Brief Fact Summary. Petitioner Jackson had her electricity service terminated by Respondent Metropolitan Edison Co. for alleged non-payment of her electric bill. Petitioner sued Respondent stating that she was entitled to reasonably continuous service, and should be afforded notice, a hearing and opportunity to pay all amounts due before her electric service is terminated. In her lawsuit Petitioner claims that the action of the Respondent is state action because the power company performs a public function.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Governmental of a private entity that provides a public service does not sufficiently satisfy the required nexus for state action under the Fourteenth Amendment, there must be something more than mere regulation for the actions of a private entity to be attributable to the state.
Issue. Whether there is a sufficiently close nexus between the state and the challenged action of the regulated entity?
Held. No. The State of Pennsylvania is not sufficiently connected with Respondent’s action in terminating Petitioner’s service so as to make Respondent’s conduct attributable to the state for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment. All of Petitioner’s arguments show no more than that Respondent is a highly regulated private utility enjoying at least a partial monopoly in providing electricity service within its territory. Respondent’s action to terminate the electricity service of the Petitioner was done in a manner that the Pennsylvania Utilities Commission found permissible under state law. This is not sufficient to connect the State of Pennsylvania with Respondent’s action as to make the Respondent’s conduct attributable to the state for the purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment.
We cautioned, however, that while a multitude of relationships might appear to some to fall within the Amendment's embrace, differences in circumstances beget differences in law, limiting the actual holding to lessees of public property.View Full Point of Law