references.

With his opinion, I don't think it -- that this record shows it was considerably later and the year between the end of the trial was occupied largely in consideration of that case that isn't the deal of time.

Now, in this case, or these two cases, involved the shoe repair trade in Chicago.

The petitions for mandamus, I might say, set forth nothing.

They say that the orders were contrary to the rules and should be set aside but no facts are setup.

My partner, Mr. Hatton, prepared Judge La Buy's answers.

I was trying a case before Judge Perry at the time and didn't get active in the case until the arguments came along.

The answers set forth the Second Amendment complaints in each of the cases.

Some of the answers, there are number of defendants, I think, two or three answers in each case to show the issues, some of the answers to interrogatory showing the extremely complicated and technical accounting type of testimony that will be involved in this case.