Ohio Oil Co v. Conway, 514

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Citation279 U.S. 813,73 L.Ed. 972,49 S.Ct. 256
Docket NumberNo. 514,514
PartiesOHIO OIL CO. v. CONWAY, Supervisor of public Accounts, et al
Decision Date05 March 1929

Mr. S. L. Herold, of Shreveport, La., for appellant.

Mr. Wood H. Thompson, of New Orleans, La., for appellees.


This is a suit to prevent the enforcement against the plaintiff of a statute of Louisiana (Act 5 of 1928) amending a prior statute (Act 140 of 1922) imposing a severance tax on the production of oil as a natural product of the soil. The prior act fixed the tax at three per cent. of the market value of the oil at the time and place of severance, and the amendatory act makes it a graduated tax ranging from 4 to 11 cents per barrel according to the gravity of the oil. As applied to the plaintiff's operations the tax fixed by the amendatory act is about $12,000 more in each period of three months than the tax under the prior act would be for the like period. While admitting the validity of the prior act and declaring a willingness and readiness to pay the tax imposed thereby, the plaintiff alleges that the changed and enlarged tax imposed by the amendatory act is invalid in that that act as applied to the plaintiff's operations contravenes the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and also a provision of the Constitution of the state requiring that severance taxes be predicated upon 'either the quantity or value' of the product at the time and place of its severance.

The parties are citizens of different states and the matter in controversy exceeds in value the jurisdictional requirement. On bringing the suit, the plaintiff applied for an interlocutory injunction restraining the enforcement against it of the amendatory act pending the decree on final hearing; but the District Court, composed of three judges conformably to section 380 of title 28 of the United States Code (28 USCA § 380), denied the application. An appeal from that order brings it under review.

The application for an interlocutory injunction was submitted on ex parte affidavits, which are harmonious in some particulars and contradictory in others. The affidavits, especially those for the defendant, are open to the criticism that on some points mere conclusions are given, instead of primary facts. But enough appears to make it plain that there is a real dispute over material questions of fact, which cannot be satisfactorily resolved upon the present...

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171 cases
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    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. Western District of Oklahoma
    • 23 d4 Agosto d4 1973
    ...inquiry, we should consider whether the harm to him outweighs the injury to others if relief is denied. See Ohio Oil Co. v. Conway, 279 U.S. 813, 815, 49 S.Ct. 256, 73 L.Ed. 972; Cohen v. Price Commission, 337 F.Supp. 1236, 1239 (S.D.N.Y.), and cases there cited; see also Associated Securit......
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    ...and probably billions." Pls.’ Reply at 20. The Government's position, if correct, concedes irreparable harm. See Ohio Oil Co. v. Conway, 279 U.S. 813, 815, 49 S.Ct. 256, 73 L.Ed. 972 (1929) (per curiam) (enjoining the collection of a state tax where "[t]he laws of the state afford no remedy......
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    ...of actual death of eagles and destruction of their breeding grounds if developer were allowed to proceed); Ohio Oil Co. v. Conway, 279 U.S. 813, 814, 49 S.Ct. 256, 73 L.Ed. 972 (1929) (irreparable harm found in payment of an allegedly unconstitutional tax when state law did not provide a re......
  • MGPC, INC. v. Duncan, C79-0279-B.
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    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Wyoming
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