State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co. v. Palmer

Decision Date23 September 1955
Docket NumberNo. 14560.,14560.
Citation225 F.2d 876
PartiesSTATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, a corporation, Appellant, v. Audra H. PALMER, Appellee.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit

Scoville & Linton, Phoenix, Ariz., for appellant.

Moore & Romley, Phoenix, Ariz., for appellee.

Before STEPHENS, FEE and CHAMBERS, Circuit Judges.

JAMES ALGER FEE, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff, according to the record, sustained personal injuries on January 17, 1948, as a result of operation of an automobile by one Nollner. She recovered a judgment on January 18, 1951, after trial, for $27,500 for damages against Nollner in the state court. The latter was insured by defendant to the extent of $10,000 only by a policy in force at the time plaintiff was injured. Plaintiff brought action in the United States District Court on the policy. Defendant resisted on the ground that Nollner had not appeared at the original trial. The cause was tried in February, 1952. On October 22, 1953, a minute order was entered in favor of defendant, but, on consideration of the findings of fact, judgment for plaintiff entered July 6, 1954. Defendant filed a motion for new trial and to amend the findings, which the trial court denied August 24, 1954. The defendant filed notice of appeal from this order on September 17, 1954, insofar as it denied amendment of the findings and put the judgment in effect.

The appellee has moved to dismiss the appeal because it was not taken from a final judgment.

Appellant acquiesces in this statement but urges (1) that an intention to review the judgment on the merits can be ascertained from the notice, (2) that the notice was filed within time to perfect an appeal from the judgment, (3) that a motion was filed to amend the notice of appeal long after the time for filing thereof had lapsed, and (4) that, by the points and specifications of errors placed in the record after time of filing the notice had expired, sufficient definiteness was attained.

The filing of the notice of appeal goes to the jurisdiction. The third and fourth points cannot avail appellant. The fact that the notice of appeal was filed within the prescribed time is a condition precedent to any relief for appellant. The intention to ask review of the judgment might be inferred from the text of the notice. Appellant asks that it be so construed notwithstanding the notice definitely states the appeal is taken "from the order entered in the above-entitled and numbered cause on August 24, 1954, in favor of Plaintiff, Audra H. Palmer, and against the Defendant, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company * * *."

In two cases in this circuit the Supreme Court directed appeals to be heard where the notice was defective in minor particulars. In the first,1 there was an order which apparently entered judgment but directed the filing of findings of fact and conclusions of law. Thereafter, findings of fact, conclusions of law and final judgment were entered. The trial court allowed appeal from the latter, and all parties treated it as the "final order." The Supreme Court held that, whether the first or second order was final, the appeal was timely as to either and the matter was not defective. In the second case,2 the appeal was timely from the final order, but the appellant made the mistake of specifying the nonappealable phase in the notice. Here it was held the notice was sufficient.

It seems apparent the Supreme Court did not announce in either of these cases that an intermediate appellate court is required to grant a hearing as of right to a litigant irrespective of the timely filing of notice of appeal or a violation of other statutes or rules of court relating thereto.

No appeal lies from the order of August 24, which in its entirety reads:

"Defendant\'s motions for new trial and to amend findings are denied."

This Court has treated an appeal from such an order as void3 on jurisdictional grounds.4 There is no public policy which demands a departure from this authority in the case at bar. Appeals are not of right, but of grace. The Supreme Court of the United States regularly denies certiorari where much more important considerations for the parties are involved.

This failure is jurisdictional. Whatever may have been the situation in other cases, no power is given this Court to construe the notice here.5 The only "final decision", 28 U.S.C.A. § 1291, which could have been appealed was the judgment of July 6, 1954. The only order specified on the notice of appeal was that order of August 24, 1954, which has been completely set out above and which is not appealable. Our former ruling is in point and is followed. Libby, McNeill & Libby v. Alaska Industrial Board, 9 Cir., 215 F.2d 781.

Motion to dismiss appeal granted.

1 Hoiness v. United States, 335 U.S. 297, 69 S.Ct. 70, 93 L.Ed. 16, reversing 9 Cir., 165 F.2d 504. It should be noted that the statute, 28 U.S.C. (1946 Ed.) § 777, does not apply to this case because the action was not pending prior to the repeal of...

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24 cases
  • Maryland Tuna Corporation v. Ms Benares
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • 2 Junio 1970
    ...e. g., State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Co. v. Palmer, 350 U.S. 944, 76 S.Ct. 321, 100 L.Ed. 823 (1956) (per curiam), reversing 225 F.2d 876 (9th Cir. 1955); United States v. Ellicott, 223 U.S. 524, 538-539, 32 S.Ct. 334, 56 L.Ed. 535 (1912); United States v. Certain Land, etc., 322 F.2d 86......
  • Carter v. Empire Mut. Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • 23 Marzo 1978
    ...of the judgment (see State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Palmer, 350 U.S. 944, 76 S.Ct. 321, 100 L.Ed. 823 (1956), reversing 225 F.2d 876, 877-878 (9th Cir. 1955); Ginsburg v. Ginsburg, 276 F.2d 94, 95 (9th Cir. 1960), cert. denied, 364 U.S. 934, 81 S.Ct. 381, 5 L.Ed.2d 366 (1961); In re Wyse......
  • Puga v. Suave Shoe Corp.
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • 30 Abril 1981
    ...350 U.S. 944, 76 S.Ct. 321, 100 L.Ed. 823 (1956). There, in a per curiam opinion, it reversed the decision of the 9th Circuit at 225 F.2d 876 (1955) which dismissed the appeal because appellant, in its notice of appeal, had designated the trial court's denial of its motion for new trial and......
  • State v. Reader's Digest Ass'n, Inc.
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • 28 Septiembre 1972 one going to the judgment. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Palmer, 350 U.S. 944, 76 S.Ct. 321, 100 L.Ed. 823 (1956), rev'g 225 F.2d 876 (9th Cir. 1955); United States v. Stromberg, 227 F.2d 903 (5th Cir. 1955); Annot., 2 A.L.R.Fed. 545 (1969). The fact that the state mistakenly appeale......
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