Meyercheck v. Givens, 9897.

Decision Date08 February 1950
Docket NumberNo. 9897.,9897.
Citation180 F.2d 221
PartiesMEYERCHECK et al. v. GIVENS.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Seventh Circuit

David H. Kraft, Chicago, Ill., Barney Padnos, Chicago, Ill., for appellant.

Irwin Panter, Chicago, Ill., Joseph L. Mack, Chicago, Ill., for appellee.

Before MAJOR, Chief Judge, FINNEGAN and LINDLEY, Circuit Judges.

MAJOR, Chief Judge.

Plaintiffs, eleven tenants, brought a joint action in a two-count complaint under Sec. 205(e) of the Emergency Price Control Act of 1942, Title 50 U.S.C.A.Appendix, § 925 (e), to recover separate damages against the defendant for alleged wilful rent overcharges, together with reasonable attorney fees, and for an injunction against the defendant restraining violations of the Rent Control Act. The court made findings of fact, including that the defendant "wilfully and knowingly demanded, accepted and received payments of rent in excess of the maximum rent prescribed under the said Act * * * and is still demanding, accepting and receiving such rentals." The court found separately the amount of rentals paid by each of the plaintiffs in excess of the maximum allowable rentals during the year immediately preceding the filing of the suit, and also as to six of the plaintiffs found the amount of rentals paid by each in excess of the maximum allowable rentals for a period prior to the one year period. The court also found that plaintiffs were entitled to an assessment of damages of one and one-half times the overcharges for the year immediately preceding the filing of the suit, assessed attorney fees in the sum of $400.00, and that plaintiffs were entitled to an injunction restraining the defendant in the manner requested. On January 19, 1949, judgment was entered in favor of the plaintiffs in accordance with such findings, from which judgment defendant appeals.

While both counts of the complaint are based upon the Act of 1942, it is evident that such Act is without application inasmuch as the Housing and Rent Act of 1947 as amended, 50 U.S.C.A.Appendix, § 1881 et seq., was in force when the suit was commenced. The case, however, was tried on the theory that the 1947 Act was applicable, and the court found that the overcharges were in violation of Sec. 205 of the latter Act, Title 50 U.S.C.A.Appendix, § 1895. Under the circumstances, we think we need not be concerned with the variance between the Act relied upon in the complaint and that recognized by the parties as being applicable and upon which the court made its decision.

The more important issues raised here are (1) that the proof is insufficient to support the court's findings as to overcharges, (2) that the court was without jurisdiction, (3) that there was a misjoinder of parties-plaintiffs, (4) that plaintiffs in any event were not entitled to recover for overcharges other than those made within one year prior to the commencement of the suit, and (5) that the court was without authority to issue a restraining order against the defendant.

No good purpose could be served in a narration of the testimony, either oral or documentary, upon which the court's findings are predicated. It is sufficient to note that we have examined it and are satisfied it furnishes ample support for such findings, including the finding that the defendant accepted and received payment of such overcharges wilfully and knowing that they were in excess of the allowable maximum rent.

The jurisdictional issue arises from defendant's contention that Congress by the Housing and Rent Act of 1947 did not confer jurisdiction upon federal courts to entertain suits of the instant nature. Defendant concedes that this question has been decided adversely to her contention by this court in Adler et al. v. Northern Hotel Co. et al., 175 F.2d 619. It is argued, however, that this decision is incorrect and should be overruled, especially in view of the very forcible dissent by our former colleague, now Justice Minton. While there may be room for argument as to the validity of our holding in that case, we are not convinced that it is erroneous and we adhere to it.

Defendant's contention relative to misjoinder of parties may also be disposed of in short order. A reading of Rule 20(a) and (b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 28 U.S.C.A., makes it plain that a wide discretion is vested in the trial court relative to the joinder of parties, as well as separate trials, and Rule 21 provides, "Misjoinder of parties is not ground for dismissal of an action." But of more importance, no request was made of the court for separate trials by a motion or otherwise and no complaint was made as to misjoinder. The question is raised here for the first time. More than that, it is not discernible how the asserted misjoinder was prejudicial to the defendant.

This brings us to a question of law, that is, whether plaintiffs, or any of them, were entitled to recover damages for overcharges in rent received by the defendant prior to one year before the commencement of the suit. Sec. 205 of the Act of 1947, as did its counterpart in Sec. 205(e) of the 1942 Act, expressly limits the right of recovery to "within one year after the date of such violation." As already noted, the court found the amount of overcharges which six of the plaintiffs paid prior to this one year period. The total of these...

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25 cases
  • Landes v. Barrett, 14603.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eighth Circuit
    • October 28, 1952
    ...220, 221. Many other courts have reached the opposite conclusion. See Adler v. Northern Hotel Co., 7 Cir., 175 F.2d 619; Meyercheck v. Givens, 7 Cir., 180 F.2d 221; West v. Schwarz, 7 Cir., 182 F.2d 721; Preston v. Leto, 5 Cir., 185 F.2d 1022; Garlin v. Currie, 5 Cir., 185 F.2d 401; Frasher......
  • Huard v. Forest Street Housing, Inc.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • September 3, 1974
    ...under the Rent Control Act and are limited to the remedy made available by that act. See Hogan v. Coleman, supra; Meyercheck v. Givens, 180 F.2d 221, 223 (7th Cir. 1950); United States v. Steagall, 88 F.Supp. 98, 103--104 (N.D.Texas (b) The May through August, 1971, rent payments. For the m......
  • Celanese Corp. of America v. Vandalia Warehouse Corp.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Seventh Circuit
    • April 15, 1970
    ...Company, 360 F.2d 896, 898 (7th Cir. 1966); Ziegler v. Akin, 261 F.2d 88, 91 (10th Cir. 1958); see also Meyercheck v. Givens, 180 F.2d 221, 223 (7th Cir. 1950); 3A Moore's Federal Practice, ¶ 21.03, p. 2905 (1969). Moreover, the jury was presented with testimony showing that Celanese had fi......
  • Spencer, White & Prentis, Inc. v. U.S. E. P. A.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • February 10, 1981
    ...Spencer when it never moved under Rule 21, F.R.Civ.P. for such a severance before the trial court. Meyercheck v. Givens, 180 F.2d 221, 223 (7th Cir. 1950). Our dismissal is without prejudice to Morrison-Knudsen's right to test its unresolved state claims against diverse defendants in anothe......
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