PERKINS V. LUKENS STEEL CO., 310 U. S. 113 (1940)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Perkins v. Lukens Steel Co., 310 U.S. 113 (1940)

Perkins v. Lukens Steel Co.

No. 593

Argued April 3, 1940

Decided April 29, 1940

310 U.S. 113


The Public Contracts Act of June 30, 1936, requires that all contracts with the United States for the manufacture or furnishing of materials (in amounts exceeding $10,000) shall include a stipulation that all persons employed by the contractor in the manufacture or furnishing of such materials will be paid not less than the prevailing minimum wages "as determined by the Secretary of Labor . . . for persons employed . . . in the particular or similar industries . . . in the locality." Producers of iron and steel sought to enjoin the Secretary of Labor, and other officials and agents authorized to make purchases for the Government, from continuing

Page 310 U. S. 114

in effect a wage determination made by the Secretary for that industry. Complainants asserted that the construction given by the Secretary to the term "locality" was arbitrary, capricious, and unauthorized by law, and that if, in order to bid on Government contracts, they must abide by the wage determination thus made, they would suffer irreparable loss and damage, for which there was no plain, adequate, and complete remedy at law.

Held, that the complainants were without standing to maintain the suit. P. 310 U. S. 125.

1. The bill failed to show that any legal rights of the complainants were invaded or threatened. P. 310 U. S. 125.

2. In the absence of statute, damage resulting from action by the Government which does not invade any recognized legal right is irremediable. P. 310 U. S. 125.

3. That the Secretary of Labor is charged with an erroneous interpretation of the term "locality" in making the wage determination is no basis for the suit. P. 310 U. S. 125.

4. Complainants are not entitled to vindicate any general interest which the public may have in the Secretary's construction or administration of the Act. P. 310 U. S. 125.

5. Neither R.S. § 3709, requiring advertising for proposals in respect of Government purchases and contracts, nor the Public Contracts Act itself, affords any basis for the suit. P. 310 U. S. 126.

6. The Act does not provide for judicial review of wage determinations. P. 310 U. S. 128.

7. The Act vests no right in prospective bidders. P. 310 U. S. 127.

8. Congress has not by the Act exercised any regulatory power over private business or employment, and cases involving governmental regulation of private business are distinguishable. P. 310 U. S. 128.

9. The defendants have not tortiously invaded private rights. P. 310 U. S. 121.

10. Complainants were not entitled to a declaratory judgment. P. 310 U. S. 132.

11. The conclusion that the complainants lack standing to sue is based upon principles implicit in the constitutional division of authority in our system of Government and the impropriety of judicial interpretations of law at the instance of those who show no more than a possible injury to the public. P. 310 U. S. 132.

70 App.D.C. 354, 107 F.2d 627, reversed.

Certiorari, 309 U.S. 643, to review the reversal of a order of the District Court dismissing a bill in equity.

Page 310 U. S. 116

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