Hughes v. United States
342 U.S. 353 (1952)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hughes v. United States, 342 U.S. 353 (1952)

Hughes v. United States

No. 8

Argued January 7, 1952

Decided February 4, 1952

342 U.S. 353

Syllabus

A Sherman Act consent decree provided for divorcement of a motion picture company's production-distribution assets from its theater assets. Two new companies were to be formed; their stock was to be distributed to stockholders of the old company, and the latter was to be dissolved. Relative to appellant, who owned 24% of the stock of the old company, the decree provided that he might "either" sell his stock in one or the other of the new companies "or" deposit such stock with a court-designated trustee under a voting trust agreement to remain in force until appellant "shall have sold" his stock in one of the companies. Appellant chose not to sell any stock, and the District Court appointed a trustee and approved the agreed terms of a voting trust. Without evidence or findings of fact, and over appellant's protests, the District Court later amended its order appointing the trustee and ordered that the trusteed stock be sold.

Held:

1. The provision of the decree did not require that appellant sell his stock within a reasonable time. Pp. 342 U. S. 356-357.

2. Under the powers reserved in the consent decree, the District Court can require the sale of appellant's stock, but that would be a substantial modification of the consent decree, which cannot be made without a hearing that includes evidence and a judicial determination based upon it. Pp. 342 U. S. 357-358.

Reversed.

From an order of a three-judge District Court in a Sherman Act proceeding, compelling appellant to sell certain shares of stock, he appealed directly to this Court under 15 U.S.C. § 29. Reversed, p. 342 U. S. 358.

Page 342 U. S. 354

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