445 F.2d 431 (5th Cir. 1971), 30327, Ancora Corp. v. Stein

Docket Nº:30327.
Citation:445 F.2d 431
Party Name:ANCORA CORPORATION et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. John E. STEIN et al., Defendants, Bart B. Chamberlain, Jr., Defendant-Appellant, Cornwall Trading Corporation, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:June 14, 1971
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Page 431

445 F.2d 431 (5th Cir. 1971)

ANCORA CORPORATION et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees,


John E. STEIN et al., Defendants, Bart B. Chamberlain, Jr., Defendant-Appellant, Cornwall Trading Corporation, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 30327.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

June 14, 1971

Page 432

         Lester M. Bridgeman, Washington, D.C., Lewis G. Odom, Jr., Montgomery, Ala., John V. Long, Washington, D.C., John C. H. Miller, Jr., Montgomery, Ala., for appellant Bart B. Chamberlain, Jr.

         Champ Lyons, Jr., Montgomery, Ala., for appellant, Cornwall Trading Corporation; Capell, Howard, Knabe & Cobbs, Montgomery, Ala., of counsel.

         Willis C. Darby, Jr., Robert E. Gibney, Mobile, Ala., for plaintiffs-appellees.

         Before TUTTLE, WISDOM and INGRAHAM, Circuit Judges.

         TUTTLE, Circuit Judge.

         On March 31st, 1966, appellees, Ancora Corporation, et al., filed an original suit in the United States district court for the Southern District of Alabama against one, Stein, as unit manager, Citronelle Unit, for an injunction to prohibit Stein from taking possession of eight oil wells owned and operated by Ancora in the Citronelle Field, Mobile County, Alabama. On March 27th, 1967, Ancora, with leave of court, amended its complaint to add Chamberlain, Cornwall and others as party defendants, alleging for the first time three counts for an injunction and damages under the federal antitrust laws. Chamberlain and Cornwall filed their answers denying the material allegations of Ancora's amended complaint on May 15th, 1967. On September 4th, 1968, and September 27th, 1968, Chamberlain and Cornwall, respectively, pursuant to rule 15(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, moved the district court for leave to amend and supplement their defensive pleadings by adding a counterclaim.

         In their tendered counterclaim, Chamberlain and Cornwall alleged that Ancora, for the ulterior motive of extortion, to delay the effective benefits that would otherwise have flowed to Chamberlain and Cornwall for the purpose of requiring an agreement from other members of the Citronelle Unit from an enlargement proceeding decided by the

Page 433

State Oil and Gas board of Alabama relating to the establishment of a 'lease line arrangement' between or among the secondary recovery units in the Citronelle Field, 'filed and prosecuted and utilized', the suit with the intent and effect of delaying effectuation of the enlargement order; that the filing of the anti-trust complaints against them was neither 'filed or prosecuted in good faith to obtain the relief ostensibly sought thereby.' It was alleged that 'Ancora intended, and attempted to utilize, those actions for the ulterior objective of extorting from the operators of the Citronelle unit, including Chamberlain, benefits and concessions to the counterclaim defendants, including but not limited to, a lease line agreement then and now the subject of a different proceeding pending before the board. That objective was not one properly obtainable by way of relief in any of the said judicial proceedings.'

         The trial court denied the motion to permit Chamberlain and Cornwall to file the counterclaim, determining that the tendered counterclaim failed to allege facts upon which relief could be granted. The court based its decision upon its determination that 'the defendants (the counterclaimants) contend their respective counterclaims state a cause of action for 'abuse of process ". The trial court then...

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