Camero v. McNamara, Civ. A. No. 32300.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
Writing for the CourtDrew J. T. O'Keefe and Francis R. Crumlish, Philadelphia, Pa., for defendant
Citation222 F. Supp. 742
PartiesFrank CAMERO, Plaintiff, v. Robert S. McNAMARA, Secretary of Defense, Defendant.
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 32300.
Decision Date25 September 1963

Edwin J. McDermott, Philadelphia, Pa., for plaintiff.

Drew J. T. O'Keefe and Francis R. Crumlish, Philadelphia, Pa., for defendant.

BODY, District Judge.

This Court has jurisdiction of the within action under 28 U.S.C. § 1361 and § 1391(e), and 28 U.S.C. § 2201 and § 2202. Plaintiff seeks reinstatement in his federal job and a declaratory judgment to the effect that he was wrongfully discharged. Whether plaintiff seeks back pay here is uncertain since his prayer is not specifically so worded. However, he does seek "such further relief as is appropriate".

On June 29, 1961 plaintiff filed a claim in the Court of Claims (No. 192-61) alleging that his separation was arbitrary, capricious, grossly erroneous, and that the decision of the Civil Service Commission not to hear his appeal was arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law. On October 5, 1962 Congress passed the Act giving this District Court jurisdiction.

On November 6, 1962 the plaintiff filed his complaint in the instant suit. Subsequently on March 13, 1963 the defendant filed a motion for general continuance which is now before this Court. On March 20, 1963 plaintiff sought suspensation of the proceedings in the Court of Claims, and on April 12, 1963 the action was suspended on plaintiff's motion in the Court of Claims, pending disposition of the defendant's motion for a general continuance.

The first position the defendant takes is that the plaintiff is guilty of laches in filing his action in this Court. In that regard the defendant states that three years elapsed between the removal date (May 29, 1959) and suit in this Court (November 6, 1962). Actually, the real question of laches arises in the following manner: When the action was commenced in the Court of Claims plaintiff could not be said to have been guilty of anything like laches for up until that time it clearly appears that the plaintiff prosecuted his action diligently. However, after the action was filed in the Court of Claims, a long period elapsed before it was filed in this Court. This is the proper time to which to look in order to ascertain whether or not laches exist.

In the action in the Court of Claims the plaintiff is entitled to a back pay award only. Borak v. United States, 78 F.Supp. 123, 110 Ct.Cl. 236 (1948); cert. den. 335 U.S. 821, 69 S.Ct. 43, 93 L.Ed. 375 (1948). In the action in this Court the plaintiff is entitled to reinstatement, i. e., the action is equitable rather than merely legal. At the same time he filed his action in the Court of Claims, the plaintiff could have filed a similar action in the District Court for the District of Columbia seeking the exact relief which he now seeks here. Therefore, if there are laches they must be predicated upon the fact that the plaintiff failed to seek a remedy which was available to him almost two years ago. As bearing on this issue see Kohlman v. Smith, 71 F.Supp. 73 (W.D.Pa.1947). In that case the delay of about two years under similar circumstances between an adverse administrative decision and the seeking of the reinstatement remedy in the Federal District Court was held to constitute laches.

The plaintiff's theory is that as long as the defendant is on notice of a claim and on notice of the issues which it will have to defend, it is not prejudiced by delay and therefore, there are no laches because laches depend on prejudice being suffered on the part of the person asserting them. However, it must also be remembered that while the plaintiff was seeking only back pay in the Court of Claims action, he seeks here reinstatement. Therefore, the defendant did not have to prepare a defense based on reinstatement until the institution of the action here.

The plaintiff's counter to this proposition is that the defendant had sought to agree to the reinstatement if the action in the Court of Claims for back pay was favorable to the plaintiff. Since the defendant so stipulated it would appear that there is no longer an issue of reinstatement for any court. Reinstatement would follow as a matter of course based upon the defendant's written stipulation as well, as will hereinafter appear, as upon the defendant's use of the stipulation to support its motion for a general continuance.

Under all the circumstances it would appear that there were laches in this case since the defendant suffered prejudice by being put to the defense of two suits, and since the plaintiff filed his action belatedly as far as reinstatement is concerned.

However, the case need not be decided as on a motion to dismiss in view of the fact that the motion for a general continuance is pending. As will appear hereinafter a granting of the latter motion will protect both parties.

An action for reinstatement is equitable in nature and even if there is a clear legal right a court of equity will not grant relief if in its sound discretion it would be improper to do so. Kay Ferer, Inc. v. Hulen, 160 F.2d 146 (8th Cir., 1947). Relief should not be granted unless the case is clear and the reasons are compelling. United States ex rel. Jump v. Ickes, 73 App.D.C. 141, 117 F.2d 769 (1940); cert. den., 313 U.S. 575, 61 S.Ct. 1088, 85 L.Ed. 1533 (1941).

The rule is that an action will be stayed in a court of concurrent federal jurisdiction which receives the case after another court already has the same action filed on its docket. National Equipment Rental, Ltd. v. Fowler, et al., 287 F.2d 43 (2d Cir., 1961). It is also the rule that a court will not order a stay in an action because another action is pending...

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7 cases
  • United States v. Fausto, 86-595
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 25 Enero 1988
    ...see, e.g., Hargett v. Summerfield, 100 U.S.App.D.C. 85, 243 F.2d 29 (1957), and declaratory judgment, see, e.g., Camero v. McNamara, 222 F.Supp. 742 (ED Pa.1963). See generally R. Vaughn, Principles of Civil Service Law § 5.4, p. 5-21, and nn. 13-17 (1976) (collecting cases). For certain ki......
  • Barnes v. Chatterton, Civ. A. No. 72-806.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • 3 Abril 1974
    ...denied, 398 U.S. 943, 90 S.Ct. 1861, 26 L.Ed.2d 279 (1970); Charlton v. United States, 412 F.2d 390 (3d Cir. 1969); Camero v. McNamara, 222 F.Supp. 742 (E.D.Pa. 1963); Taylor v. Civil Service Commission, 374 F.2d 466 (9th Cir. 1967); 5 U.S.C. § 702 The scope of review of employee actions in......
  • Camero v. United States, 192-61.
    • United States
    • Court of Federal Claims
    • 14 Mayo 1965
    ...Government's motion for a general continuance, since plaintiff already had pending the instant suit in this court. Camero v. McNamara, 222 F.Supp. 742, 745 (E.D. In the case at bar, defendant had included as one ground for its motion for summary judgment the assertion that, by virtue of 28 ......
  • Phillips Petroleum Co. v. Federal Energy Admin., Civ. A. No. 77-90
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Delaware)
    • 27 Junio 1977
    ...81 L.Ed. 153 435 F. Supp. 1239 (1936); Dellinger v. Mitchell, 143 U.S.App. D.C. 60, 442 F.2d 782, 786-87 (1971); Camero v. McNamara, 222 F.Supp. 742, 744 (E.D. Pa.1963). Although recognizing that the FEA is burdened by having to litigate related cases in different forums,9 the Court, in the......
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