244 U.S. 103 (1917), 237, Nevada-California-Oregon Ry. v. Burrus

Docket Nº:No. 237
Citation:244 U.S. 103, 37 S.Ct. 576, 61 L.Ed. 1019
Party Name:Nevada-California-Oregon Ry. v. Burrus
Case Date:May 21, 1917
Court:United States Supreme Court

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244 U.S. 103 (1917)

37 S.Ct. 576, 61 L.Ed. 1019

Nevada-California-Oregon Ry.



No. 237

United States Supreme Court

May 21, 1917

Submitted April 30, 1917




In an action against a carrier for breach of a contract to furnish an interstate train, the defendant objected when the trial opened that no rate for such trains had been filed with the Intestate Commerce Commission and, while the trial was in progress, offered an amendment

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to the answer setting up this defense. Under the state practice, the defense was not cognizable unless pleaded, and the amendment, not having been suggested until months after the commencement of the action while other defenses had been interposed, was rejected by the state trial court as coming too late, and this ruling was affirmed by the state supreme court as a proper exercise of the trial court's discretion. It being evident that the decision merely enforced the state practice with no purpose to evade the claim of federal right, held that a writ of error from this Court must be dismissed.

In the trial of an action against a carrier upon a contract for interstate transportation, the plaintiff may be entitled to the presumption that the carrier filed such rates as were requisite to sustain the contract, the pleadings being silent on the subject.

Writ of error to review 38 Nev. 156 dismissed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

HOLMES, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE HOLMES delivered the opinion of the court:

This is an action for breach of a contract to furnish plaintiff (defendant in error) a special train to carry him from Reno, Nevada, to Doyle, California, where his son was ill, and to bring the two back from that place. The plaintiff got a judgment, and the only question before us is whether any rights of the defendant under the Act to Regulate Commerce have been infringed. The ground on which such an infraction is alleged is that the trial court, after the trail had been going on for more than a day, refused to allow the answer to be amended so as to set up that no tariff rate for special trains had been filed by the defendant, and that therefore the contract was illegal. The defendant had mentioned the point at the beginning of the trial, but this was the first time that it was presented

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in proper...

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