National Super Spuds, Inc. v. New York Mercantile Exchange, Nos. 343

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore FRIENDLY, MULLIGAN and GURFEIN; FRIENDLY
Citation591 F.2d 174
Docket NumberNos. 343,D,400,401
Decision Date17 January 1979
PartiesNATIONAL SUPER SPUDS, INC., et al., Plaintiffs, v. NEW YORK MERCANTILE EXCHANGE, et al., Defendants. COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION and Howard Bodenhamer, Appellants, v. NEW YORK MERCANTILE EXCHANGE, Defendant-Appellee. In re COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION, Petitioner. ockets 78-3041, 78-6146 and 78-6152.

Page 174

591 F.2d 174
NATIONAL SUPER SPUDS, INC., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
NEW YORK MERCANTILE EXCHANGE, et al., Defendants.
COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION and Howard Bodenhamer, Appellants,
v.
NEW YORK MERCANTILE EXCHANGE, Defendant-Appellee.
In re COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION, Petitioner.
Nos. 343, 400, 401, Dockets 78-3041, 78-6146 and 78-6152.
United States Court of Appeals,
Second Circuit.
Argued Oct. 27, 1978.
Decided Jan. 17, 1979.

Page 175

Joanne Leveque, Asst. Gen. Counsel, Commodity Futures Trading Com'n, Washington, D. C. (John G. Gaine, Gen. Counsel, Richard E. Nathan, Deputy Gen. Counsel, Frederic T. Spindel, Associate Gen. Counsel, Susan A. Arnold, Washington, D. C., of counsel), for appellants and petitioner.

William E. Hegarty, New York City (Cahill Gordon & Reindel, New York City, Charles Platto, Sandra Baron, Peter Leight and Maurice Mound, Rein, Mound & Cotton, New York City, of counsel), for defendant-appellee.

Before FRIENDLY, MULLIGAN and GURFEIN, Circuit Judges.

FRIENDLY, Circuit Judge:

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC or the Commission) and Howard Bodenhamer, Assistant Regional Administrator for Market Surveillance and Analysis in its Eastern Regional Office in New York City, appeal from and, in the alternative, petition for mandamus to vacate an order of the District Court for the Southern District of New York, which directed Bodenhamer to answer certain questions propounded on deposition despite the Commission's claim of governmental privilege.

The class action in which this controversy arose is one of a number of actions now pending in the same court arising out of a default on the May 1976 Maine Potato futures contract that was traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange (the Exchange). Members of plaintiff class had held long positions which they liquidated at prices allegedly depressed by the large short interest that had accumulated. Their complaint, which has been amended and consolidated with three other actions, named as defendants a number of traders, their brokers and also the Exchange. Count VI of the First Amended Consolidated Class Action Complaint, to which the Exchange was the sole defendant, alleged that CFTC had personnel on the floor of the Exchange; that through them and by mail-o-grams CFTC had advised the Exchange of the large short position in the May contract and, in the mail-o-grams, that the short sellers were "required by law to avoid causing artificial prices"; that officers of the Exchange assured CFTC that the short positions would be covered and that, contrary to the Commodity Act, CFTC rules, and its own by-laws and rules, the Exchange had failed to report and concealed violations of the Commodity Act, CFTC rules, and its own by-laws and rules by short sellers and exchange members, had failed to direct that liquidating orders be entered on or before the conclusion of trading with respect to accounts of members which the Exchange knew or should have known would default if not liquidated, but failed and neglected to perform its duties as a contract market with respect to the contract, and failed and neglected to exercise due care to halt manipulative practices with respect to the contract. 1 Before the class action certification the district court had issued an order directing that various cases be coordinated for pretrial discovery proceedings and appointed a special master to conduct these. His rulings were to be subject to review by the district court.

The Exchange sought to depose Mr. Bodenhamer, Dr. Mark Powers, the Commission's Chief Economist during the period in question and now a vice-president of a securities firm which is a defendant in this action, and Thomas Russo, then Director of the Division of Trading and Markets and now in private law practice. Subpoenas had been served on Mr. Bodenhamer and Dr. Powers on behalf of three other defendants; Mr. Russo agreed to testify voluntarily. The obvious purpose of the Exchange in seeking to take these depositions was to

Page 176

obtain evidence that responsible personnel of the Commission, who knew or had access to the same information as the Exchange, had found nothing seriously amiss. 2 Mr. Bodenhamer gave extensive testimony as to what he had observed but, on the advice of Commission counsel, declined to answer certain questions concerning his contemporaneous opinions and views, on the basis of governmental privilege.

After some months the Exchange moved before the special master to compel responses to these questions. CFTC lodged a formal claim of governmental privilege. The special master declined to make a general ruling but stated he would deal with CFTC's objection on a question-by-question basis. In the course of doing this he distinguished between questions asking for opinions and views that Mr. Bodenhamer communicated to other staff members, which the witness would not be required to answer, and questions asking only the witness' own opinion and views, which he was required to answer. Commission counsel instructed Mr. Bodenhamer not to answer questions of the latter sort pending consideration by the district judge. At the conclusion of this deposition, 27 questions some of them repetitive remained unanswered.

The Exchange then moved the district judge for an order confirming the rulings of the special master and "directing present and former officials of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission ('CFTC') who were responsible for monitoring trading in the May 1976 Maine Potato Futures Contract (the 'May contract') to respond to deposition questions as to their respective contemporaneous views, opinions, observations, analyses and conclusions with respect to trading in the May Contract . . . ." While the motion was pending, the Commission considered the specific questions that its counsel had instructed Mr. Bodenhamer not to answer, and determined that governmental privilege should be invoked. 3 The district judge made an endorsement sustaining the rulings of the special master and directed the witnesses involved to respond, but indicated he would consider the CFTC's objections at the trial. After an unsuccessful motion for reconsideration or, in the alternative, for a stay pending appeal, the Commission appealed and sought mandamus, and a panel of this court granted a stay.

The non-appealability of the ruling directing Mr. Bodenhamer to answer would appear, at first blush, to have been largely settled, so far as this court is concerned, by Kaufman v. Edelstein, 539 F.2d 811, 813-14 (2 Cir. 1976). 4 We there said:

One would have supposed it to be beyond argument that, despite Cohen v. Beneficial Industrial Loan Corp., 337 U.S.

Page 177

541, 546-47 (69 S.Ct. 1221, 1226, 93 L.Ed. 1528) (1949), 'An order compelling testimony . . . in an ordinary civil or criminal action is neither a final order (under § 1291) nor an interlocutory order granting an injunction (under § 1292(a)(1)) and it is not appealable. This is the oft-cited rule of Alexander v. United States, (201 U.S. 117, 26 S.Ct. 356, 50 L.Ed. 686 (1906)).' 9 Moore, Federal Practice P 110.13(2) at 153-54 (Ward ed. 1975). The remedy of the party witness wishing to appeal is to refuse to answer and subject himself to criminal contempt; that of the non-party witness is to refuse to answer and subject himself to civil or criminal contempt. Id. at P 110.13(4) at 165-66. We have applied this rule in many cases of non-party witnesses, in one of which, United States v. Fried, 386 F.2d 691, 694 (2 Cir. 1967), we specifically rejected a contrary view expressed in Covey Oil Co. v. Continental Oil Co., 340 F.2d 993, 996-97 (10 Cir.), Cert. denied, 380 U.S. 964 (85 S.Ct. 1110, 14 L.Ed.2d 155) (1965) as four other circuits have done, Ryan v. CIR, 517 F.2d 13, 18-20 (7 Cir.), Cert. denied, 423 U.S. 892 (96 S.Ct. 190, 46 L.Ed.2d 124) (1975); Gialde v. Time, Inc., 480 F.2d 1295, 1300-01 (8 Cir. 1973); United States v. Anderson, 150 U.S.App.D.C. 336, 464 F.2d 1390 (1972); Borden Co. v. Sylk, 410 F.2d 843, 846 (3 Cir. 1969). The doctrine has since been reaffirmed by a unanimous Court in United States v. Ryan, 402 U.S. 530 (91 S.Ct. 1580, 29 L.Ed.2d 85) (1971), and was again recognized in United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683, 690-92 (94 S.Ct. 3090, 41 L.Ed.2d 1039) (1974), although the Court, for reasons stated in its opinion which are wholly inapplicable here, made an exception where the subpoena was directed to the President of the United States.

The reasons for the Alexander rule are well stated in 9 Moore, Supra, at 153-56, and need not be repeated here. See also 15 Wright, Miller & Cooper, Federal Practice and Procedure § 3914 at 567-68, 576-77 (1976). Subsequent to the Kaufman decision the Supreme Court has again quoted with approval from Mr. Justice Frankfurter's opinion in Cobbledick v. United States, 309 U.S. 323, 60 S.Ct. 540, 84 L.Ed. 783 (1940), which, on the basis of Alexander, held that an order denying a motion to quash a Subpoena duces tecum to appear before a grand jury was not appealable. Coopers & Lybrand v. Livesay, 437 U.S. 463, 467 n. 8, 98 S.Ct. 2454, 2457 n. 8, 57 L.Ed. 351, 357 n. 8 (1978); see also Abney v. United States, 431 U.S. 651, 658, 97 S.Ct. 2034, 52 L.Ed.2d 651 (1977).

As against this the Commission, in addition to citing United States v. Nixon, supra, 418 U.S. at 690-92, 94 S.Ct. 3090, with which we dealt in Kaufman v. Edelstein, supra, urges that we follow the Fifth Circuit in dispensing with the contempt requirement where the government, whether state or federal, asserts governmental or "executive" privilege in cases where it is not a party. See Cates v. LTV Aerospace Corp., 480 F.2d 620, 622 (5 Cir. 1973); Carr v. Monroe Manufacturing Co., 431 F.2d 384, 387 (5 Cir. 1970), Cert. denied sub nom. Aldridge v. Carr, 400 U.S. 1000, 91 S.Ct. 456, 27 L.Ed.2d 451 (1971); Overby v. United States Fidelity and Guaranty Co., 224 F.2d 158, 162 (5 Cir. 1955). We see no basis for...

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  • Stolt-Nielsen Sa v. Celanese Ag, Docket No. 04-6373 CV.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • November 21, 2005
    ...United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683, 690-92, 94 S.Ct. 3090, 41 L.Ed.2d 1039 (1974); Nat'l Super Spuds, Inc. v. N.Y. Mercantile Exch., 591 F.2d 174, 177 (2d There is a different rule in administrative proceedings. "A district court order enforcing a subpoena issued by a government agency in......
  • International Horizons, Inc., Matter of, No. 82-8024
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • October 21, 1982
    ...) (witness must either comply with order or appeal from finding of contempt); National Super Spuds, Inc. v. New York Mercantile Exchange, 591 F.2d 174 (2d Cir. 1979) (remedy for witness who claims a privilege is to refuse to answer and subject himself to civil contempt); David v. Hooker Ltd......
  • Attorney General of U.S., In re, Nos. 239
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • March 19, 1979
    ...exercise freely the supervisory or advisory power to issue writs of mandamus. National Super Spuds, Inc. v. New York Mercantile Exchange, 591 F.2d 174, 181 (2d Cir. 1979); Kaufman v. Edelstein, 539 F.2d 811, 816-19 (2d Cir. In American Express Warehousing, supra, however, we pointed out: Wh......
  • Mackin, Matter of, Nos. 424
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • December 23, 1981
    ...(2nd Cir. 1972); Kaufman v. Edelstein, 539 F.2d 811, 816-19 (2nd Cir. 1976); National Super Spuds, Inc. v. New York Mercantile Exchange, 591 F.2d 174, 181 (2nd Cir. 1979); and In re Attorney General of the United States, 596 F.2d 58 (2nd Cir. 1979). While some of these cases granted the wri......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
60 cases
  • Stolt-Nielsen Sa v. Celanese Ag, Docket No. 04-6373 CV.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • November 21, 2005
    ...United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683, 690-92, 94 S.Ct. 3090, 41 L.Ed.2d 1039 (1974); Nat'l Super Spuds, Inc. v. N.Y. Mercantile Exch., 591 F.2d 174, 177 (2d There is a different rule in administrative proceedings. "A district court order enforcing a subpoena issued by a government agency in......
  • International Horizons, Inc., Matter of, No. 82-8024
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • October 21, 1982
    ...) (witness must either comply with order or appeal from finding of contempt); National Super Spuds, Inc. v. New York Mercantile Exchange, 591 F.2d 174 (2d Cir. 1979) (remedy for witness who claims a privilege is to refuse to answer and subject himself to civil contempt); David v. Hooker Ltd......
  • Attorney General of U.S., In re, Nos. 239
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • March 19, 1979
    ...exercise freely the supervisory or advisory power to issue writs of mandamus. National Super Spuds, Inc. v. New York Mercantile Exchange, 591 F.2d 174, 181 (2d Cir. 1979); Kaufman v. Edelstein, 539 F.2d 811, 816-19 (2d Cir. In American Express Warehousing, supra, however, we pointed out: Wh......
  • Mackin, Matter of, Nos. 424
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • December 23, 1981
    ...(2nd Cir. 1972); Kaufman v. Edelstein, 539 F.2d 811, 816-19 (2nd Cir. 1976); National Super Spuds, Inc. v. New York Mercantile Exchange, 591 F.2d 174, 181 (2nd Cir. 1979); and In re Attorney General of the United States, 596 F.2d 58 (2nd Cir. 1979). While some of these cases granted the wri......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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