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U.S. Supreme Court

Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. v. Oklahoma Packing Co., 292 U.S. 386 (1934)

Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. v. Oklahoma Packing Co.

No. 832

Argued May 3, 4, 1934

Decided May 21, 1934

292 U.S. 386


1. The three-judge procedure under Jud.Code § 266 is an extraordinary one, designed for a specific class of cases, and must be kept within the limitations imposed by the statute. P. 292 U. S. 391.

2. The procedure prescribed br § 266 may be invoked only if the suit is in fact and in law a suit to restrain the action of state officers. P. 292 U. S. 390.

3. When it becomes apparent that the plaintiff has no case for three judges, though they may have been properly convened, their action is no longer prescribed, and direct appeal to this Court must fail, as well as where the plaintiff does not press his injunction or his constitutional attack. P. 292 U. S. 391.

4. In a suit brought by a public utility company under Judicial Code § 266 to enjoin the enforcement by state officers of an allegedly unconstitutional order affecting its service and rates, and also to enjoin a private party from prosecuting an action based upon the order, it became apparent at final hearing that there had been no basis for relief against the officers because the order had been superseded by another before the suit was begun, and no penalties were threatened. Held, that there was no occasion for proceeding under § 266, and that a direct appeal would not lie to this Court for the purpose of determining the private controversy, although it was one within the general jurisdiction of the District Court. P. 292 U. S. 390.

5. Although without jurisdiction to hear the merits of an appeal erroneously based on Jud.Code § 266, this Court has authority in the case to enforce the limitations of that section by appropriate directions, and it may frame its order in a way that will save to the appellants their proper remedies. P. 292 U. S. 392.

6 F.Supp. 893, decree vacated.

Appeal from a decree of the District Court, constituted of three judges, which dismissed a suit brought against the Corporation Commission of Oklahoma and its members chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 292 U. S. 387

to enjoin the enforcement of an order affecting service and rates of the plaintiff gas company, and also against a private corporation, beneficiary of the order, to restrain it from prosecuting an action to recover what it had paid in excess.

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