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Louisiana Power & Light Co. v. Thibodaux, 360 U.S. 25 (1959)

Louisiana Power & Light Co. v. City of Thibodaux

No. 398

Argued April 2, 1959

Decided June 8, 1959

360 U.S. 25


The authority of respondent City of Thibodaux to expropriate the property of petitioner Power and Light Company was challenged in an eminent domain proceeding in the District Court, which had jurisdiction based on diversity of citizenship. Petitioner answered respondent's reliance upon a Louisiana statute by citing an opinion of the Louisiana Attorney General advising that a Louisiana city was without power to effect a similar expropriation. The District Judge, on his own motion, ordered that further proceedings be stayed until the Louisiana Supreme Court had been afforded an opportunity to interpret the theretofore judicially uninterpreted Act.

Held: the District Court properly exercised the power it had in this case to stay proceedings pending a prompt state court construction of a state statute of dubious meaning. Pp. 360 U. S. 25-31.

255 F.2d 774 reversed.

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