The court, it seems to me, should not do by indirection what it could not do directly, irrespective of whether the court has the power so to do. This is a consideration that should affect the exercise of the court's discretion.
Another circumstance that must be considered is whether the plaintiffs will sustain irreparable damage if a temporary restraining order were denied. The court heard counsel at length on this point, because that is a matter that seemed to the court to be of vital importance. The situation, as it presents itself at this stage, is that the president of each company, and his managerial staff, remain in control and are named as operating agents for the United States. They have not been dispossessed or displaced. They are still in possession and will continue to conduct the company's operations.
True, plaintiffs fear that other drastic steps may be taken which would displace the management or which would supersede its control over labor relations. It seems to the court that these possibilities are not sufficient to constitute a showing or irreparable damage. If these possibilities arise, applications for restraining orders, if they are proper and well-founded, may be renewed and considered.
On the other hand, to issue a restraining order against Mr. Sawyer, and in effect nullify an order of the President of the United States, promulgated by him to meet a nation-wide emergency problem is something that the court should not do, unless there is some very vital reason for the court stepping in.
The court feels that the balance of the equities is in favor of the defendant, so far as the present application is concerned. This conclusion is fortified by the concessions of Government counsel, to the effect that, in any event, the plaintiffs have an adequate remedy in suits for damages. Government counsel concede that if, as they say it is, the seizure is lawful and a legal taking of property, a suit for just compensation will lie in the Court of Claims against the United States.
On the other hand, Government counsel further concede that if the seizure is illegal, an action for damages lies against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C.A. §§ 1346, 2671 et seq. The court is of the opinion that such actions would lie.
The fact that the plaintiffs have adequate remedies by way of actions for damages, and the considerations already stated, lead to the conclusion that the balance of equities requires a denial of temporary restraining orders. The motions for temporary restraining orders are denied.