Atlantic Coast Line R.R. v. Florida

In Atlantic Coast Line R.R. v. Florida, 295 U.S. 301, 55 S.Ct. 713, 79 L.Ed. 1451 (1935), recovery was sought of rate increases which the Commission had itself ordered into effect, assertedly to prevent a discrimination against interstate commerce. The Commission's order was judicially reversed for lack of adequate factual findings. The Commission subsequently issued new and more ample findings, re-established exactly the same rates, and was this time upheld in the courts. In these circumstances, the Commission was thought to be "without power to give reparation" for the improperly established rates. 295 U.S. at 312, 55 S.Ct. 713. The ratepayers' only remedy was for restitution, which Justice Cardozo described as follows: A cause of action for restitution is a type of the broader cause of action for money had and received, a remedy which is equitable in origin and function. . . . The claimant to prevail must show that the money was received in such circumstances that the possessor will give offense to equity and good conscience if permitted to retain it. Id. at 309, 55 S.Ct. at 716.