Brief Fact Summary. The Petitioner, Jackson (Petition), claims there was sufficient state action to sue the Respondent, Metropolitan Edison (Respondent), an electricity company, who terminated her electricity without notice or a hearing as the electricity company was heavily regulated by the state.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Termination of services to a customer without notice or hearing by a utility company under heavy state regulation does not constitute state action.
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
Issue. Whether the heavy regulation of a utility company by the State constitutes significant state action thereby allowing an action under the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
Held. Affirmed. The state regulation of a utility company does not constitute significant state action thereby permitting an action under the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
Dissent. The State has given its approval to the Respondent’s termination procedures by approving a provision under which the company reserved the right to discontinue its service on reasonable notice for nonpayment of bills.
Discussion. State action is a prerequisite to the assertion of rights contained in the first eight amendments of the Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. State action will be found when a private actor has acted if (1) the state has delegated a traditional state function to a private entity or (2) because the state has become entangled with a private entity or because the state has approved, encouraged or facilitated private conduct.