Allen v. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad

In Allen v. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, 114 U.S. 311 (1884), Allen was auditor of public accounts of Virginia, and Hamilton, treasurer of Augusta County, in that State. The auditor had assessed certain railroads upon their real estate, not having any rolling stock, as being in default for non-payment of taxes assessed by the board of public works, and had placed copies of the assessment in the hands of the defendant Hamilton, as treasurer of Augusta County, for collection, in pursuance of which he had levied upon certain cars and locomotives belonging to complainant, and used by it in operating said railroads as lessee, for part of the taxes, and threatened to make further levy upon other cars and engines and sell them for payment of said taxes; and the bill prayed for an injunction on the several grounds of irreparable damage, avoidance of multiplicity of suits, removal of cloud upon title, etc. It was admitted in the case that if the property of the complainant levied on should be sold, great sacrifice and loss must result therefrom, and that the withdrawal of the rolling stock and machinery proposed to be sold would cause serious and prolonged embarrassment to complainant's business; that much delay must accrue before said rolling stock and machinery, if sold, could be replaced; and that it would be difficult, if not impracticable, to ascertain and estimate with even proximate certainty the losses and damages which would result to complainant from the sale, so that although the estate of Hamilton might be sufficient to meet any verdict for damages if the sale should be adjudged to be illegal, the pecuniary value of complainant's losses and damages could not be properly and adequately ascertained and fixed by the verdict of a jury. This admission made a case of irreparable injury.