RESPONDENT:Impac Limited, Inc.
DOCKET NO.: 76-674
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: Tennessee Supreme Court
CITATION: 432 US 312 (1977)
ARGUED: Apr 26, 1977
DECIDED: Jun 17, 1977
Gail P. Pigg – for respondents
Thomas P. Kanaday, Jr. – for petitioner
Media for Third National Bank in Nashville v. Impac Limited, Inc.
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – June 17, 1977 in Third National Bank in Nashville v. Impac Limited, Inc.
Warren E. Burger:
The judgment and opinion of the Court in Number 76-674, Third National Bank against Impac Limited will be announced by Mr. Justice Stevens.
John Paul Stevens:
This case arises out of an attempt by petitioner, a national bank in Nashville, Tennessee to foreclose a mortgage on property owned by respondent.
Respondent contends that the mortgage is not in default and therefore brought suit in a Tennessee court to enjoin the foreclosure.
In preliminary proceedings, the trial judge concluded that there was a bona fide dispute over the default issue and that a wrongful foreclosure would cause irreparable harm to respondent.
He concluded, however, that a federal statute enacted in 1873 deprived him of power to enter an injunction against the national bank in advance of final judgment, even though such relief would have been appropriate against the state bank.
The Tennessee Supreme Court reversed.
It held that the federal statute was intended to protect the bank and its creditors from the issuance of certain prejudgment writs but it did not apply to a bank’s attempt to acquire property from one of its debtors by foreclosing a mortgage.
We granted certiorari.
In an opinion filed with the clerk, we review the early history of this statute, the three cases in which this Court has previously construed it and conclude that the judgment of the Tennessee Supreme Court should be affirmed.
Mr. Justice Blackmun has filed a dissenting opinion in which the Chief Justice and Mr. Justice White have joined.