BEAL V. MISSOURI PACIFIC R. CORP., 312 U. S. 45 (1941)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Beal v. Missouri Pacific R. Corp., 312 U.S. 45 (1941)

Beal v. Missouri Pacific Railroad Corp.

No. 72

Argued December 17, 1940

Decided January 20, 1941

312 U.S. 45


1. Federal courts of equity should not interfere with the processes of the criminal law in state courts or determine questions of criminal liability under those laws, unless in most exceptional circumstances and upon clear showing that an injunction is necessary in order to prevent an irreparable loss. P. 312 U. S. 50.

2. A suit by a railroad company to restrain state officers from prosecuting, under a state "Full Train Crew" law, the plaintiff, alleging that its trains are manned in accordance with the statute when rightly construed, but that it stands in danger of irreparable injury from multiplicity of prosecutions and possible fines, should not be entertained by a federal court of equity when it appears as a fact that only a single test prosecution is in contemplation, involving only one alleged violation for the purpose of obtaining a construction of the statute by the state courts. P. 312 U. S. 50.

3. Upon a motion for judgment on the pleadings, denials and allegations of the answer which are well pleaded must be taken as true. P. 312 U. S. 51.

108 F.2d 897 reversed.

Page 312 U. S. 46

Certiorari, 311 U.S. 623, to review the affirmance of a decree enjoining the present petitioners, state prosecuting officers, from prosecuting the railroad company's agents for alleged criminal violations of a state "Full Train Crew" law.

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