be taken as a declaration of the appellate court that, upon the
record as presented to it, no interest was to be allowed.
But the fact that the appellate court had not, in its decree of
affirmance, added interest was only part of the basis on which
the decision in the Spruks case was placed. The important thing
was the nature of the proceeding in the court below. The Circuit
Court of Appeals pointed out that the appeal was not from an
ordinary judgment against the debtor but from a decree awarding a
fund in the registry of the court to the person entitled to it.
Originally, the dispute was about the title to a pile of coal.
The fund was created by permitting one of the claimants to sell
the coal from time to time and pay the money into court, until
the amount of a landlord's levy upon the coal had been equalled.
That was all done by agreement of all the parties, who also
consented to the order of the District Court placing the money in
the registry. Everyone understood that the fund was where it
would not be producing income, and it was as clear as anything
could be that the District Court's award was of a sum certain,
with the plain intent that interest should not be added. In other
words, both the Circuit Court of Appeals and the District Court
evidently recognized that the procedure, agreed to by all
parties, fully discharged all obligations in connection with
interest or damages arising from the detention of the fund or by
reason of delay in ultimately paying it to the party entitled to
Of course, no comparable procedure or situation exists in the
present case. The decree of this Court awarded the patents to the
plaintiff and directed their transfer to it within 30 days from
the date of the judgment. When this judgment was stayed by the
supersedeas bond, the patents remained in the defendant's
possession and were, or could have been, used by it to its own
profit during the period of the appeal. The Spruks case is, in my
opinion, fundamentally different from the present one and it does
not require a ruling in favor of the defendant here.
The bond in the present case specifies damages "for delay"
whereas the bond in the Spruks case was merely for "all" damages,
but I do not think that the wording in the bonds is a matter of
great importance and do not place my decision upon that ground.
The defendant's argument that the damages "for delay" mentioned
in the bond in this case refers only to the kind of damages which
the appellate court may award, in the nature of a penalty, in
cases of vexatious and frivolous appeals is, I think, not well
taken. True, the appellate court has discretion to award such
damages and if it does not the lower court may not do so.
However, the appellate court has this power by statute,
28 U.S.C.A. § 1912, and could exercise it without regard to the
terms of the supersedeas bond, and in John Hancock Mutual Life
Ins. Co. v. Hurley, 1 Cir., 151 F.2d 751, 756, the Court said,
"But it does not follow from this that, where a supersedeas bond
has been given, the district court may not proceed either in a
summary proceeding or in an independent suit on the supersedeas
bond, to give judgment against the principal and surety for the
amount of the provable damages resulting from the taking of an
unfounded appeal, in accordance with the undertaking of the
bond." The defendant's argument amounts to saying that the
addition of the words "for delay" restricts the damages provided
for in the bond to such as may be awarded by the appellate court
as a penalty. I can find nothing to indicate such an intention.
As I have said, it is difficult to make a distinction between
interest on a judgment, which amounts to damages for the
withholding of money, and the value of rents and royalties, which
is damages for the withholding of property. However, I do not
believe that the Circuit Court of Appeals in the Spruks case
intended to rule generally on the question of interest on money
as "damages" within the meaning of a supersedeas bond. I think
that that decision was based upon the fact that the entire record
before the Court showed that by both the decree of the District
and the order of the Circuit Court of Appeals, interest on the
particular fund involved was, under the circumstances of that
case, not to be allowed.
The rule is discharged.
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