Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Implied Holdings of Appellate Court on Remand

The Court of Appeals remanded the action in Terminix Int’l Co., LP v. Palmer Ranch Ltd. P’ship, 280 F. App’x 829 (11th Cir. 2008), with instructions to grant the plaintiff’s motion to compel arbitration. On remand, the trial court dismissed the action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Reversing, the Court of Appeals stressed that it had been obligated in the prior appeal (Terminix I) to ascertain its jurisdiction and had observed in its prior option that the plaintiff alleged diversity of citizenship. Therefore, “[a] necessary implication of our opinion in Terminix I, and therefore part of our mandate, was that we fulfilled our obligation to consider federal subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte."

A trial court, upon receiving the mandate of an appellate court, may not alter, amend, or examine the mandate, or give any further relief or review, but must enter an order in strict compliance with the mandate[,] . . . implement[ing] both the letter and the spirit of the mandate, taking into account the appellate court's opinion and the circumstances it embraces. Although the trial court is free to address, as a matter of first impression, those issues not disposed of on appeal, it is bound to follow the appellate court's holdings, both expressed and implied. [Citation omitted.]

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