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MACAULEY V. WATERMAN S.S. CORP., 327 U. S. 540 (1946)

U.S. Supreme Court

Macauley v. Waterman S.S. Corp., 327 U.S. 540 (1946)

Macauley v. Waterman Steamship Corp.,

No. 435

Argued February 27, 28, 1946

Decided March 25, 1946

327 U.S. 540


The Maritime Commission Price Adjustment Board notified respondent that it had been assigned to renegotiate respondent's war contracts with the Commission pursuant to the Renegotiation Act and requested respondent to attend an initial conference and to supply information. Respondent denied the Board's authority on the ground that its contracts were with a British ministry, and not with the Maritime Commission. The Board replied that, although signed by a British ministry, they had been negotiated by the Maritime Commission on behalf of the United States, which was responsible for the obligations incurred, and that therefore they were subject to renegotiation. Respondent refused to furnish the information requested, and brought suit in a district court for a declaratory judgment that the contracts were not subject to the Renegotiation

Page 327 U. S. 541

Act and an injunction against further renegotiation proceedings.


1. The District Court was without jurisdiction, because respondent had not exhausted the administrative remedies provided in the Renegotiation Act. Myers v. Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., 303 U. S. 41. P. 327 U. S. 543.

2. Under § 403(e)(1) of the Renegotiation Act, which permits contractors aggrieved by an order of an adjustment board to petition the Tax Court for a redetermination and gives that court exclusive jurisdiction "to finally determine the amount, if any, of such excessive profits," the Tax Court has authority to decide questions of coverage. P. 327 U. S. 544.

3. The facts that willful failure to comply with the adjustment board's request for information would subject the contractor to penalties under the Act, that the Chairman of the Commission and the Tax Court can enforce their orders without court proceedings, that the Act specifically provides that the Tax Court's determination is not subject to court review, and that, even if the contractor could have resort to the courts after a Tax Court determination, it would be subjected to a multiplicity of suits to recover on the contracts, do not affect the application of the rule requiring exhaustion of administrative remedies. P. 327 U. S. 545.

151 F.2d 292 reversed.

Respondent sued for a declaratory judgment that certain contracts were not subject to the Renegotiation Act and an injunction prohibiting further renegotiation proceedings. The District Court dismissed the complaint on the ground that respondent had failed to exhaust its administrative remedies. The Court of Appeals reversed. 151 F.2d 292. This Court granted certiorari. 326 U.S. 709. Reversed, p. 545.

Page 327 U. S. 542

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