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Radio Station WOW, Inc. v. Johnson

326 U.S. 120 (1945)

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Radio Station WOW, Inc. v. Johnson

United States Supreme Court

326 U.S. 120 (1945)

Facts

The Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society (the society) (defendant) owned the radio station WOW and leased the station to Radio Station WOW, Inc. (WOW) (defendant), a corporation formed to operate the station. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) consented to the assignment of the station license to WOW. Homer Johnson (plaintiff) sued the society and WOW in Nebraska state court, seeking to have the lease and the assignment of the station license set aside for fraud. The state trial court dismissed Johnson’s action after finding that there was no fraud. However, the Nebraska Supreme Court reversed and entered a judgment directing, among other things, that the lease and station license be set aside and that WOW return property to the society. The judgment also ordered an accounting of the station’s operation by WOW and the return of any income minus operating expenses to the society. WOW and the society moved for rehearing, arguing that the state court did not have jurisdiction over a federal-licensing matter. The Nebraska Supreme Court denied rehearing, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari. One question on certiorari was whether the Nebraska Supreme Court’s judgment was a reviewable final judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Frankfurter, J.)

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