California v. Latimer - 305 U.S. 255 (1938)


U.S. Supreme Court

California v. Latimer, 305 U.S. 255 (1938)

California v. Latimer

No. 13, Original

Argued November 7, 1938

Decided December 5, 1938.

305 U.S. 255

Syllabus

A bill filed here by California against the members of the Railroad Retirement Board and the Commissioner of Internal Revenue to enjoin them from enforcing against the State Belt Railroad -- a railroad on the San Francisco waterfront owned by the State and operated by it in interstate commerce -- the provisions of the Railroad Retirement Acts of 1935 and 1937 and of the Carriers Taxing Act of 1937, held without equity.

1. An alleged threat of the Railroad Retirement Board to require the State Belt Railroad to gather and keep records of its employees does not expose it to irreparable injury. P. 305 U. S. 259.

(a) A general allegation, without supporting detail or specification, that compliance with regulations of the Board would subject the State "to great expense" is not an adequate basis for relief on the ground of irreparable injury. P. 305 U. S. 260.

(b) Moreover, the Board is without power to enforce its regulations except by resort to legal proceedings, and therein the State would have ample opportunity to challenge the enforcement of the Acts. P. 305 U. S. 260.

Page 305 U. S. 256

(c) The contention that the possible penalty, in case of a prosecution under § 13 of the Retirement Act of 1937, is so serious that the opportunity to defend would not be an adequate remedy is examined and rejected. P. 305 U. S. 261.

2. The threat of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue to require payment of the tax does not sufficiently show danger of irreparable injury. P. 305 U. S. 261.

(a) Payment, if not due, could be recovered. P. 305 U. S. 261.

(b) Possible delay in recovery of payment -- suit could not be instituted until six months after claim for refund was made, if the Commissioner failed earlier to act upon it -- is not a special circumstance justifying resort to a suit for an injunction in order that the question of liability may be promptly determined. P. 305 U. S. 261.

(c) The contentions of the State that, to raise the money with which to pay the State's portion of the tax, it would be necessary to readjust the tariffs of the railroad, and that the deduction of the employees' portion from the payroll would result in a multiplicity of suits by employees to fix their rights under the state retirement law held not sufficiently supported in the bill. P. 305 U. S. 262.

(d) Mere inconvenience to the State in raising the money to pay the taxes does not entitle it to an injunction to test the validity or applicability of the tax. P. 305 U. S. 262.

Bill dismissed.

Bill of complaint filed by California, by leave of Court, in a suit invoking the original jurisdiction of this Court, against members of the Railroad Retirement Board and the Commissioner of Internal Revenue to enjoin enforcement of provisions of the Railroad Retirement Acts of 1935 and 1937 and the Carriers Taxing Act of 1937.

Page 305 U. S. 257



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