Pine Hill Coal Co., Inc. v. United States
259 U.S. 191 (1922)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Pine Hill Coal Co., Inc. v. United States, 259 U.S. 191 (1922)

Pine Hill Coal Company, Inc. v. United States

No. 101

Argued January 20, 1922

Decided May 29, 1922

259 U.S. 191

Syllabus

1. Section 25 of the "Lever Act" of August 10, 1917, c. 53, 40 Stat. 284, authorized the fixing of all prices of coal and the regulation of its distribution among dealers and consumers during the war, and the taking over by the President, for just compensation, of plants and businesses of producers and dealers who neglected to conform to such prices or regulations, and further provided that "if the prices so fixed," or the compensation as determined under the act in case of requisition, were not satisfactory to the persons entitled to receive them, they should be paid seventy-five percentum "of the amount so determined" and be

"entitled to sue the United States to recover such further sum as, added to said seventy-five percentum, will make up such amount as will be just compensation."

Held that the prices last referred to are only those to be paid by the government, and that the act cannot be construed as an undertaking by the United States to indemnify producers who sold to third parties where the prices fixed were unjust and unreasonable. P. 259 U. S. 195.

2. A construction of a statute which would make the government liable in great sums for losses resulting to individuals from obedience to its regulations cannot be based upon the vicissitudes attending the passage of the bill, nor be adopted unless expressed in the plainest language. P. 259 U. S. 196.

55 Ct.Clms. 433 affirmed.

Appeal from a judgment sustaining a demurrer to a petition setting up a claim to indemnity for losses resulting from sales of coal at prices fixed by the government.

Page 259 U. S. 194

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