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U.S. Supreme Court

Carpenter v. Wabash Railway Co., 309 U.S. 23 (1940)

Carpenter v. Wabash Railway Co.

No. 230

Argued January 9, 1940

Decided January 29, 1940

309 U.S. 23


1. Applicable legislation enacted while the case was pending for review will be enforced by the appellate court. P. 309 U. S. 26.

2. The amendment of § 77(n) of the Bankruptcy Act, approved Aug. 11, 1939, and providing that,

". . . in equity receiverships of railroad corporations now or hereafter pending in any court of the United States, claims for personal injuries to employees of a railroad corporation . . . shall be preferred and paid out of the assets of such railroad corporation as operating expenses of such railroad"

held applicable in this case and within the power of Congress. P. 309 U. S. 27.

3. Claims of superior equities may be accorded priority of payment from the earnings of a railroad in an equity receivership although they arose prior to the receivership. Congress may

Page 309 U. S. 24

determine reasonable classification of claims as entitled to priority because of superior equities in receivership' cases in the federal courts. P. 309 U. S. 27.

4. In an equity railroad receivership case, where the District Court denied a petition to intervene with a claim of priority of payment for a judgment for personal injuries recovered before the equity proceeding was begun, held that, inasmuch as the Act of Aug. 11, 1939, supra, is explicit and mandatory, and as the District Court has no discretion to act contrary to its terms, there is no occasion to remand to that court in order that it may reconsider the claim under that Act and decide whether the intervention should be allowed at the stage reached by the proceedings; but that the court should be directed to allow the claim in accordance with the statute. P. 309 U. S. 29.

103 F.2d 996 vacated.

Certiorari, 308 U.S. 539, to review affirmance of a judgment of the District Court which denied a petition to intervene in a railroad receivership case. The review here was limited to the right of the petitioner to intervene in order to assert priority of a claim based on personal injuries.

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