Testa v. Katt
330 U.S. 386 (1947)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Testa v. Katt, 330 U.S. 386 (1947)

Testa v. Katt

No. 431

Argued February 14, 1947

Decided March 10, 1947

330 U.S. 386


Section 205(e) of the Emergency Price Control Act, 56 Stat. 34, as amended, provides that a buyer of goods at above the ceiling price may sue the seller "in any court of competent jurisdiction" for three times the amount of the overcharge plus costs and a reasonable attorney's fee, and § 205(c) provides that the federal district courts shall have jurisdiction of such suits "concurrently with" state courts. Having purchased an automobile at above the ceiling price, the purchaser sued the seller under § 205(e) and obtained judgment for damages and costs in a state court having adequate general jurisdiction to enforce similar claims arising under state law. On appeal, the State Supreme Court reversed the judgment on the ground that the suit was for a penalty based on a statute of a foreign sovereign, and could not be maintained in the state courts.

Held: assuming, without deciding, that § 205(e) is a penal statute, the state courts were not free under Article VI of the Constitution to refuse enforcement of the claim. Claflin v. Houseman,93 U. S. 130; Mondou v. New York, N.H. & H. R. Co.,223 U. S. 1. Pp. 330 U. S. 389-394.

71 R.I. 472, 47 A.2d 312, reversed.

A state court of competent jurisdiction awarded the purchaser of an automobile at above the ceiling price a judgment for damages and costs under § 205(e) of the Emergency Price Control Act, 56 Stat. 34, as amended. The State Supreme Court reversed and, pursuant to local practice, remitted the case and record to the Superior Court. 71 R.I. 472, 47 A.2d 312. This Court granted certiorari. 329 U.S. 703. Reversed and remanded, p. 330 U. S. 394.

Page 330 U. S. 387

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