IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA.
April 10, 1970
Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc., Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp., and Jones & Laughlin Industries, Inc.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROSENBERG
Memorandum and Order
ROSENBERG, D. J.: Counsel for the parties in the above entitled action, after oral motion made for permission to file a stipulation and a proposed decree, were granted such permission. The stipulation sets forth a plan by which the government, as plaintiff, approves an alternative right in Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc. (LTV) to choose between the divesting of two corporations, The Okonite Company (Okonite) and Braniff Airways, Incorporated (Braniff) and retaining Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation (J & L), or to divest itself of J & L and retain Okonite and Braniff. The option is to be exercised by the defendant LTV within three years. Certain understandings of rights, privileges or limitations are set forth with certain of these rights to be exercised only with the approval of the plaintiff and in certain cases, where no approval is granted by the plaintiff, for resort to the Court. Jurisdiction is to be vested in the District Court for a period of ten years.
The stipulation as filed reserves the right in the government, within thirty days of the filing of the stipulation, to rescind the same if it chooses so to do. Thirty days have now elapsed and the government has not withdrawn from the stipulated agreement.
The complaint alleges that the defendant LTV was in the process of acquiring the defendant J & L. The complaint elaborates upon the capacity of the defendant LTV as a holding corporation which had previously absorbed a series of other corporations engaged in various industries.
I am now being asked to adopt the tentative decree submitted with the stipulation without anything more to substantiate any right or authority on my part to adopt such a decree. No evidence has here been submitted in support of the complaint or in support of the decree as a final determination. Based upon what now is presented to me, I am being called upon not to exercise an immediate judicial function, but rather to assume a ten-year jurisdiction for this District Court so as to vest authority in certain parties to act in relationship to matters involving large sums of money and rights and privileges in which there obviously is both public interest and concern. In other words, I am being requested to act judicially, but pro forma, as it relates to an Act of Congress which vests certain functions and duties in the district courts.
The judicial function so vested by Congress is not a perfunctory matter and requires supports for judicial determinations, which must be made in behalf of not only the parties but also in accord with the purposes of Congress for the best interest of the public. Utah Public Service Commission v. El Paso Natural Gas Co., et al., 395 U.S. 464, 23 L. Ed. 2d 474 , 89 S. Ct. 1860 (1969); United States v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., et al., 366 U.S. 316, 6 L. Ed. 2d 318 , 81 S. Ct. 1243 (1961); Advance Business Systems and Supply Co. v. SCM Corporation, 415 F.2d 55, C.A. 4, 1969.
Accordingly, it will be incumbent upon the parties to present to me proper supports either by way of evidence, affidavits or stipulation (a) that the proposed decree is in accord with the dictates of Congress; (b) that the proposed decree is in the public interest; and (c) that notice has been made to all interested parties of the proposed decree.
Accordingly, it is hereby ordered and directed that the parties be present at an informal conference to be scheduled, at the convenience of counsel, on a day certain whereby counsel shall be prepared to make suggestions for such procedure as will accommodate the requirements herein set forth.