Western Pacific California R. Co. v. Southern Pacific Co.,
284 U.S. 47 (1931)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Western Pacific California R. Co. v. Southern Pacific Co., 284 U.S. 47 (1931)

Western Pacific California Railroad Co. v. Southern Pacific Co.

No. 51

Argued October 27, 1931

Decided November 23, 1931

284 U.S. 47


1. In order to constitute a railroad company a "party in interest" within the meaning of § 402, par. 18, of the Transportation Act, 1920, and thereby entitle it to maintain a suit to enjoin another railroad company from extending its line without having first obtained a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Interstate Commerce Commission, it is not essential that the company suing have a legal right for which it might ask protection under the ordinary rules of equity; but it will suffice if the bill disclose either that some definite legal right of the plaintiff is seriously

Page 284 U. S. 48

threatened or that the unauthorized, and therefore unlawful, action of the defendant may directly and adversely affect the plaintiff's welfare by bringing about some material change in the transportation situation. P. 284 U. S. 50.

2. A railroad company which had definitely located its line and whose application for authority to construct was pending before the Interstate Commerce Commission and was being opposed by a company operating a line substantially parallel to the one projected, held a "party in interest" entitled, under § 402, par. 20, of the Transportation Act to maintain suit to enjoin the second carrier from constructing, without authority from the Commission, what was alleged to be an "extension" of that carrier's line across the plaintiff's projected line and beyond, with the purpose of impeding and preventing the plaintiff's proposed construction and operation, and also of securing traffic from a district adjacent to plaintiff's projected line, the industrial development of which was anticipated. Pp. 284 U. S. 49-52.

46 F.2d 729 reversed.

Certiorari, 283 U.S. 816, to review a decree which reversed a decree of the District Court enjoining railroad construction which that court found to be an "extension." The injunction was to continue unless and until a certificate of public convenience and necessity should be granted by the Interstate Commerce Commission.

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