Whether or not Conrail is a warehouseman, it is evident that, for the limited purposes of this motion, Conrail has at least a colorable claim to warehouseman status. In its memorandum, Conrail has made a showing that it is in the business of storing goods for hire. See Memorandum, at 6. Moreover, Conrail's letter to Northfleet announcing the storage charges Conrail was assessing for keeping the locomotives could, arguably, be viewed as a warehouseman's receipt within the meaning of the Code definition. If Conrail is a warehouseman and has issued a warehouseman's receipt, then by the terms of the Code it has a warehouseman's lien against Northfleet for expenses related to the storage of the locomotives. The question now becomes--and this is the heart of our inquiry--whether this colorable lien creates any right to pre-judgment relief for the lienor.
Conrail has pointed to no Code provision that entitles the holder of a warehouseman's lien to pre-judgment protection or to treatment different from that accorded to the holder of any other lien. Contrary to what Northfleet asserts and what Conrail may fear, Conrail will not have lost its putative lien if, as is the case here, it has been compelled to relinquish possession of the locomotives pursuant to a court order. See N.Y. Uniform Commercial Code 7-209 practice commentary (McKinney 1964). Accordingly, Conrail's colorable claim of warehouseman status does not entitle it to the pre-judgment relief sought.
2. Rule 64
The major demand for relief by Conrail, however, takes the form of a request for pre-judgment protection under the authority granted to the court by Federal Rule 64. Conrail states that pursuant to this rule and to the equitable doctrine of quia timet, or quiet title, this court has the power to set up an escrow account for the sale proceeds or to require Northfleet to post a bond if it intends to distribute these proceeds.
As Conrail recognizes, the Rule 64 pre-judgment remedies available to the Court are those "available under the circumstances and in the manner provided by the law of the state in which the district court is held . . ." Fed. R. Civ. P. 64. In this matter, therefore, this Court must follow Pennsylvania law. Quiet title does exist as an action in Pennsylvania, see Pa. R. Civ. P. 1061, but Conrail points to no Pennsylvania case where it has been used outside the context of quieting title to real property. Thus, given the clear directive of Rule 64, the quiet title doctrine does not offer significant grounding for the relief Conrail requests.
3. Equitable powers of the court
In its reply memorandum, Conrail suggests that this court might have "an independent grant of jurisdiction to preserve assets pendente lite." See Reply Memorandum, at 6. Conrail has not pointed us to any federal or Pennsylvania cases in which a court, acting under its general equity powers, has required a party to deposit proceeds from a sale into an escrow account or to post a bond in order to be able to distribute sale proceeds.
For the foregoing reasons, Conrail's motion for pre-judgment relief will be denied.
An order to this effect accompanies this Memorandum.
In light of the above memorandum, it is hereby DENIED that
1) defendant Consolidated Rail Corporation's motion for provisional pre-judgment protection is DENIED.
2) plaintiff Northfleet Corporation's motion for sanctions is DENIED.