Oklahoma Operating Co. v. Love,
252 U.S. 331 (1920)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Oklahoma Operating Co. v. Love, 252 U.S. 331 (1920)

Oklahoma Operating Company v. Love

No. 129

Argued January 23, 24, 1919

Restored to docket for reargument April 21, 1919

Submitted October 9, 1919

Order for oral argument entered October 20, 1919

Reargued December 17, 1919

Decided March 22, 1920

252 U.S. 331


Under the constitution and laws of Oklahoma, an order of the state Corporation Commission declaring a laundry to be a monopoly and its business public, and limiting its rates, was not reviewable directly, by appeal, mandamus, prohibition or otherwise, in any court of the state, and the only recourse for securing a judicial test of the adequacy of the rates fixed was to disobey the order and to appeal to the state supreme court from further action of the Commission,

Page 252 U. S. 332

when taken, imposing a penalty for contempt; a penalty as high as $500 might be imposed, and, semble, a new one for each violation of the order, and each day's refusal was declared to be a separate offense. Held, applying Ex Parte Young, 209 U. S. 123, 209 U. S. 147, and other cases, that the provisions relating to the enforcement of the rates by penalties were violative of the Fourteenth Amendment, without regard to the question of the insufficiency of the rates. P. 252 U. S. 336.

Jurisdiction of the district court having attached in a suit to enjoin the enforcement of such a rate-fixing order and infliction of penalties, it is not divested by a change in the state law permitting direct review of the order in the state court. P. 252 U. S. 337.

Enforcement of the penalties should be enjoined until the district court can determine whether the rates are confiscatory, and if they be found so, their enforcement, by penalties or otherwise, should be enjoined permanently; and, if found not confiscatory, there should be a permanent injunction of penalties accrued pendente lite if the plaintiff had reasonable ground for contesting the rates as confiscatory. Id.

The state Commission need not be enjoined from investigating plaintiff's rates and practices, but its findings and conclusions must be subjected to the review of the district court in the injunction case, and may be made part of the final proofs therein. P. 252 U. S. 338.


The case is stated in the opinion.

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