Constitutional Law Keyed to Stone
Jackson v. Metropolitan Co
The Respondent is a privately owned utility company that holds a certificate of public convenience issued by the state authorizing it to provide electricity to its customers. The Respondent is heavily regulated by the state. Under a provision filed with the State, the Respondent has the right to terminate service to a customer on reasonable notice of nonpayment of bills. After a lengthy dispute, the Respondent terminated the Petitioner’s service for nonpayment. The Petitioner brought an action claiming that the termination constituted state action depriving her of property in violation of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. The Petitioner argues that state action is present because of the monopoly conferred upon the Respondent by the State of Pennsylvania. The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) dismissed this argument stating that even if there was a monopoly conferred by the state, there was insufficient relationship between the challenged actions of the Respondent and their monopoly status. The Supreme Court also rejected the argument that the termination of the Petitioner’s electricity was state action because that State had specifically approved the termination practice. At most, the State’s failure to overturn the Respondents ability to terminate, amounted to no more than a determination that the Respondents could employ such a practice if it so desired.
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