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Asheville Mica Co. v. Commodity Credit Corp.

decided: May 11, 1966.

ASHEVILLE MICA COMPANY, EUGENE MUNSELL & CO., AND SCHWAB BROTHERS CORPORATION, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES,
v.
COMMODITY CREDIT CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. MANCHARD TRADING CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, V. COMMODITY CREDIT CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. UNITED MINERAL & CHEMICAL CORPORATION AND SIGBERT LOEB, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES, V. COMMODITY CREDIT CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Waterman, Kaufman and Anderson, Circuit Judges.

Author: Per Curiam

This Court is no stranger to these actions. On a previous appeal,*fn1 we reversed and remanded, holding that the district judge*fn2 erred in declining to apply the parol evidence rule and in failing to look to extrinsic evidence as an aid in interpreting the ambiguous price escalation clause*fn3 appearing in identical contracts between the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) and each of the appellants, all of whom are producers of the strategic material, mica. We determined that the disputed escalation clause entitled appellants to a price increment for the mica which they sold to the CCC equal to the increase in price the Government Services Administration (GSA) granted for the mica it was independently purchasing from each of the appellants. We remanded the case, however, for a determination, inter alia, whether the price increment accrued to all of the appellants as of the time the first of their number entered into a new contract with GSA providing for an increased price or whether the increase became effective as to each appellant from the date of its separate subsequent contract with GSA.

On remand, Chief Judge Ryan, considering these questions in light of the record compiled at the initial trial before Judge Leibell, found that the disputed price escalation clause was ambiguous in several respects and that extrinsic evidence could therefore properly be considered for the purpose of determining whether the parties intended to create price uniformity between the CCC, the GSA and each appellant so as not to disrupt the highly sensitive mica market. In view of this goal of price parity, Chief Judge Ryan held that appellants were entitled to a price increment on their contracts with the CCC as of the time the GSA first raised prices in a contract with one of their number, Sigbert Loeb. And, after carefully considering the relevant case law and legislative history, Chief Judge Ryan concluded that the CCC was not immune from the running of lawful interest on judgments entered against it.

In light of the District Judge's considered and thorough exploration and exposition of the issues of fact and law involved in these actions, we affirm in all respects on the basis of his opinion (as amended by the memorandum endorsement on ...


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