Gonzalez v. Automatic Employees Credit Union
419 U.S. 90 (1974)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Gonzalez v. Automatic Employees Credit Union, 419 U.S. 90 (1974)

Gonzalez v. Automatic Employees Credit Union

No. 73-858

Argued October 21, 1974

Decided December 10, 1974*

419 U.S. 90

Syllabus

Appellant brought this class action for injunctive and declaratory relief attacking the constitutionality of Illinois automobile repossession and resale statutory provisions and alleging that he had purchased a car on a retail installment contract later assigned to appellee bank which (assertedly without any default by appellant or notice to him) repossessed the car and resold it to a third party to whom title was transferred. A three-judge District Court held that appellant lacked "standing" to attack the constitutionality of the statutory scheme, since the repossession and sale of the car had already taken place, and that, since appellant was allegedly not in default, the complaint was directed not at the constitutionality of the statutory provisions, but only at the bank's abuse of those provisions. Appellant sought review under 28 U.S.C. § 1253, which provides for an appeal to this Court from an order granting or denying an injunction in a civil action required by any Act of Congress to be heard and determined by a three-judge district court. Appellant contends, inter alia, that dismissal of his complaint "denied" him the injunctive relief that he sought, whereas appellee bank maintains that an injunction is not "denied" for purposes of § 1253 by a dismissal based on grounds short of a statute's constitutional validity.

Held: When a three-judge district court denies a plaintiff injunctive relief on grounds that, if sound, would have justified dissolution of the court as to that plaintiff or a refusal to convene a three-judge court to begin with, review of the denial is available in the court of appeals; and since here the three-judge District Court's decision that the complaint was nonjusticiable for lack of "standing" was a ground upon which that court could have dissolved itself, leaving the complaint's disposition to a single judge, the Court of Appeals should determine

Page 419 U. S. 91

the "standing" issue, which this Court has no jurisdiction under § 1253 to consider. Pp. 419 U. S. 93-101.

363 F.Supp. 143, vacated and remanded.

STEWART, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

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