Walker v. Armco Steel Corporation

PETITIONER: Walker
RESPONDENT: Armco Steel Corporation
LOCATION: Congress

DOCKET NO.: 78-1862
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

CITATION: 446 US 740 (1980)
ARGUED: Jan 08, 1980
DECIDED: Jun 02, 1980

ADVOCATES:
Don Manners - on behalf of Petitioner
Jay M. Galt - on behalf of Respondent

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Walker v. Armco Steel Corporation

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 08, 1980 in Walker v. Armco Steel Corporation

Warren E. Burger:

We will hear arguments this afternoon in Fred N. Walker against ARMCO Steel Corporation.

Mr. Manners, I think you may proceed now.

Don Manners:

Mr. Chief Justice and Members of This Honorable Court.

Fred Walker was a carpenter, and on August 22, 1975, he was driving an ARMCO nail into a piece of wood and it shattered, putting out his eye.

He came to my firm and eventually we filed a suit on August 19, 1977, within the two-year statute of limitation in the Federal Court.

And the summons were, what shall we say, lost?

We thought the marshal had them and the marshal thought the Clerk had them.

And we did a file review some 90 days later and we found them in our filing cabinet.

We took them down there.

I want to be square with you.

Warren E. Burger:

In your filing cabinet?

Don Manners:

Yes, sir.

I can't find who -- no one will admit in the firm ever bringing them back but, anyway, we found them in an unmarked folder in the filing cabinet on a file review.

That's how we found out they didn't get to the marshal.

In any event, the summons are taken to the marshal and ARMCO is served some 104 days later.

Now, Oklahoma has a statute that they must be served within 60 days beyond the statute of limitation, part of their statute.

It's a question of whether or not it is procedural or substantive, I guess.

And, of course, under Rule 3, you don't have that problem.

Anyway, service was had and then the Ragan Case came like a falcon out of the skies and struck down our lawsuit, and here we are.

Warren E. Burger:

The Ragan Case was decided somewhat before your lawsuit, wasn't it?

Don Manners:

Yes, sir.

The Hanna Case is a group barn burner on our side, but it didn't overrule Ragan.

William H. Rehnquist:

There are only nine of us up here too.

Don Manners:

Anyway, Judge Doyle of the Tenth Circuit, when he wrote his opinion, the last paragraph states, "The Supreme Court would perform a great service if it were to clear away the dilemma which exists as a result of the conflict between Ragan and Hanna."

He says, "We recognize that decisions are frequently allowed to die on the vine, so to speak.

We also recognize under such instances death does not, as a practical matter, take place.

If, however, Ragan was intended to die a natural death, it failed to happen."

So what we are here -- I am attempting to persuade--

Byron R. White:

You come not to praise Ragan, but to bury it, I take it?

Don Manners:

I come to bury Ragan, if possible.