Woods v. Hills
334 U.S. 210 (1948)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Woods v. Hills, 334 U.S. 210 (1948)

Woods v. Hills

No. 437

Argued January 14, 1948

Decided May 10, 1948

334 U.S. 210

Syllabus

Under § 205 of the Emergency Price Control Act, the Administrator brought an action based on an alleged overcharge of rent. The issue, by stipulation of the parties, was the validity of the second of two orders of the Rent Director reducing maximum rents on property of the defendant. The District Court entered judgment for the defendant in 1946. An appeal by the Administrator was not submitted in the Circuit Court of Appeals until September 10, 1947, and the Emergency Price Control Act expired, by its terms, on June 30, 1947.

Held:

1. Section 204(d) of the Emergency Price Control Act precluded the District Court in 1946 from determining the validity of the individual rent order, even though the defense to the action brought there was based on the alleged invalidity of the order, since exclusive jurisdiction to pass on the validity of a regulation or an order issued by the Administrator was vested in the Emergency Court of Appeals and in this Court upon review of judgments and orders of the Emergency Court. Pp. 334 U. S. 211-214.

2. On remand, the District Court will not have jurisdiction to determine the validity of the second rent order, and should not be directed by the Circuit Court of Appeals to pass on the validity of the order. Pp. 334 U. S. 211-212, 218.

3. Since responsibility for functions with respect to rent control was transferred by Executive Order 9841 to the Housing Expediter, rather than to the Department of Commerce, the necessary effect of the amendment of § 204(e) of the Emergency Price Control Act

Page 334 U. S. 211

by the Supplemental Appropriation Act of July 30, 1947, was to abrogate the statutory right the defendant in the present case previously had to apply to the District Court for leave to file a complaint in the Emergency Court of Appeals, wherefore the latter court no longer has jurisdiction pursuant to § 204(e) over any complaint which defendant may desire to file with it to contest the validity of the second rent order. Pp. 334 U. S. 215-216.

4. Under § 1(b) of the Emergency Price Control Act, the Emergency Court of Appeals still has jurisdiction to review rent orders issued under the Price Control Act, through the protest and complaint procedure prescribed by §§ 203(a) and 204(a) as amended, although a 1947 amendment expressly recognizes the right of the United States or any officer thereof to dismiss any protest under § 203 on the ground of laches. Pp. 334 U. S. 216-218.

Upon an appeal from a judgment of the District Court for the defendant in an action by the Temporary Controls Administrator (succeeded by the Housing Expediter) under § 205 of the Emergency Price Control Act based on an alleged overcharge of rent, the Circuit Court of Appeals certified questions to this Court which are here answered, pp. 334 U. S. 212-213, 334 U. S. 218.

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