Allied Chemical Corporation v. Daiflon, Inc, No. 79-1895

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM; STEWART; BLACKMUN
Citation449 U.S. 33,101 S.Ct. 188,66 L.Ed.2d 193
PartiesALLIED CHEMICAL CORPORATION et al., v. DAIFLON, INC
Decision Date17 November 1980
Docket NumberNo. 79-1895

66 L.Ed.2d 193
101 S.Ct. 188
449 U.S. 33
ALLIED CHEMICAL CORPORATION et al.,

v.

DAIFLON, INC.

No. 79-1895.
Nov. 17, 1980.

PER CURIAM.

Respondent, Daiflon, Inc., is a small importer of refrigerant gas that brought an antitrust suit against all domestic manufacturers of the gas. Petitioner E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. was accused of monopolizing the industry in violation of § 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2. All petitioners were accused of conspiring to drive respondent out of business in violation of § 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1.

After a 4-week trial, the jury returned a verdict for the respondent and awarded $2.5 million in damages. In a subsequent oral order, the trial court denied petitioners' motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, but granted a motion for new trial. The trial court acknowledged in its oral order that it had erred during trial in certain of its evidentiary rulings and that the evidence did not support the amount of the jury award.

Page 34

Respondent then filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, 612 F.2d 1249, requesting that it instruct the trial court to reinstate the jury verdict. The Court of Appeals, without a transcript of the trial proceedings before it,1 issued a writ of mandamus directing the trial court to restore the jury verdict as to liability but permitting the trial court to proceed with a new trial on damages. Daiflon, Inc. v. Bohanon, 612 F.d 1249. Petitioners seek review of this action of the Court of Appeals by their petition for certiorari with this Court.

An order granting a new trial is interlocutory in nature and therefore not immediately appealable. The question presented by this petition is therefore whether a litigant may obtain a review of an order concededly not appealable by way of mandamus. If such review were permissible then the additional question would be presented as to whether the facts in this particular case warrant the issuance of the writ.

It is not disputed that the remedy of mandamus is a drastic one, to be invoked only in extraordinary situations. Will v. United States, 389 U.S. 90, 95, 88 S.Ct. 269, 273, 19 L.Ed.2d 305, (1967); Bankers Life & Cas. Co. v. Holland, 346 U.S. 379, 382-385, 74 S.Ct. 142, 149, 98 L.Ed. 106, (1953); Ex parte Fahey, 332 U.S. 258, 259, 67 S.Ct. 1558, 1559, 91 L.Ed. 2041, (1947). On direct appeal from a final decision, a court of appeals has broad authority to "modify, vacate, set aside or reverse" an order of a district court, and it may direct such further action on remand "as may be just under the circumstances." 28 U.S.C. § 2106. By contrast, under the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a), courts of appeals may issue a writ of mandamus only when "necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdic-

Page 35

tions." Although a simple showing of error may suffice to obtain a reversal on direct appeal, to issue a writ of mandamus under such circumstances "would undermine the settled limitations upon the power of an appellate court to review interlocutory orders." Will v. United States, supra, at 98, n.6, 88 S.Ct., at 275, n.6.

This Court has recognized that the writ of mandamus "has traditionally been used in the federal courts only 'to confine an inferior court to a lawful exercise of its prescribed jurisdiction or to compel it to exercise its authority when it is its duty to do so.' " Will v. United States, supra, 389 U.S., at 95, 88 S.Ct., at 273, quoting Roche v. Evaporated Milk Assn., 319 U.S. 21, 26, 63 S.Ct. 938, 941, 87 L.Ed. 1185 (1943). Only exceptional circumstances, amounting to a judicial usurpation of power, will justify the invocation of this extraordinary remedy. Will v. United States, supra, at 95, 88 S.Ct., at 273.

The reasons for this Court's chary authorization of mandamus as an extraordinary remedy have often been explained. See Kerr v. United States District Court, 426 U.S. 394, 402-403, 96 S.Ct. 2119, 2123-2124, 48 L.Ed.2d 725 (1976). Its use has the unfortunate consequence of making a district court judge a litigant, and it indisputably contributes to piecemeal appellate litigation. It has...

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1284 practice notes
  • Heimlicher v. Steele, No. C05-4054-PAZ.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • May 14, 2009
    ...trial ... is confided almost entirely to the exercise of discretion on the part of the trial court." Allied Chem. Corp. v. Daiflon, Inc., 449 U.S. 33, 36, 101 S.Ct. 188, 66 L.Ed.2d 193 (1980). On the issue of damages, the propriety of the amount of a verdict "is basically, and should be, a ......
  • Rothner v. City of Chicago, Nos. 88-1999
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • July 5, 1989
    ...v. United States District Court, --- U.S. ----, 109 S.Ct. 1814, 1822, 104 L.Ed.2d 318 (1989); Allied Chemical Corp. v. Daiflon, Inc., 449 U.S. 33, 101 S.Ct. 188, 66 L.Ed.2d 193 (1980); Unreviewable remands may deprive defendants of a federal forum to which they are entitled. Review of reman......
  • Cherrix v. Braxton, No. Civ.A. 00CV1377.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • February 28, 2000
    ...to a judicial usurpation of power, will justify the invocation of this extraordinary remedy." Allied Chemical Corp. v. Daiflon, Inc., 449 U.S. 33, 35, 101 S.Ct. 188, 66 L.Ed.2d 193 (1980). Congress intended that appellate review of a district court's order should be postponed until after th......
  • Semper v. Curtis, No. 13–2582.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • March 24, 2014
    ...the remedy of mandamus is a drastic one, to be invoked only in extraordinary situations.’ ”) (quoting Allied Chem. Corp. v. Daiflon, Inc., 449 U.S. 33, 34, 101 S.Ct. 188, 66 L.Ed.2d 193 (1980) (footnote omitted)). Specifically, “[t]he common-law writ of mandamus, as codified in 28 U.S.C. § ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1287 cases
  • Heimlicher v. Steele, No. C05-4054-PAZ.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • May 14, 2009
    ...trial ... is confided almost entirely to the exercise of discretion on the part of the trial court." Allied Chem. Corp. v. Daiflon, Inc., 449 U.S. 33, 36, 101 S.Ct. 188, 66 L.Ed.2d 193 (1980). On the issue of damages, the propriety of the amount of a verdict "is basically, and should be, a ......
  • Rothner v. City of Chicago, Nos. 88-1999
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • July 5, 1989
    ...v. United States District Court, --- U.S. ----, 109 S.Ct. 1814, 1822, 104 L.Ed.2d 318 (1989); Allied Chemical Corp. v. Daiflon, Inc., 449 U.S. 33, 101 S.Ct. 188, 66 L.Ed.2d 193 (1980); Unreviewable remands may deprive defendants of a federal forum to which they are entitled. Review of reman......
  • Cherrix v. Braxton, No. Civ.A. 00CV1377.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • February 28, 2000
    ...to a judicial usurpation of power, will justify the invocation of this extraordinary remedy." Allied Chemical Corp. v. Daiflon, Inc., 449 U.S. 33, 35, 101 S.Ct. 188, 66 L.Ed.2d 193 (1980). Congress intended that appellate review of a district court's order should be postponed until after th......
  • Semper v. Curtis, No. 13–2582.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • March 24, 2014
    ...the remedy of mandamus is a drastic one, to be invoked only in extraordinary situations.’ ”) (quoting Allied Chem. Corp. v. Daiflon, Inc., 449 U.S. 33, 34, 101 S.Ct. 188, 66 L.Ed.2d 193 (1980) (footnote omitted)). Specifically, “[t]he common-law writ of mandamus, as codified in 28 U.S.C. § ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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