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Porter v. Warner Holding Co.

Supreme Court of the United States

May 2, 3, 1946, Argued ; June 3, 1946, Decided

No. 793

Opinion

 [*396]   [**1088]   [***1336]  MR. JUSTICE MURPHY delivered the opinion of the Court.

In this case we are concerned with the power of a federal court, in an enforcement proceeding under § 205 (a) of the Emergency Price Control Act of 1942, 1 to order restitution of rents collected by a landlord in excess of the permissible maximums.

The Warner Holding Company, the respondent, owns eight apartment houses in Minneapolis, Minnesota, containing approximately 280 dwelling units. Between November 1, 1942, and June 29, 1943, it demanded and received [****4]  rents in excess of those permitted by the applicable maximum rent regulations issued under the Act. The Administrator of the Office of Price Administration then brought this action in the District Court to restrain the respondent from continuing to exceed the rent ceilings. The complaint was later amended to seek, in addition, a decree requiring the respondent "to tender to such persons as are entitled thereto a refund of all amounts collected  [*397]  by defendant from tenants as rent for the use and occupancy of housing accommodations in excess of the maximum rents established by said Regulation, provided, however, that defendant shall not be required to make such tender to any person who has commenced an action against defendant under Section 205 (e) of the Emergency Price Control Act of 1942 alleging the collection by defendant of rent in excess of the maximum rents established by said Regulation."

The District Court enjoined respondent from continuing to collect rents in excess of the legal maximums but declined to order restitution. 60 F.Supp. 513. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment. 151 F.2d 529. Both courts held that [****5]  there was no jurisdiction under the statute to order restitution. We granted certiorari because the result was in conflict with that reached by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Bowles v. Skaggs, 151 F.2d 817, and because of the obvious importance of the issue in the administration and enforcement of the Emergency Price Control Act.

This proceeding was instituted by the Administrator under § 205 (a) of the Act, which provides: ] "Whenever in the judgment of the Administrator any person has engaged or is about to engage in any acts or practices which constitute or will constitute a violation of any provision of section 4 of this Act, he may make application to the appropriate court for an order enjoining such acts or practices, or  [**1089]  for an order enforcing compliance with such provision, and upon a showing by the Administrator that such person has engaged or is about to engage in any such acts or practices a permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order, or other order shall be granted without bond."

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328 U.S. 395 *; 66 S. Ct. 1086 **; 90 L. Ed. 1332 ***; 1946 U.S. LEXIS 2282 ****

PORTER, PRICE ADMINISTRATOR, v. WARNER HOLDING CO.

Prior History:  [****1]  CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT.

The Price Administrator brought suit under § 205 (a) of the Emergency Price Control Act of 1942 to enjoin respondent from violating the Act and to require respondent to make restitution of rents collected in excess of maximums established by regulations issued under the Act. The District Court enjoined respondent from violating the Act but denied a restitution order. 60 F.Supp. 513. The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. 151 F.2d 529. This Court granted certiorari. 327 U.S. 773. Reversed, p. 403.

Disposition:  151 F.2d 529, reversed.

CORE TERMS

restitution, equitable, rents, compliance, injunction, enjoining, maximum, decree, overcharged

Civil Procedure, Remedies, Injunctions, Permanent Injunctions, Real Property Law, Landlord & Tenant, Rent Regulation, General Overview, Preliminary & Temporary Injunctions, Jurisdiction, Jurisdictional Sources, Preliminary Considerations, Equity, Relief, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Jurisdiction Over Actions, Governments, Courts, Authority to Adjudicate, Labor & Employment Law, Collective Bargaining & Labor Relations, Federal Preemption, Primacy of Labor Policy