UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
November 19, 1957
RIVOLI TRUCKING CORPORATION, Plaintiff,
NEW YORK SHIPPING ASSOCIATION et al., Defendants
The opinion of the court was delivered by: KAUFMAN
More than a year ago, to wit, on September 25, 1956, Judge Dimock filed an opinion in this case, 167 F.Supp. 940; holding that this court was without jurisdiction of this action because primary jurisdiction over the subject matter was vested in the Federal Maritime Board. An order and judgment pursuant to this decision was entered on October 8, 1956. No. appeal was taken. On April 8, 1957, plaintiff moved for leave to reargue on the ground of newly discovered evidence. On June 15, 1957, Judge Dimock filed his memorandum denying the motion. 167 F.Supp. 942. By the instant motion the plaintiff seeks, among other things, leave to file an amended and supplemental complaint.
While amendments are liberally granted in the federal court, I can find no basis for permitting an amended and supplemental pleading in an action which has been dismissed more than a year ago by a judgment entered in this court, without the right of appeal ever having been exercised. United States v. Newbury Mfg. Co., 1 Cir., 1941, 123 F.2d 453; Brill v. General Industries Enterprises, Inc., 3 Cir., 1956, 234 F.2d 465; Kelly v. Delaware River Joint Commission, 3 Cir., 187 F.2d 93, certiorari denied, 1951, 342 U.S. 812, 72 S. Ct. 25, 96 L. Ed. 614. This litigation has been terminated by the dismissal of the plaintiff's action and there is nothing pending in this district so as to permit plaintiff to restate or update its complaint. While there is no application for the exercise of my discretion pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b) subdivisions (1), (2) or (3), 28 U.S.C.A., for an order setting aside the judgment entered on October 8, 1956, it is clear upon a reading of these sections that any application thereunder must be made within one year from the date of the entry of the judgment. Consequently, the motion, even if construed as a motion pursuant to Rule 60(b), would be untimely.
Further examination of the background of this action reveals the following: After service of the original complaint on or about June 22, 1956, defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the allegations contained in the complaint involved possible violations of the Shipping Act of 1916, 46 U.S.C.A. 801 et seq., and that under such Act exclusive primary jurisdiction was vested in the Federal Maritime Board.
On September 25, 1956, Judge Dimock held that if the allegations of the complaint were true, there would be a violation of the Shipping Act for which the Federal Maritime Board had primary jurisdiction and accordingly dismissed this action. The order and judgment of dismissal were entered on October 8, 1956.
About the middle of October, 1956, plaintiff filed a complaint with the Federal Maritime Board alleging substantially the same facts as were contained in the complaint originally filed in this court. The defendants thereafter filed a demand for a bill of particulars in the proceeding before the Federal Maritime Board and to date no bill of particulars has been filed and the action has remained in status quo. In February 1957 plaintiff filed an additional complaint with the Federal Maritime Board which supplements the original complaint filed with the Board. Neither proceeding has moved toward adjudication since their filing.
In April 1957 plaintiff moved in this court for a re-argument of Judge Dimock's September 25, 1956 decision on the ground of newly discovered evidence. On June 15, 1957, Judge Dimock denied the motion holding that the alleged newly discovered evidence as well as the subject matter of the complaint were within the primary jurisdiction of the Federal Maritime Board and this court had no jurisdiction.
An examination of the basic charges contained in the affidavit shows that while they are presented under a different semantic guise, and perhaps a bit more elaborate than those contained in the original complaint, plaintiff, nevertheless, seeks the same relief from the defendants, i.e. treble damages in an action under the anti-trust laws. The only matters which may be said to be new are plaintiff's reference to Title 46 U.S.C.A. 828 and to the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947. However, recourse may be had to 828 only for enforcement of an order of the Federal Maritime Board by injunction or otherwise. See Swayne & Hoyt, Ltd. v. Kerr Gifford & Co., D.C.E.D.La.1935, 14 F.Supp. 805. Nowhere is there any indication that an order has been made or violated and indeed, I am advised that no such order has been issued by the Board, since the matter is still pending before it. The reference to the Labor Management Relations Act in the affidavit is very vague and of a nebulous character. However, while the National Labor Relations Board has jurisdiction of unfair labor practices, I cannot conceive of any separate action which plaintiff could commence against these defendants based on the Labor Management Relations Act over which this court would have jurisdiction. In any event, the crux of plaintiff's complaint concerned itself with violations of the Shipping Act, over which the Federal Maritime Board had exclusive jurisdiction. The basis for any recovery plaintiff seeks would still be one rooted in the anti-trust laws seeking a recovery of treble damages and grounded on the same cause of action or claim originally asserted by it in its complaint filed in June of 1956 which Judge Dimock dismissed by the order and judgment filed on June 8, 1957.
In view of my disposition of plaintiff's application for leave to serve an amended and supplemental complaint, the other grounds for relief become moot.
In short, the plaintiff offers no valid explanation or excuse for its delay of more than one year to make this application nor for its failure to take an appeal from Judge Dimock's dismissal; nor does plaintiff cite a single case or authority which would support this court in vacating a judgment which has been left undisturbed for more than one year.
Authors, teachers and judges have been critical of the delay in litigation. To grant an application such as the instant one upon a sterile showing would be to furnish valuable ammunition to the critics of litigation delays. There must be finality to litigation. A judge of this court has held in a decision which has been undisturbed and which has resulted in a final judgment that the Maritime Board has been vested by Congress with absolute supervision over the subject matter of this litigation. Plaintiff has proceeded before that Board and has a remedy there if its charges are valid. Therefore, let us not ignore the final judgment of this court and attempt to revive by a strategic maneuver litigation which has been dead for more than a year.
This motion is in all respects denied.