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Hunziker v. Scheidemantle

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT


June 25, 1975

RENATE HUNZIKER, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS A GUARDIAN AND BEST FRIEND OF CORNELIA AND MICHAEL HUNZIKER, INFANTS, AND AS ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF PAUL J. HUNZIKER, APPELLANT,
v.
WAYNE SCHEIDEMANTLE, INDIVIDUALLY, WAYNE SCHEIDEMANTLE, D/B/A WAYNE'S BUS LINES, KENNETH E. FOX, JR., ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF HAROLD BENNETT, THE ZELIENOPLE MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY, AND HALSTEAD INDUSTRIES, INC., APPELLEES.

APPEALS FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA (Civil Action No. 72-382 - W.D. of Pa.)

Before SEITZ, Chief Judge, ALDISERT and GIBBONS, Circuit Judges.

Opinion OF THE COURT

Per Curiam.

The jury in this wrongful death and survival action rendered a verdict in favor of plaintiff and against two defendants. The court directed a verdict in favor of two other defendants. Judgment was entered, and on the same day plaintiff filed a notice of appeal against all four defendants. Thereafter, the two defendants against whom judgments were entered filed timely motions for a new trial or in the alternative for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict.

The defendant-appellees have filed motions to dismiss the appeal on the ground that the judgments were not appealable because of the timely filing of their motions in the district court. The motions were referred to the panel of judges which was to hear the case on the merits. That panel considered whether the merits of the case should be reached before the district court acted on the pending motions.*fn1

We read Hattersley v. Bollt, 512 F.2d 209 (3rd Cir. 1975) as approving a procedure in this situation under which this court should determine whether there is substantial merit to the motions pending in the district court, and, if there is, should remand the case to the district court for a determination of such motions.

While the motions before us are to dismiss rather than to remand, we believe they may be used as the basis for remand, assuming such a motion is needed. Since we think from a reading of the briefs that the issues presented on the motions pending in the district court are sufficiently substantial to warrant their disposition by that court, we will order a remand for that purpose.

The case will therefore be remanded to the district court to enable it promptly to dispose of the pending motions for a new trial or for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.*fn2


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