United States v. F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company

PETITIONER: United States
RESPONDENT: F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company
LOCATION: Philadelphia Board of Public Education

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 356 US 227 (1958)
ARGUED: Jan 06, 1958
DECIDED: Apr 07, 1958

Facts of the case


Media for United States v. F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 06, 1958 in United States v. F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company

Leonard B. Sand:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

This case arises on the writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which Court dismissed the Government's appeal as untimely filed.

The facts are not in dispute.

This was a suit for refund of taxes and the taxpayer moved in the District Court for summary judgment.

And on April 14th, 1955, the district judge granted an opinion which quoted and relied upon the opinion of another district judge in another case.

And that opinion concluded with the language which appears on page 4 of the record.

I am in agreement with Judge Leibell's analysis and accordingly, the plaintiff's motion is granted.

On that same day, the clerk of the Court made an entry in the civil docket which appears at the top of page 2 of the record."April 14th, Rayfiel, J. Decision rendered on motion for summary judgment.

Motion granted.

See opinion on file."

On May 24, 1955, the district judge signed a paper submitted not by the Government but by the taxpayer which was -- had a judgment and which appears on pages 4 and 5 of the record.

That document after -- reciting that the Court's opinion having been duly filed herein, it has ordered adjudged and decreed that the plaintiff, Schaefer Brewing Company recover of the defendant certain sums spelled out in that document.

The document was stamped, judgment rendered, dated May 24, 1955.

And on that date, the clerk made the docket entry which appears on page 2 of the record.

May 24, Rayfiel J. Judgment filed and docketed against defendant in various sums of money that spelled out.

The Government filed its notice of appeal on July 21, 1955 which was 98 days from the original grant of the motion from the decision and 58 days from the filing of the judgment, the form of judgment signed on May 24th.

The taxpayer moved in the Court of Appeals to dismiss the Government's appeal as not timely brought.

That is not brought within 60 days from the entry of the judgment as required by Rule 73.

Thus, looking at pages 4 and 5 of the record, the first issue in this case is whether the opinion of the District Court granting the motion was in and of itself the judgment of the Court, the final disposition by the district judge of that case.

Or whether the document headed in a stamped judgment dated May 24th, 1955 submitted by the taxpayer and signed by the district judge constitutes the judgment in the case.

And the second issue, looking at page 2 of the record is whether the April 14th entry decision rendered on motion for summary judgment constitutes an entry of judgment, a docket entry of judgment which contains the nature and substance of the judgment as required by the rules to begin the running of the period within which an appeal must be taken.

Or whether the May 24th entry is the applicable judgment entry.

Felix Frankfurter:

Mr. Sand, may I ask at the outset, in order to appreciate the reach of this -- does the -- in the problem of this kind, appreciate the general problem, but does the specific setting in which the problem arises in the Second Circuit raised the question for all the other circuits or other variations in the different circuits regarding the practice of what they do about, what they say when they file opinions and make docket entries thereon and then later there's a later entry.

What is (Inaudible)?

What is the situation?

Leonard B. Sand:

Well, the crucial question that the Second Circuit has -- has held and the other circuits would agree, is the intent of the -- of the district judge.

And to some extent in evaluating, in categorizing the words used by the district judge resort has had to local practice.

Felix Frankfurter:

Well, this -- this question may not -- this -- you -- one cannot say that this raises that question of statutory construction which will hereafter govern every circuit.

Leonard B. Sand:

I -- I think not.

I think that one says -- let me make that clear.