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BOWLES v. MCCRADY CONST. CO.

March 1, 1946

BOWLES, Price Administrator,
v.
McCRADY CONST. CO., PITTSBURGH, ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PA



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GOURLEY

This is a civil action brought by the Administrator of the Office of Price Administration against the defendant, McCrady Construction Company, under and pursuant to the provisions of Section 205(a) of the Emergency Price Control Act of 1942, as amended, 56 Stat. 23, 765; 57 Stat. 566; Public Law 383, 78th Cong. 58 Stat. 632; Public Law 108, 79th Cong., 59 Stat. 306, 50 U.S.C.A. § 901 et seq.; Executive Order 9250, 7 F.R. 7871, and Executive Order 9328, 8 F.R. 4681, 50 U.S.C.A.Appendix § 901 note.

It is the contention of the plaintiff that the defendant knowingly violated Maximum Price Regulation No. 134, as amended (7 F.R. 3203 et seq.), and should be restrained by a permanent injunction as to future actions.

 It was claimed by the defendant that the violation was merely technical and inadvertent, and was caused by the desire, on the part of the defendant, to accommodate the public at a time of emergency, and that the failure to file the price schedule promptly was due to lack of personnel and the pressure of other business. In addition thereto, the defendant claimed that it had complied with said Regulation prior to the filing of the complaint for injunctive relief, and that the defendant had fully complied with the provisions of said Regulation. It was further argued that nothing more than a mere suspicion or ungrounded fear on the part of the government exists that the defendant will continue or will permit a violation of said Regulation in the future.

 This matter was presented for hearing before the court without a jury, and each of the parties to said proceeding have filed Suggested Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

 The Court, after hearing and consideration of the Suggested Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law together with the arguments presented by counsel for the party litigants, makes the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law:

 Findings of Fact

 1. On and after May 11, 1942, there has been and remains in effect Maximum Price Regulation No. 134, as amended (7 F.R. 3203 et seq.), establishing maximum prices for the leasing or furnishing for use, construction or road maintenance equipment.

 2. On and after July 1, 1943, Section 5 of Maximum Price Regulation No. 134, as amended, sets forth the procedure for establishing a maximum charge for operating and maintenance services.

 4. Under the provisions of the Emergency Price Control Act of 1942, 50 U.S.C.A.Appendix § 901, it is provided, inter alia, as follows:

 'It is hereby declared to be in the interest of national defense and security and necessary to the effective prosecution of the present war, and the purposes of this Act are, to stabilize prices and to prevent speculative, unwarranted, and abnormal increases in prices and rents; to eliminate and prevent profiteering, hoarding, manipulation, speculation, and other disruptive practices resulting from abnormal market conditions or scarcities caused by or contributing to the national emergency; * * * to prevent hardships to persons engaged in business, to schools, universities, and other institutions, and to the Federal, State, and local governments, which would result from abnormal increase in prices; and to assist in securing adequate production of commodities and facilities; * * * and to permit voluntary cooperation between the Government and producers, processors, and others to accomplish the aforesaid purposes.'

 5. The defendant, during the period from December 14, 1944, to and including July 13, 1945, leased or furnished for use construction or road maintenance equipment, namely, four machines to twelve divers customers in twenty instances and charged the aforesaid customers for operating and maintenance services and received payment therefor, before establishing a maximum price for the said operating and maintenance services, as required by Section 5 of Maximum Price Regulation No. 134, as amended.

 6. On July 27, 1945, a duly authorized investigator of the Industrial Materials Unit of the Pittsburgh District Office of the Office of Price Administration, visited the premises of defendant in the course of his official duties and at that time was informed by the defendant that it had not filed for a price for operating and maintenance service charges under the provisions of Section 5 of Maximum Price Regulation No. 134, as amended.

 7. On July 30, 1945, the same investigator visited the offices of the defendant and was informed at that time that defendant was preparing a price schedule for approval of operating and maintenance charges.

 8. On August 2, 1945, defendant first made application to the Office of Price Administration, Washington, D.C., for approval of a specific price for operating and maintenance services.

 9. On August 28, 1945, the Office of Price Administration, Washington, D.C., approved specific charges for operating and maintenance services, filed by defendant.

 10. On September 25, 1945, a complaint for injunctive relief was filed against the defendant.

 11. During the period from July 1942 to and including July 27, 1945, defendant was familiar with the provisions of Maximum Price Regulation No. 134, as amended.

 12. That although defendant violated the provisions of Section 5 of Maximum Price Regulation No. 134, as amended, said violations were not willful or deliberate, nor with the purpose of flouting the regulations, nor in defiance of the law, but were actuated by a desire to accommodate certain of its customers and the public in times of emergency.

 13. On and after August 2, 1945, to and including the date of the hearing, defendant was in complete compliance with the provisions of Maximum Price Regulation No. 134, as amended.

 Conclusions of Law

 1. During the period from December 14, 1944, to and including July 13, 1945, the defendant violated the provisions of Maximum Price Regulation No. 134, as amended, in that it charged and received payment for operating and maintenance services on construction or road maintenance equipment, leased or furnished for use to divers customers, before establishing a maximum price therefor, as required by Section 5 of Maximum Price Regulation No. 134, as amended.

 2. That the leasing or renting of equipment due to an emergency, or an accommodation to a customer or customers of the defendant, is no excuse for failing to comply with the provisions of Section 1(b) and Section 5 of the Maximum Price Regulation No. 134.

 3. The cessation of violations, whether before or after the institution of the suit by the Administrator of the Office of Price Administration, is no bar to the issuance of an injunction under Section 205(a) of the Emergency Price Control Act of 1942, as amended, 56 Stat. 23, 765; 57 Stat. 566; Public Law, 383, 78th Cong.; Public Law 108, 79th Cong.; Executive Order 9205, 7 F.R. 7871, and Executive Order 9328, 8 F.R. 4681.

 4. That an amendment to Maximum Price Regulation No. 134, effective July 14, 1945, established dollars and cents ceiling prices for operating and maintenance charges on 90% of the equipment that ...


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