De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. v. United States
325 U.S. 212 (1945)

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U.S. Supreme Court

De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. v. United States, 325 U.S. 212 (1945)

De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. v. United States

No. 1189

Argued May 2, 1945

Decided May 21, 1945*

325 U.S. 212

Syllabus

In a civil proceeding brought by the United States against foreign corporations and individuals, seeking equitable relief upon a charge that the defendants were engaged in a conspiracy to restrain and monopolize commerce of the United States with foreign nations in gem and industrial diamonds, in violation of §§ 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act and § 73 of the Wilson Tariff Act, the district court granted a preliminary injunction restraining the corporate defendants from withdrawing, selling, transferring, or disposing of any property belonging to them in the United States until the cause finally shall have been determined and the defendants shall have complied with all orders of the court.

Held:

Page 325 U. S. 213

1. The order of the district court granting the preliminary injunction was reviewable here by certiorari under § 262 of the Judicial Code. P. 325 U. S. 217.

(a) If the preliminary injunction here granted, unless set aside, will stand throughout the course of the trial and for an indefinite period thereafter, and if the order was beyond the powers conferred upon the court, the case is an appropriate one for the exercise of jurisdiction by this Court under § 262. United States Alkali Export Assn. v. United States, ante p. 325 U. S. 196. P. 325 U. S. 217.

(b) The order did not grant such relief as could be afforded by any final injunction, but dealt with matters lying wholly outside the issues in the case; no decision of the suit on the merits could redress any injury done by the order, and, unless it can be reviewed under § 262, it can never be corrected if beyond the power of the trial court. P. 325 U. S. 217.

2. The preliminary injunction here issued was not authorized by statute or by the usages of equity, and the order granting it must be reversed. P. 325 U. S. 219.

(a) Rule 70 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, which permits the issue of a writ of attachment or sequestration against the property of a disobedient party to compel satisfaction of a judgment, is operative only after a judgment is entered. P. 325 U. S. 218.

(b) The preliminary injunction here issued was not authorized by § 4 of the Sherman Act or by § 262 of the Judicial Code. P. 325 U. S. 218.

(c) The preliminary injunction here issued deals with a matter lying wholly outside the issues in the suit; it deals with property which in no circumstances can be dealt with in any final injunction that may be entered. P. 325 U. S. 220.

(d) Cases involving interlocutory injunctions granted with respect to funds or property which would have been the subject of the provisions of final decrees, and cases involving injunctions by federal courts to restrain interference with their jurisdiction, do not sustain the preliminary injunction here issued. P. 325 U. S. 220.

(e) The practice in respect of writs of ne exeat is not analogous. P. 325 U. S. 221.

(f) Since, under the circumstances, the district court is without jurisdiction to demand security, it is equally without authority to compel the furnishing of a bond by the seizure of property. P. 325 U. S. 222.

Reversed.

Certiorari, 324 U.S. 839, to review an order of the district court granting a preliminary injunction against defendants

Page 325 U. S. 214

in a suit brought by the United States to restrain alleged violations of the Sherman Act and the Wilson Tariff Act.

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