363 U.S. 202 (1960), 451, Pennsylvania Railroad Co. v. United States

Docket Nº:No. 451
Citation:363 U.S. 202, 80 S.Ct. 1131, 4 L.Ed.2d 1165
Party Name:Pennsylvania Railroad Co. v. United States
Case Date:June 13, 1960
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 202

363 U.S. 202 (1960)

80 S.Ct. 1131, 4 L.Ed.2d 1165

Pennsylvania Railroad Co.

v.

United States

No. 451

United States Supreme Court

June 13, 1960

Argued May 17, 1960

CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF CLAIMS

Syllabus

A railroad sued in the Court of Claims to recover from the United States the difference between its "domestic rates" and its "export rates" on certain shipments of iron and steel intended for export but which actually were not exported because of war conditions. The Court of Claims suspended proceedings to enable the parties to have the Interstate Commerce Commission pass on the reasonableness of the rates. After hearings, the Commission found and reported that the domestic rates were "unjust and unreasonable" as to 62 of the shipments but "just and reasonable" as to 13 of them. The railroad then invoked the jurisdiction of a Federal District Court under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1336, 1398 and 49 U.S.C. § 17(9) to enjoin and set aside the Commission's order, and it moved that the Court of Claims stay its proceedings until the District Court could pass upon the validity of the order.

Held: the railroad was entitled to have the Commission's order judicially reviewed; only the District Court had jurisdiction to review it; and the Court of Claims should have stayed its proceedings pending review of the Commission's order by the District Court. Pp. 202-206.

Reversed.

BLACK, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE BLACK delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case involves the power of District Courts to review Interstate Commerce Commission orders determining the reasonableness of rates.

Page 203

In 1941 and 1942, the United States made 75 shipments of iron and steel over the Pennsylvania Railroad intended for export from the port of New York to Great Britain. War conditions prevented exportation from New York. This caused a dispute about applicable transportation charges, since the Pennsylvania had in effect tariffs for "domestic rates" that were higher than "export rates." Since the goods were not exported as planned, the Railroad billed the United States for the higher domestic rates, which the Government paid because required to do so by § 322 of the Transportation Act of 1940, 54 Stat. 955, 49 U.S.C. § 66. Later, under authority of the same section, the General Accounting Office deducted from other bills due the Railroad the difference between the higher and lower rates, claiming that the higher domestic rates were inapplicable, unreasonable and unlawful. The Railroad then brought this action in the Court of Claims to recover the amount deducted.

Properly relying on our holding in United States v. Western Pacific R. Co., 352 U.S. 59, 62-70, the Court of Claims suspended proceedings to enable the parties to have the Interstate Commerce Commission pass on the reasonableness of the rates. After hearings, the Commission found and reported that the domestic rates were "unjust and unreasonable" as to 62 of the shipments, but "just and reasonable" as to 13. 305 I.C.C. 259, 265. The Railroad then took two steps to challenge that part of the order adverse to it: (1) it invoked the jurisdiction of a United States District Court in Pennsylvania under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1336, 1398, and 49 U.S.C. § 17(9), to enjoin and set aside the order; and (2) it moved that the Court of...

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