Denny v. Pacific Tel. & Tel. Co.
276 U.S. 97 (1928)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Denny v. Pacific Tel. & Tel. Co., 276 U.S. 97 (1928)

Denny v. Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Company

Nos. 150 and 151

Argued January 9, 1928

Decided February 20, 1928

276 U.S. 97

Syllabus

1. In a suit by a public service corporation to enjoin enforcement of rates fixed by a state commission, the federal courts will ascertain the powers and duties of the commission and the effect of its orders upon a consideration of the local constitution and statutes and the construction placed upon them by the state courts. P. 276 U. S. 101.

Page 276 U. S. 98

2. Under the Public Service Commission Law of Washington, an order of the state Department of Public Works approving, and ordering future observance of, telephone rate that are higher than the maxima fixed in franchises granted the company by local municipalities has the effect of terminating those franchise provisions, and not that of introducing such approved rate as new maxima into the franchise contracts. P. 276 U. S. 101.

3. Therefore, the rates so approved, when found to be confiscatory, cannot be enforced as contractual. P. 276 U. S. 102.

12 F.2d 279 affirmed.

Appeals from decrees of the district court permanently enjoining, as confiscatory, the enforcement of telephone rates which had been adjudged sufficient and ordered enforced by the Department of Public Works of the State of Washington.

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