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SOUTHPORT PETROLEUM CO. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD

decided: January 19, 1942.

SOUTHPORT PETROLEUM CO
v.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD



CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT.

Stone, Black, Reed, Frankfurter, Douglas, Murphy, Byrnes, Jackson; Roberts took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Jackson

[ 315 U.S. Page 101]

 MR. JUSTICE JACKSON delivered the opinion of the Court.

The petitioner, a Texas corporation, was ordered by the National Labor Relations Board in August of 1938 to cease and desist from unfair labor practices;*fn1 to offer to

[ 315 U.S. Page 102]

     reinstate three employees found to have been discriminatorily discharged, and to pay them back pay for the period from the time of discharge to the date of the offer of reinstatement, less earnings during such period; and to post certain notices at its Texas City refinery, where the unfair labor practices had been employed.

The petitioner has never obeyed any of the affirmative directions of the order. In June of 1939 it entered into a written stipulation with the Board that it would obey the order except as it related to back pay, and the Board stipulated on its part that it would accept the performance so promised as sufficient compliance with its order. But the petitioner no more regarded its own promise than it had the Board's command. It finally ceased even to answer communications from the Board, and the latter, in April of 1940, filed its petition with the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit for enforcement of its order.

The petitioner then began the pleas to that court, denial of which it says are errors. Nearly four months after the Board had filed its petition, the present petitioner filed an application, under § 10 (e) of the National Labor Relations Act,*fn2 to adduce additional evidence before the Board.

[ 315 U.S. Page 103]

     The application stated on the oath of petitioner's president that in June of 1939, three days after petitioner had executed the stipulation of obedience to the Board's order, it distributed all of its assets to its four stockholders as a liquidating dividend; and that the two stockholders who received the Texas City refinery conveyed it to a newly organized Delaware corporation whose stockholders were at no time stockholders of the Texas corporation. It asked that the court order that proof of these facts be taken before the Board or its agent and added to the transcript, and that the court thereupon dismiss the enforcement proceeding. In November of 1940, while this application was pending, it filed an answer to the petition for enforcement, attacking the findings and order of the Board on evidentiary grounds, and also praying that the petition be dismissed because petitioner had been formally dissolved on October 16, 1940, as evidenced by an attached copy of a certificate by the Texas Assistant Secretary of State.*fn3

[ 315 U.S. Page 104]

     The Circuit Court of Appeals sustained the Board's order and entered a decree directing that it be enforced, thus in effect denying the motion to dismiss and the application for leave to adduce additional evidence. 117 F.2d 90. We granted certiorari limited to the question of the propriety of the denial of the latter because of the general importance of the question.

We hold that the application for leave to adduce additional evidence pursuant to § 10 (e) of the National Labor Relations Act was addressed to the sound judicial discretion of the court, and that the denial of petitioner's application under the ...


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