Civil Procedure Keyed to Cound
J.F. White Contracting Co. v. New England Tank Industries of New Hampshire, Inc
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The Respondent sued the Petitioner for an amount that had been illegally assessed and collected from it as federal stamp taxes and for interest accrued from date of payment. The Respondent moved for summary judgment and the District Judge filed an opinion in which he found the amounts of the Respondent’s overpayment and interest, but failed to include the date or dates of payments. Instead, he referred to an earlier decision on the same legal question by his colleague. The clerk then filed a notation on the civil docket and dated it April 14, 1955. On May 24, 1955, the Respondent’s counsel presented to the judge, who signed and filed, a formal document which was captioned “Judgment” and referred to the motion and hearing of it as well as the April opinion. The clerk, on the same day stamped the document as judgment rendered. On July 21, 1955 the Petitioner filed its appeal from the order dated May 24, 1955 and the Respondent moved to dismiss on the ground that the April opinion was the judgment and the appeal was not taken with in 60 days of the judgment. The Court of Appeals held that the April opinion was a complete act of adjudication and the clerk’s notation on that date constituted entry of the judgment with the meaning of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) Rule 58 and adequately disclosed the substance of the judgment as required by FRCP Rule 79(a). It dismissed the appeal as untimely.
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