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Atlantic City Elec. Co. v. General Elec. Co

Brief Fact Summary. The District Court certified an order that refused to allow the
Defendant, General Elec. Co. (Defendant), a pre-trial leave for discovery to sustain a
defense.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Pre-trial appeal leaves should only be granted when adverse
final trial judgments would not be appealable.


Facts. The Court certified pursuant to Section: 1292(b) an order that sustained objections to the
Defendants’ interrogatories designed to discover whether damages were actually
sustained by the Plaintiff, Atlantic City Elec. Co. (Plaintiff), who may have shifted the
damages to their customers of electricity.

Issue. Whether an Appellate Court should grant a pre-trial leave to appeal issues that are
appealable upon an adverse final judgment.

Held. No. Since the Defendant’s rights to this defense are not being taken away or
prejudiced on any ultimate appeal by denial of the pre-trial appeal now sought, the
Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) believed that the ultimate
disposition of these cases would be delayed rather than advanced by granting this
application. Application denied.


Discussion. Pre-trial leave to appeal applications must be decided against the
background of the entire case. If pre-trial discovery were allowed as to this issue, it could
have developed into many full scale rate cases which would have dwarfed the time and
testimony already put into the pre-trial proceedings.


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