Porter v. Lee
328 U.S. 246 (1946)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Porter v. Lee, 328 U.S. 246 (1946)

Porter v. Lee

Nos. 1116 and 1117

Argued May 13, 1946

Decided May 27, 1946

328 U.S. 246

Syllabus

While an eviction suit by a landlord against a tenant was pending in a state court, the Price Administrator sued in a Federal District Court under § 205 of the Emergency Price Control Act to enjoin the landlord from evicting that tenant "or any other tenant" and from violating the Rent Regulation for Housing (promulgated under the Emergency Price Control Act), which forbids the eviction of tenants so long as they pay the rent to which the landlord is entitled. The District Court dismissed the Administrator's complaint for want of jurisdiction. While an appeal was pending, the tenant was evicted. The Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal as moot.

Held:

1. The District Court had jurisdiction under § 205(c) of the Emergency Price Control Act, which provides that

"The district courts shall have jurisdiction of criminal proceedings for violations of section 4 of this Act, and, concurrently with State and Territorial Courts, of all other proceedings under section 205 of this Act."

P. 328 U. S. 249.

(a) The landlord's eviction proceeding in the state court was not an enforcement proceeding authorized by the Act, and therefore not within the "concurrent" jurisdiction contemplated by § 205. P. 328 U. S. 250.

(b) Over the enforcement proceedings contemplated by § 205, not only did the District Court acquire jurisdiction first, but the state court never acquired any jurisdiction at all. P. 328 U. S. 250.

2. The Circuit Court of Appeals erred in holding that the case was moot. P. 328 U. S. 251.

(a) The mere fact that the tenant vacated the premises in compliance with a writ of possession did not end the controversy, since the court could have restored the status quo by a mandatory injunction. P. 328 U. S. 251.

(b) Moreover, the Administrator sought to restrain the eviction of any other tenant of the landlord as well as other act in violation of the regulation, and § 205(a) authorizes such a broad injunction upon a finding that the landlord has engaged in violations. P. 328 U. S. 251.

Reversed and remanded.

Page 328 U. S. 247

The Price Administrator sued to enjoin the eviction of a tenant and other violations of the Rent Regulation for Housing promulgated under the Emergency Price Control Act. The District Court dismissed the suit for want of jurisdiction. 59 F.Supp. 639. The Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal as moot. This Court granted certiorari. 328 U.S. 826. Reversed and remanded to the District Court for trial on the merits, p. 328 U. S. 252.

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