Standard Oil Co. of California v. United States
429 U.S. 17 (1976)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Standard Oil Co. of California v. United States, 429 U.S. 17 (1976)

Standard Oil Co. of California v. United States

No. 72-1251

Decided October 18, 1976

429 U.S. 17



On motion to recall Supreme Court mandate affirming a District Court judgment against movant, and for leave to file a motion under Fed.Rule Civ.Proc. 60(b), the motion to recall is denied because the District Court may take appropriate action on the Rule 60(b) motion without leave of this Court.


Following an eight-day trial, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California enjoined movant from engaging in certain practices found to violate § 3 of the Sherman Act, 26 Stat. 209, as amended, 15 U.S.C. § 3. 362 F.Supp. 1331 (1973). The judgment was summarily affirmed by this Court. 412 U.S. 924. Movant now seeks to have the judgment set aside on the basis of alleged misconduct by Government counsel and by a material witness who is now prosecuting a treble damages action against movant. Preliminarily to filing a motion in the District Court pursuant to Fed.Rule Civ.Proc. 60(b), movant has filed a motion in this Court requesting that we recall our mandate [Footnote 1] and grant leave to proceed in the District Court. We hold that the District Court may entertain a Rule 60(b) motion without leave by this Court. We therefore deny the motion to recall our mandate, without prejudice to Standard Oil's right to proceed in the District Court.

Page 429 U. S. 18

We recognize that, in the past, both this Court and many Courts of Appeals have required appellate leave before the District Court could reopen a case which had been reviewed on appeal. [Footnote 2] The requirement derived from a belief that an appellate court's mandate bars the trial court from later disturbing the judgment entered in accordance with the mandate. See In re Potts,166 U. S. 263 (1897); Butcher & Sherrerd v. Welsh, 206 F.2d 259, 262 (CA3 1953), cert. denied, 346 U.S. 925 (1954); Home Indemnity Co. of New York v. O'Brien, 112 F.2d 387, 388 (CA6 1940). It has also been argued that the appellate leave requirement protects the finality of the judgment and allows the appellate court to screen out frivolous Rule 60(b) motions. Tribble v. Bruin, 279 F.2d 424, 427-428 (CA4 1960); 7 J. Moore, Federal Practice

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