In a case involving the adequacy of rates fixed for a public
utility, a judgment of a state court remanding the matter to the
rate-fixing commission for a reexamination which may result in a
new basis of fair value and a new schedule of rates, is not final
for purposes of review here.
Appeal from 341 Mo. 920; 110 S.W.2d 749, dismissed.
Appellee the Public Service Commission of Missouri moves to
dismiss the appeal upon the ground that there is no final
The Supreme Court of Missouri had before it an appeal from a
judgment of the circuit court which had affirmed an order of the
Public Service Commission fixing the value for ratemaking purposes
of the property of the Laclede Gas Light Company and ordering a
reduction in rates. The Company contended that the Commission's
Page 304 U. S. 399
order was confiscatory, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment
of the Federal Constitution. The Supreme Court reviewed at length
the findings of the Commission and concluded that there should be a
reexamination by the Commission of certain questions of fact as to
elements of value. After stating these questions, the opinion of
the Supreme Court concluded as follows:
"Subject to the foregoing, the judgment is affirmed and the
cause remanded, with directions to the circuit court to remand to
the commission that it may rehear and determine the facts on the
four points above mentioned in accordance with the views in this
State ex rel. City of St. Louis v. Public Service
110 S.W.2d 749, 780.
The Public Service Commission contends that, under the statutes
of Missouri (R.S.Mo.1929, § 5234), the Supreme Court of Missouri
reviews the order of the Commission judicially (Lusk v.
268 Mo. 109, 118, 186 S.W. 703; State ex rel.
Detroit-Chicago Motor Bus Co. v. Public Service Commission,
324 Mo. 270, 275, 23 S.W.2d 115; State ex rel. City of St.
Louis v. Public Service Commission,
329 Mo. 918, 927, 47
S.W.2d 102; State ex rel. Kansas City Power & Light Co. v.
Public Service Commission,
335 Mo. 1248, 1265, 76 S.W.2d 343);
that the Commission acts legislatively (id.
); that, on the
remand in this case, each of the matters mentioned by the Supreme
Court will be before the Commission, and that it may proceed anew
in the exercise of its discretion in their determination. The
"The Commission may therefore make a new finding of 'fair value'
substantially different from the one found as of the date of the
former hearing. Moreover, such a new finding of 'fair value,'
together with new findings concerning the allowance for annual
depreciation and amortization of cost of changeover expense, would
necessitate the fixing of a new rate schedule. "
Page 304 U. S. 400
"From the very nature of the various items remanded for
rehearing, it is conceivable that the Commission may reach
conclusions which would constitute the basis of another
"For the reasons stated, appellee contends that there is not yet
a final judgment from which an appeal can be taken."
We think that the contention of the Commission is well
Appellant urges that, under the mandate of the Supreme Court, it
would be the duty of the circuit court to proceed at once to
execute its judgment affirming the rate reduction order by
distributing to the customers of appellant the amounts which have
been held by a designated depositary, under order of the court,
pending the final determination of the validity of the rate order.
No ruling of the state court for such a distribution is before us.
The judgment of the Supreme Court does not direct the payment over
of the amounts on deposit, and the direction of the court for
remand to the Commission for further examinations of the questions
stated apparently leaves in abeyance the final determination of the
validity of the rate order, and may result, as the Commission
states, in action which may constitute the basis of another appeal.
The Supreme Court expressly states that the affirmance of the
judgment of the circuit court is subject to the requirement of
reexamination by the Commission as directed.
As we are unable to conclude upon the record before us that the
state court has finally disposed of the controversy, the motion to
dismiss the appeal must be granted.
MR. JUSTICE CARDOZO took no part in the consideration and
decision of this case.