US LAWS, STATUTES and CODES : Chan Robles Virtual Law Library USA Supreme Court Decisions | Resolutions : Chan Robles Virtual Law Library

ChanRobles™ Virtual Law Library™ |™   
Main Index Repository of Laws, Statutes and Codes Latest Philippine Supreme Court Decisions Chan Robles Virtual Law Library Latest Legal Updates Philippine Legal Resources Significant Philippine Legal Resources Worldwide Legal Resources Philippine Supreme Court Decisions United States Legal Resources United States Supreme Court Jurisprudence ChanRobles LawTube - Social Network

ChanRobles Internet Bar Review : DebtKollect Company, Inc. - Debt Collection Firm Intellectual Property Division - Chan Robles Law Firm

Philippine Supreme Court DecisionsChanRobles On-Line Bar Review

google search for chanrobles.comSearch for


Subscribe to Cases that cite 480 U. S. 1 RSS feed for this section

U.S. Supreme Court

Burlington Northern v. Woods, 480 U.S. 1 (1986)

Burlington Northern Railroad Co. v. Woods

No. 85-1088

Argued Nov. 4, 1986

Decided Feb. 24, 1987

480 U.S. 1


An Alabama statute requires an appellate court, upon affirming a money judgment without substantial modification, to impose a 10% penalty on any appellant who had obtained a stay of that judgment by executing a bond. The statute's purposes are to penalize frivolous appeals and those interposed for delay, and to provide appellees with additional compensation for having to suffer the ordeal of appeal. Upon affirming without modification a judgment for respondents in their federal diversity action arising from a motorcycle accident, the Eleventh Circuit imposed the Alabama statute's penalty on petitioner, which had posted bond to stay the judgment pending appeal.

Held: The Alabama mandatory affirmance penalty statute has no application to judgments entered by federal courts sitting in diversity. Pp. 480 U. S. 3-8.

(a) Rule 38 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure affords federal courts of appeals plenary discretion to award damages to an appellee upon determining that the appeal is frivolous. Federal Rule 38's discretionary mode of operation conflicts with the Alabama statute's mandatory operation. Furthermore, the purposes underlying Rule 38 -- to penalize frivolous appeals and to compensate injured appellees for the delay and added expense inherent therein -- are sufficiently coextensive with the statute's purposes to indicate that the Rule occupies the statute's field of operation. The fact that Alabama has a similar Appellate chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 480 U. S. 2

Rule coexisting with the statute does not mean that a federal court could impose the mandatory statutory penalty while remaining free to exercise its Federal Rule 38 discretionary authority, since the statute would improperly limit the exercise of that discretion in instances in which the court wished to impose a penalty of less than 10%. Pp. 480 U. S. 4-8.

(b) Rule 38 must be applied under the analysis set forth in Hanna v. Plumer, 380 U. S. 460, since (a) it is a constitutional exercise of rulemaking authority in that it regulates matters that can reasonably be classified as procedural, and (b) it affects only the process of enforcing litigants' rights, and not the rights themselves, and therefore does not violate the Rule Enabling Act's prohibition against affecting substantive rights (28 U.S.C. §2072). P. 480 U. S. 8.


MARSHALL, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

ChanRobles™ LawTube

google search for Search for

Supreme Court Decisions Philippine Supreme Court DecisionsUS Supreme Court Decisions



Browse By ->> Volume


Browse By ->> Year


  Copyright © ChanRobles Publishing Company | Disclaimer | E-mail Restrictions
ChanRobles™ Virtual Law Library |™