Mandamus Is An Extraordinary Remedy
“‘[W]here the subject concerns the enforcement of the … rules which by law it is the duty of this court to formulate and put in force’, mandamus should issue to prevent such action thereunder so palpably improper as to place it beyond the scope of the rule invoked. “Los Angeles Brush Mfg. Corp. v. James, 272 U.S. 701 (1927).
Since La Buy, the courts have demonstrated their recognition that responsibility to supervise the activities of the district courts may be discharged through proceedings for mandamus. Los Angeles Brush Mfg. Corp. v. James, 272 U.S. 701 (1927). 3 7See, e.g., Atlass v. Miner, 265 F.2d 312 (7th Cir. 1959)(supervision over discovery rules in admiralty proceeding), aff’d, Miner v. Atlass, 363 U.S. 641 (1960) (the Court considered only the court of appeals’ supervisory authority and not the propriety of extraordinary review).“It is well settled that the jurisdiction of the federal courts is limited; no presumption of federal jurisdiction exists.” Preston v. Purtell, 410 F.2d 234, 236 (7th Cir. 1969).
Mandamus and prohibition are extraordinary remedies. See Kerr v. U.S. Dist. Court, 426 U.S. 394, 402 (1976); United States v. Santtini, 963 F.2d 585, 593-94 (3d Cir. 1992) (noting also that the requirements are the same for obtaining either writ). Within the discretion of the issuing court, the writs traditionally may be “used . . . only to confine an inferior court to a lawful exercise of its prescribed jurisdiction or to compel it to exercise its authority when it is its duty to do so.‟ Kerr, 426 U.S. at 402 (citations omitted). To obtain such relief, a petitioner must show that “(1) no other adequate means exist to attain the relief he desires, (2) the party’s right to issuance of the writ is clear and indisputable, and (3) the writ is appropriate under the circumstances.” Hollingsworth v. Perry, 558 U.S. 183, 190 (2010) (per curiam) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Mandamus is not a substitute for appeal. See Cheney v. U.S. Dist. Court, 542 U.S. 367, 380-81 (2004) (citations omitted); Madden v. Myers, 102 F.3d 74, 79 (3d Cir. 1996). See, e.g., Holub Ind., Inc. v. Wyche, 290 F.2d 852 (4th Cir. 1961) (review of trial court’s determination to proceed when venue improperly laid); New York, S. & W. R.R. v. Follmer, 254 F.2d 510 (2d Cir. 1958)
When a trial court transferred an action to another more convenient district pursuant to Section 1404(a) of the Judicial Code, without affording the plaintiff a hearing prior to transfer as required, it was an action beyond the court’s “power “and mandamus was appropriate. Similarly, where the trial court transferred the case under section 1404(a) to a district where the action could not have originally been brought, it was beyond its “power” under the rules See, Swindell-Dressler Corp. v. Dumbauld, 308 F.2d 267 (3d Cir. 1962) (trial court denial of “procedural due process of law”). See De Beers Consol. Mines, Ltd. v. United States, 325 U.S. 212, 217 (1945) …when a court has no judicial power to do what it purports to do—when its action is not mere error but usurpation of power—the situation falls precisely within the allowable use of [mandamus].”Appellate mandamus traditionally would issue only to fix errors of a “jurisdictional” nature. 16 WRIGHT ET AL., supra note 6, § 3932