Packard v. Banton,
264 U.S. 140 (1924)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Packard v. Banton, 264 U.S. 140 (1924)

Packard v. Banton

No. 126

Argued January 2, 1924

Decided February 18, 1924

264 U.S. 140


1. The amount in controversy in a suit to enjoin enforcement of a statute alleged to be unconstitutional in relation to the plaintiff's business is the value of his right to carry on the business free from the restraint of the statute. P. 264 U. S. 142.

2. When prevention of criminal prosecutions under an unconstitutional statute is essential to protect property rights, equitable jurisdiction exists to restrain them. P. 264 U. S. 143.

3. A New York statute requires persons engaged in the business of carrying passengers for hire in motor vehicles upon public streets to file security or insurance for payment of judgments for death, or injury to person or property, caused in the operation or by defective construction of such motor vehicles.


(a) Not in violation of equal protection of the laws either because it applies only in cities of the first class or because it does not apply to persons operating motor vehicles for their own private ends, or because it does not apply to street cars and omnibuses, which are regulated under another law. P. 264 U. S. 143.

(b) Not so burdensome in this case as to amount to confiscation, in violation of due process of law, in view of the opportunity allowed to file a corporate or personal bond if the cost of insurance be excessive compared with the returns from plaintiff's business. P. 264 U. S. 145.

(c) Inability of a party to comply with the statute without assuming an excessive burden does not render the requirement unconstitutional if due to his peculiar circumstances. Id.

4. The regulatory power over an activity carried on by government sufferance or permission is greater than over one engaged in by private right. Id.


Appeal from a decree of the district court, which dismissed a bill to enjoin enforcement of a New York statute regulating carriers of passengers for hire by motor vehicle.

Page 264 U. S. 141

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