262 U.S. 312 (2018), 270, Davis v. Farmers Cooperative Equity Company

Docket Nº:No. 270
Citation:262 U.S. 312, 43 S.Ct. 556, 67 L.Ed. 996
Party Name:Davis v. Farmers Cooperative Equity Company
Case Date:May 21, 1923
Court:United States Supreme Court

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262 U.S. 312 (2018)

43 S.Ct. 556, 67 L.Ed. 996



Farmers Cooperative Equity Company

No. 270

United States Supreme Court

May 21, 1923




1. Solicitation of traffic by railroads in states remote from their lines is part of the business of interstate transportation. P. 315.

2. A state statute which provides that any foreign corporation having an agent in the state for the solicitation of freight and passenger traffic over lines outside the state may be served with summons by delivering a copy thereof to such agent imposes an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce, and is void under the

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Commerce Clause, as applied to an action brought against a railroad company which neither owns nor operates a railroad within the state by a plaintiff who does not and did not reside there, upon a cause of action which arose elsewhere out of a transaction entered into elsewhere. Laws Minnesota, 1913, c. 218. P. 315. Missouri, Kansas & Texas Ry. Co. v. Reynolds, 255 U.S. 565, and St. Louis Southwestern Ry. Co. v. Alexander, 227 U.S. 218, distinguished.

3. The Court notices judicially the large volume and importance of litigation against interstate carriers on personal injury and freight claims, and the heavy expense and impairment of the carriers' efficiency entailed when the litigation is in jurisdictions remote from where the cause of action arose; also that the burden imposed on such carriers by the Minnesota statute here involved (supra) is heavy, and that the resulting obstruction to interstate commerce must be serious. P. 315.

4. Avoidance of waste in interstate transportation, as well as maintenance of service, has become a direct concern of the public. P. 317.

150 Minn. 534 reversed.

Error to a judgment of the Supreme Court of Minnesota affirming a judgment for damages for loss of grain shipped between two points in Kansas.

BRANDEIS, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE BRANDEIS delivered the opinion of the Court.

A statute of Minnesota (Laws 1913, c. 218, p. 274; General Statutes 1913, § 7735) provides that:

Any foreign corporation having an agent in this state for the solicitation of freight and passenger traffic or either thereof over its lines outside of this state, may be served

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with summons by delivering a copy thereof to such agent.

Whether this statute, as construed and applied, violates the federal Constitution is the only question for decision.

The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company is a Kansas corporation engaged in interstate transportation. It does not own or operate any railroad in Minnesota, but it maintains there an agent for solicitation of traffic. In April, 1920, suit was brought by another Kansas corporation in a court of Minnesota against the Director General of Railroads, as agent, on a cause of action arising under federal control. Service was made pursuant to the Minnesota statute.1 The recovery sought was for loss of grain shipped under a bill of lading issued by the carrier in Kansas for transportation over its line from one point in that state to another. So far as appears, the transaction was in no way connected with Minnesota or with the soliciting agency located there. Defendant appeared specially, claimed that, as to it, the statute authorizing service violated the due process and equal protection...

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