Western Union Telegraph Company v. Andrews

Citation30 S.Ct. 286,54 L.Ed. 430,216 U.S. 165
Decision Date21 February 1910
Docket NumberNo. 8,8
PartiesWESTERN UNION TELEGRAPH COMPANY, Appt., v. P. R. ANDREWS, Clyde Going, R. E. Jeffey, et al
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

Messrs. Rush Taggart, George B. Rose, and Henry D. Estabrook for appellant.

Messrs. Hal. L. Norwood, William F. Kirby, Joseph M. Hill, and Otis T. Wingo for appellees.

Mr. Justice Day delivered the opinion of the court:

This case grows out of alleged actions about to be taken to enforce against the Western Union Telegraph Company the penalties denounced in the act of May 13, 1907, of the legislature of Arkansas, entitled, 'An Act to Permit Foreign Corporations to Do Business in Arkansas, and Fix Fees to Be Paid by All Corporations.'

As this act has just been the subject of consideration in Ludwig v. Western U. Teleg Co. decided to-day [216 U. S. 146, 54 L. ed.—, 30 Sup. Ct. Rep. 280], it is unnecessary to set out at large the provisions of the statute in question.

The bill in this case was brought against the prosecuting attorneys of the seventeenth judicial circuits of the state of Arkansas to enjoin them from instituting actions against the Western Union Telegraph Company to recover the penalties of $1,000 for each alleged violation of the act. It was averred in the bill that the defendant prosecuting attorneys would, unless restrained by the order of the court, institute numerous actions, as they had threatened to do, for the recovery of the penalties aforesaid. The learned district judge sustained the demurrer to the bill, and dismissed the case upon the ground that the action is, in effect, a suit against the state of Arkansas, and for that reason prohibited by the 11th Amendment to the Federal Constitution. The sole question presented upon this record is as to the correctness of that ruling.

Since the decision in the circuit court, this court has decided the case of Ex parte Young, 209 U. S. 123, 52 L. ed. 714, 13 L.R.A.(N.S.) 932, 28 Sup. Ct. Rep. 441. In that case the previous cases in this court concerning the application of the 11th Amendment of the Constitution were fully considered, and it was then said by Mr. Justice Peckham, speaking for the court:

'The various authorities we have referred to furnish ample justification for the assertion that individuals who, as officers of the state, are clothed with some duty in regard to the enforcement of the laws of the state, and who threaten and are about to commence proceedings, either of a civil...

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    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • January 21, 1958
    ...209 U.S. 123, 147, 28 S.Ct. 441, 52 L.Ed. 714; Truax v. Raich, 239 U.S. 33, 36 S.Ct. 7, 60 L.Ed. 131; Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Andrews, 216 U.S. 165, 30 S.Ct. 286, 54 L.Ed. 430; Sterling v. Constantin, 287 U.S. 378, 53 S.Ct. 190, 77 L.Ed. PRIOR CONSTRUCTION OF STATUTES BY STATE SUPREM......
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