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United States v. Johnson

United States Supreme Court
319 U.S. 302 (1943)


Facts

Johnson (defendant) owned residential property that he leased to “One Roach” (plaintiff), a fictitious name of the individual tenant. One Roach brought suit against Johnson, alleging that the charged rent was in excess of the maximum amount fixed by regulation pursuant to the Emergency Price Control Act of 1942 (the Act). The Act delegated power to a “price administrator” to promulgate regulations for maximum rent that could be collected in specific geographic areas. Johnson filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that the Act was unconstitutional, because it improperly delegated legislative power to the administrator. The United States intervened pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 401 in support of the constitutionality of the Act. The district court granted the motion to dismiss, but prior to entry of the final order, the government moved to reopen the case, alleging collusion and the lack of a real case or controversy. The motion contained the affidavit of the plaintiff, admitting the case was brought under a fictitious name as a “friendly suit” at the request of Johnson, and that the plaintiff had not read the complaint and was not aware of the amount of damages claimed. The plaintiff was assured he would incur no expenses, and he did not hire, pay, or even meet plaintiff’s attorney of record. Johnson’s counter-affidavit did not dispute the allegations and further admitted that Johnson hired the attorney for the plaintiff and assured the plaintiff that he would not have to appear for trial. The district court denied the motion, and the government appealed on the constitutionality of the Act and on the refusal to reopen and dismiss the case as collusive.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per Curiam)

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