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U.S. Supreme Court

Washington v. General Motors Corp., 406 U.S. 109 (1972)

Washington v. General Motors Corp.

No. 45, Orig.

Argued February 28-29, 1972

Decided April 24, 1972

406 U.S. 109


Eighteen States have filed a motion for leave to file a bill of complaint against the Nation's four major automobile manufacturers and their trade association, alleging a conspiracy in violation of the federal antitrust laws a common law conspiracy in restraint of trade to restrain the development of motor vehicle air pollution control equipment, and a public nuisance in violation of state and federal common law. Those States seek an injunction, inter alia, requiring the defendants to accelerate a research and development program to produce effective pollution control devices and pollution-free engines and to install anti-pollution equipment in all vehicles they manufactured during the alleged conspiracy.

Held: Though the Court has original but not exclusive jurisdiction, it exercises discretion to avoid impairing its ability to administer its appellate docket. In view of the nature of the relief requested and the availability of the federal district courts as an alternative forum, the Court declines to assume jurisdiction. As a matter of law as well as of practical necessity, remedies for air pollution must be considered in the context of local situations, making it advisable that this controversy be resolved in the appropriate federal district courts. Pp. 406 U. S. 113-116.

Motions of North Dakota and West Virginia to be joined as parties plaintiff granted. Motion for leave to file bill of complaint denied, and parties remitted to other federal forum.

DOUGLAS, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which all Members joined except POWELL, J., who took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Page 406 U. S. 111

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