Phoenix Ry. Co. v. Geary,
239 U.S. 277 (1915)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Phoenix Ry. Co. v. Geary, 239 U.S. 277 (1915)

Phoenix Railway Company v. Geary

No. 48

Submitted October 29, 1915

Decided November 29, 1915

239 U.S. 277


The federal court has jurisdiction of a suit by a railway company against members of a state railroad commission to enjoin the enforcement of an order made by them which deprives the railway company of its property without due process of law.

A temporary injunction should not be granted under § 266, Jud.Code, in a suit to enjoin the enforcement of an order of a state railroad commission unless the bill of complaint and supporting affidavits, taken in view of the rebutting affidavits filed by defendant, make a clear case of unreasonable, arbitrary, or confiscatory action on the part of the commission.

The presumption of reasonableness, existing in favor of action of a governmental agency, not having been overcome by the showing made upon the application therefor, the court below rightly denied the interlocutory injunction in this case.

Where, as is the case with the articles of the constitution and laws of Arizona relating to public utility corporations, the penalty provisions are clearly separable from the order of the commission and the constitutional and statutory authority therefor, this Court will not, in advance of an attempt to enforce the penalties, determine whether such penalties are so excessive and severe as to amount to denial of due process of law in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In this case, an order denying an interlocutory injunction to restrain an order of the Corporation Commission of Arizona requiring a railroad company to double-track a portion of its line is affirmed without prejudice to the court below dealing with the question of penalties.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the Fourteenth Amendment of certain provisions of the

Page 239 U. S. 278

statute of Arizona creating the Corporation Commission of that state and of an order made by such Commission, are stated in the opinion.

Page 239 U. S. 279

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