After we have remanded a case with specific instructions, attorneys rarely attempt to have the district court defy our mandate. And even if they try it, a district court is seldom misled into that kind of error by them. This is one of those rare cases where the attorneys representing one side successfully urged the district court to act contrary to our mandate. Of course, we reverse that part of its judgment.
Needless to say (or maybe not), a district court cannot amend, alter, or refuse to apply an appellate court’s mandate simply because an attorney persuades the court that the decision giving rise to the mandate is wrong, misguided, or unjust. A district court can, of course, wax eloquent about how wrong the appellate court is, but after the waxing wanes the mandate must be followed.***
There is no imprecision in those instructions, no room for evasive interpretation, in short, there is no legitimate basis for applying what we said only to a subset of the 41 Florida stores. We don’t know what else we could have said other than, perhaps, “and we really mean it.” Well, we really did mean it. And we still do.
The district court did not do what we instructed it to do because it was led astray by the defendants’ attorneys.