Missouri-Kansas Pipe Line Co. v. United States
312 U.S. 502 (1941)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Missouri-Kansas Pipe Line Co. v. United States, 312 U.S. 502 (1941)

Missouri-Kansas Pipe Line Co. v. United States

No. 268

Argued February 12, 13, 1941

Decided March 3, 1941*

312 U.S. 502

Syllabus

1. In a suit by the United States to enjoin violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act resulting from control of the affairs of a gas pipeline company by competitors through stock ownership, etc., a consent decree was entered which specifically conferred certain rights on the pipeline company and specifically provided that, upon proper application, it could become a party to the suit for the purpose of enforcing those rights, jurisdiction of the cause and the parties being retained to give full effect to the decree.

Held:

(1) The right of the pipeline company to intervene at a subsequent stage to enforce the rights so reserved was not dependent upon Rule 24(a) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, nor subject to the District Court's discretion, but was a right established by the consent decree. P. 312 U. S. 505.

(2) Orders denying motions to intervene made on its behalf were final orders appealable to this Court. P. 312 U. S. 508.

(3) Enforcement of such rights of the pipeline company through its intervention and active participation in the litigation would not conflict with the public duties of the Attorney General. P. 312 U. S. 508.

Page 312 U. S. 503

(4) The company's right of intervention was not barred by the denial of motions to intervene made earlier by one of its stockholders, but made on that stockholder's own behalf and involving different claims from those now asserted. P. 312 U. S. 508.

2. Expedition in the enforcement of the antitrust laws, to be attained by modification of an existing decree with the approval of the Government, cannot be had at the sacrifice of private right which the decree itself established. P. 312 U. S. 509.

No. 268 reversed.

No. 269 affirmed.

Appeals from two orders of a District Court of three judges denying applications for leave to intervene in a suit instituted by the Government under the Antitrust Act. One of the applications purported to be made by the Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Company, the other was made on its behalf by the Missouri-Kansas Pipe Line Company as one of its stockholders.

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