any redetermination of all profits arising under these contracts was unconstitutional and void; that as to contracts entered into after the passage of the Renegotiation Act, in so far as they might be controlled by the Act, the Act was so indefinite and uncertain and was unconstitutional in investing administrative bodies with the legislative powers without sufficiently defining the terms and conditions under which these powers were to be exercised.
The amended complaint seeks an injunction enjoining the defendants from eliminating any excessive profits of the plaintiff determined by the War Contracts Price Adjustment Board by directing any customers of the plaintiff to withhold for the account of the United States, or otherwise, any moneys due to the plaintiff or directing any such customers to pay any money due to the plaintiff into the Treasury of the United States.
The preliminary question to be determined is the jurisdiction of equity. In the first place the plaintiff has filed its petition in The Tax Court of the United States, seeking a determination of the amount of excess profits, if any, which it has earned if the Renegotiation Act be constitutional. It is enough to say that if The Tax Court of the United States should hold that the plaintiff received no excess profits, then the constitutionality of the Act of Congress is immaterial so far as the rights of the plaintiff are concerned and for that reason the suit is premature.
In addition to this, equity has no jurisdiction for the reason that the plaintiff has complete remedies by actions at law. It claims that certain parties are indebted to it by reason of certain contracts; the payment of these claims under a judgment at law would give a full, adequate and complete remedy. These debtors are not numerous, and so far as the plaintiff's being entitled to relief to avoid a multiplicity of suits, it has a complete remedy in the Court of Claims for all sums of which it may be deprived, if the Renegotiation Act be unconstitutional.
In the case of Coffman v. Breeze Corporations, Inc., et al., 323 U.S. 316, 65 S. Ct. 298, 301, which was a suit by a patent owner against his licensees, seeking an adjudication of unconstitutionality of the Royalty Adjustment Act and seeking an injunction against the licensees from complying with the Act by paying the balance in excess of royalty payments and in excess of the amount declared by the War and Navy Departments to be fair and just into the Treasury of the United States, the Court held that equity was without jurisdiction. The Act in question in that case deprived the licensor of any remedy. The Court said:
'The only rights asserted as the basis for the relief sought by appellant are derived from the license agreements. Those agreements, so far as now appears and as we assume for present purposes, are contractual obligations to pay the stipulated royalties. As they accrue, the royalties become simple debts recoverable in an action at law, or possibly, where the accounts are complicated, in a proceeding for an accounting such as appellant has already begun in its separate suit pending in the District Court of New Jersey. Kirby v. Lake Shore & M.S.R. Co., 120 U.S. 130, 7 S. Ct. 430, 30 L. Ed. 569; United States v. Old Settlers, 148 U.S. 427, 465, 13 S. Ct. 650, 655, 37 L. Ed. 509.
'Appellant does not in the present suit bring to our attention any facts showing or tending to show that a suit to recover a money judgment for the royalties would not afford complete and adequate relief without resort to an equitable remedy. In such a suit if appellee Breeze is obligated by the contracts in question to pay the royalties to appellant, it can discharge that obligation only by payment of the amount due, or by setting up the Royalty Adjustment Act as a defense. Compliance with the duty under the Act to pay into the Treasury the royalties withheld from appellant would operate by the terms of the Act as a discharge of the obligation to pay appellant. If that defense were offered, the constitutional validity of these provisions of the Act would be a justiciable issue in the case, since upon its adjudication would depend appellant's right to recovery.
'But whether the provisions of the Act be valid or invalid appellant shows no ground for equitable relief. If valid they would be a defense, and appellant would be entitled to no relief other than that afforded by the suit against the Government authorized by Sec. 2 of the Act. If invalid, appellant's right to recover remains unimpaired. The sufficiency of the defense may be as readily tested in a suit at law to recover the royalties as by the present suit in equity to enjoin payment of the royalties into the Treasury. In either case appellant would receive all the relief to which it shows itself entitled.'
The Act of Congress involved in the Coffman case is very similar to the Act in this case and there is no reason why the plaintiff has not a complete and adequate remedy by suit against its customers for any sums that may be due from them, if the Act be unconstitutional; and, as to any liability on the part of the United States, its remedy is in the Court of Claims.
The plaintiff contends that the Coffman case was decided simply upon the ground that the complaint did not allege that the plaintiff in that case would be irreparably injured. It is not sufficient, however, to allege irreparable injury without showing the facts upon which that injury follows. In this case, mere delay in the collection of sums due to the plaintiff, the complaint not stating that the debtors are or are likely to become insolvent, does not constitute irreparable injury.
So far as the administrative procedure is concerned, any defects in the hearing before the War Contracts Price Adjustment Board are immaterial so long as the plaintiff obtains a full hearing before The Tax Court of the United States. National Labor Relations Board v. Mackay Radio & Telegraph Co., 304 U.S. 333, 58 S. Ct. 904, 82 L. Ed. 1381.
In the case of Arrow Distilleries, Inc., v. Alexander, D.C., 24 F.Supp. 880, which was affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States in 306 U.S. 615, 59 S. Ct. 489, 83 L. Ed. 1023, it was held that one is not entitled to judicial relief for a supposed or threatened injury until the prescribed administrative remedy has been exhausted, even though the question of the constitutionality of the statute prescribing the administrative remedy is undecided.
We conclude, therefore, that the suit is premature and, in addition, that equity has no jurisdiction.
The motions of the defendants to dismiss the amended complaint and for a summary judgment will each be sustained without prejudice, however, to the right of the plaintiff to maintain actions at law against its debtors and to bring suit as it may be advised in the Court of Claims.
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