Railroad & Warehouse Comm'n v. Duluth St. Ry. Co. - 273 U.S. 625 (1927)


U.S. Supreme Court

Railroad & Warehouse Comm'n v. Duluth St. Ry. Co., 273 U.S. 625 (1927)

Railroad & Warehouse Commission v.

Duluth Street Railway Company

No. 228

Argued March 14, 15, 1927

Decided April 11, 1927

273 U.S. 625

Syllabus

1. A public utility claiming that an order of a state commission fixing its rates deprives it of a fair return is not bound to exhaust a statutory remedy by appeal to the state court before going into the federal court, when it is possible that such remedy might be held judicial, rather than legislative in character, and the decision therefore res judicata against the complainant. P. 273 U. S. 627.

2. The requirement that state remedies in such cases be exhausted before coming into the federal court is not a fundamental principle of substantive law, but merely a requirement of convenience or comity. P. 273 U. S. 628.

3. A street railway, in electing to come under a state statute providing that its rates may be fixed by a commission with review by appeal to the state courts, does not thereby contract that it will exhaust the statutory remedy before suing in the federal court when the rate fixed by the commission is confiscatory. P. 273 U. S. 628.

4. Where, under the state law, a street railway and a city both had the right to appeal to the state court from an order of a commission fixing the railway fare, a suit by the railway in the federal court to enjoin enforcement of the order as confiscatory, to which the city is a party, gives the city its day, and is not objectionable as cutting off its right of appeal to the state court. P. 273 U. S. 629.

4 F.2d 543 affirmed.

Page 273 U. S. 626

Appeal from a judgment of the district court enjoining the enforcement of an order of the above-named Commission fixing the rates of the Railway Company. The defendants were the Commission, its members, and the City of Duluth.



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