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U.S. Supreme Court

United States ex rel. Great Western R. Co. v. ICC, 294 U.S. 50 (1935)

United States ex rel. Great Western Railroad Co.

v. Interstate Commerce Commission

No. 234

Argued December 13, 1934

Decided January 7, 1935

294 U.S. 50


1. Mandamus does not lie to control the action of an administrative agency in the exercise of its discretionary powers. P. 294 U. S. 59. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 294 U. S. 51

2. A refusal by the Interstate Commerce Commission to act upon a complaint, upon the ground that it has no statutory power to grant the relief prayed, is equally a denial of jurisdiction, as distinguished from a decision on the merits, whether the Commission rejects the complaint on its face or dismisses it after a hearing. P. 294 U. S. 60.

3. A refusal by the Commission to exercise jurisdiction on a complaint is reviewable in mandamus if plainly erroneous, even though the refusal came after a hearing; but if it was not plainly erroneous, it is not reviewable by mandamus even though no other remedy, by suit or action, be available to the complainant. P. 294 U. S. 61.

4. Railroads which, with other railroads, were co-proprietors of city terminal and participated in its use under a terminal agreement which required all to meet the fixed charges of interest and taxes in equal proportions and to share the cost of maintenance and operation in proportion to use, intervened in a proceeding by which another railroad sought to gain the right to use the terminal facilities, and to have the compensation fixed, under § 3(4) of the Interstate Commerce Act. They alleged that the agreement was harsh and inequitable to them, who used the terminal but little, and unjustly advantageous to the other proprietors, who used it much more, and they sought to have the burden readjusted on the basis of use, invoking § 3(1), (3), and (4), and § 15(a) of the Act. The Commission decided that the Act conferred no authority to grant relief from the agreement. Held that the decision was not clearly erroneous, and that mandamus to compel the Commission to take jurisdiction was rightly refused. P. 294 U. S. 61.

63 App.D.C. 215; 71 F.2d 33, affirmed.

Certiorari, 293 U.S. 545, to review the affirmance of a judgment dismissing a petition for a writ of mandamus. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 294 U. S. 52

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