122 S.W.2d 890
L.W. BALDWIN and GUY A. THOMPSON, as Trustees of the MISSOURI PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY, a Corporation, Appellants,
SCOTT COUNTY MILLING COMPANY, a Corporation.
Supreme Court of Missouri.
Division One, December 20, 1938.
[122 S.W.2d 892]
Appeal from Scott Circuit Court. — Hon. Frank Kelly, Judge.
Thomas J. Cole, Dearmont, Spradling & Dalton and H.H. Larimore for appellants.
(1) Appellants' right to maintain this action is not barred by the Missouri five-year Statute of Limitations. State ex rel. v. Logan, 195 Mo. App. 171; State ex rel. v. Stonestreet, 92 Mo. App. 214; Schrabauer v. Schneider, 224 Mo. App. 312. (2) The amount sued for was paid under duress and may be recovered back. 21 R.C.L., p. 146; Ill. Glass Co. v. Chicago Tel. Co., 85 N.E. 200; Cleaveland v. Richardson, 132 U.S. 418; David City First Natl. Bank v. Sargeant, 91 N.W. 595; Guetzkow Bros. Co. v. Breeze, 72 N.W. 45; Sec. 16, Interstate Commerce Act (U.S. Code, Title 49, Sec. 16); South Carolina Asparagus Assn. v. So. Ry., 64 Fed. (2d) 419; Mitchell Coal & Coke Co. v. Penn. Ry. Co., 230 U.S. 258; United States v. L. & N. Ry. Co., 235 U.S. 314; P. Ry. Co. v. International Coal Co., 230 U.S. 185; Virginian Ry. Co. v. United States, 272 U.S. 659; Texas & Pac. Ry. Co. v. Abilene Cotton Oil Co., 204 U.S. 440; St. L. & S.F. Ry. v. Spiller, 275 U.S. 159; Glens Falls Portland C. Co. v. Delaware & Hudson Co., 66 Fed. (2d) 493; Atchison, etc., Ry. Co. v. O'Connor, 223 U.S. 280; Hillsdale Coal & Coke Co. v. P. Ry. Co., 237 Fed. 272; Fidelity Lbr. Co. v. Great N. Ry. Co., 193 Fed. 224. (3) Whether or not a rate charged by a railroad company is reasonable or unreasonable is a question of fact. Kansas City Hay Dealers Assn. v. Mo. Pac. Ry. Co., 14 I.C.C. 597; Union Tanning Co. v. So. Ry. Co., 26 I.C.C. 159; Wisconsin Steel Co. v. Pittsburg & L.E. Ry. Co., 27 I.C.C. 152; Topeka Traffic Assn. v. A. & V. Ry. Co., 27 I.C.C. 428; Curry & Whyte Co. v. D. & I.R. Ry. Co., 30 I.C.C. 1; Pressed Steel Car Co. v. Director General, 109 I.C.C. 75, 157 I.C.C. 623; Texas & Pac. Ry. v. I.C.C., 162 U.S. 238; Northern Pac. Ry. Co. v. Solum, 247 U.S. 483; South Carolina Asparagus Assn. v. So. Ry. Co., 64 Fed. (2d) 421; Ill. Cen. Ry. Co. v. I.C.C., 206 U.S. 441, 51 L. Ed. 1128, 27 Sup. Ct. 700; Penn. Ry. Co. v. International Coal Mining Co., 230 U.S. 184, 57 L. Ed. 1446, 33 Sup. Ct. 893. (4) The amount sued for was paid under a mutual mistake of fact and money so paid can be recovered back in an action at law for money had and received. Bank of Ethel v. Colmen, 290 S.W. 1022; Picotte v. Mills, 200 Mo. App. 127; Miller v. Fire Brick Co., 139 Mo. App. 25; Bone v. Friday, 180 Mo. App. 577; Norton v. Bohart, 105 Mo. App. 615; Mo. Pac. Ry. Co. v. Askew Saddlery Co., 215 Mo. App. 277; Jones v. Miners' & Merchants Bank, 144 Mo. App. 428. (5) Respondent has received money which is the property of the appellants and which, in equity and good conscience, it should pay to appellants. Warren v. Ry. Conductors of America, 199 Mo. App. 200; Teasdale v. Stroller, 133 Mo. 645 Bull v. United States, 295 U.S. 247. (6) Any decision made on order entered by the Interstate Commerce Commission may be reopened or vacated by that body at any time. Douglas & Co. v. C.R.I. & P. Ry. Co., 21 I.C.C. 541; Lignite Coal from North Dakota, 126 I.C.C. 243; Creomulsion Co., Inc., v. So. Ry. Co., 185 I.C.C. 727; Tompkins-Kiel Marble Co. v. Lehigh Valley Ry. Co. 191 I.C.C. 356; Louisville & N. Ry. Co. v. Sloss-Sheffield, 295 Fed. 53, 269 U.S. 217. (7) The action is one for money had and received and not for the recovery of freight charges. Michigan Cen. Ry. Co. v. Partridge Lbr. Co., 17 Fed. (2d) 657; Partridg Lbr. Co. v. Michigan Cen. Ry. Co., 26 Fed. (2d) 615; Galveston H. & S.A. Ry. Co. v. Lykes Bros., 294 Fed. 968. (8) It is in defense that the money sued for has been spent. Picotte v. Mills 200 Mo. App. 127; Moors v. Bird, 77 N.E. 643; 30 Cyc. 1321; Koontz v. Cen. Natl. Bank, 51 Mo. 275.
Bailey & Bailey and Finch & Finch for respondent.
(1) Plaintiffs having failed to institute their action within five years from the date their cause of action accrued, to-wit, the date of the alleged payment to defendant, the five-year Statute of Limitations is a complete bar to plaintiffs' cause of action. Secs. 860, 862, R.S. 1929; Garrett v. Conklin, 52 Mo. App. 654; Leather Mfgrs. Natl. Bank v. Merchants Natl. Bank, 128 U.S. 26, 32 L. Ed. 342. (2) One who voluntarily pays money, with full knowledge of all the facts, in the absence of fraud or duress, cannot recover it back although the payment is made without sufficient consideration and under protest. State to the use of Gibson v. Myers, 9 Mo. App. 44; State ex rel. Sanborn v. Stonestreet, 92 Mo. App. 214; Rhodes v. Dickerson, 95 Mo. App. 395; Pritchard v. Peoples Bank of Holcomb, 198 Mo. App. 597, 200 S.W. 665; Home Coal Co. v. Macon, 216 Mo. App. 590, 262 S.W. 59; Claflin v. McDonough, 33 Mo. 412; Irving v. St. Louis County, 33 Mo. 575; Ferguson v. Butler County, 297 Mo. 20, 247 S.W. 795; Columbia B. & L. Assn. v. Gill, 285 S.W. 181; Wilkins v. Bell's Estate, 261 S.W. 927; Warren v. Order of Ry. Conductors, 201 S.W. 368; Jacobs Banking Co. v. Federal Reserve Bank, 34 S.W. (2d) 173; Natl. Enameling & Stamping Co. v. St. Louis, 40 S.W. (2d) 593; State v. Perlstein, 79 S.W. (2d) 143; Maxwell v. Provident Mut. Life Ins. Co., 41 Pac. (2d) 147; Friedline v. Somerset Borough, 173 Atl. 434; Meyer v. Rosenblatt & Co., 229 N.W. 771; Richardson Lubricating Co. v. Kinney, 168 N.E. 886; State v. Canfield Oil Co., 171 N.E. 111; Whitall v. Borough of Vineland, 131 Atl. 65; Campbell v. Rainey, 16 Pac. (2d) 310; 21 R.C.L., pp. 141-143; Miller v. Fire Brick Co., 139 Mo. App. 25. (a) A payment is voluntary unless made under immediate necessity to redeem or preserve one's person or goods. Wolfe v. Marshall, 52 Mo. 167; Claflin v. McDonough, 33 Mo. 412; Irving v. St. Louis County, 33 Mo. 575; State ex rel. Sanborn v. Stonestreet, 92 Mo. App. 214; State v. Canfield Oil Co., 171 N.E. 111; In re Meyers, 106 Fed. 828; Koewing v. West Orange, 99 Atl. 203; Meyers v. City of Calipatria, 35 Pac. (2d) 377. (b) A threat to sue does not constitute duress. Slover v. Rock, 96 Mo. App. 335; Pritchard v. Peoples Bank of Holcomb, 198 Mo. App. 597, 200 S.W. 665. (c) A payment made to avoid penalties does not make the same involuntary. Richardson Lubricating Co. v. Kinney, 168 N.E. 886. (d) A payment made under a mistake of law cannot be recovered back. Needles v. Burk, 81 Mo. 569; Mo. Lincoln Trust Co. v. Third Natl. Bank, 154 Mo. App. 89; Home Coal Co. v. Macon, 216 Mo. App. 590, 262 S.W. 59; Wilkins v. Bell's Estate, 261 S.W. 927; Columbia B. & L. Assn. v. Gill, 285 S.W. 181; Lamar Township v. Lamar, 169 S.W. 12; 48 C.J. 755, sec. 312. (3) The order of the Interstate Commerce Commission awarding reparation was not self-enforcing; was not a judgment, but only a rule of evidence, and if the railroad company did not voluntarily comply with the finding of the Commission, defendant's sole remedy was a suit for damage in a court of competent jurisdiction, in which action the railroad company could contest defendant's claim for damage, and the order of the Commission cut off none of its defenses and took no question of fact from either the court or the jury. Title 49, U.S.C.A., Sec. 16; Meeker v. Lehigh Valley Ry. Co., 236 U.S. 412, 59 L. Ed. 644; Lewis-Simas-Jones Co. v. So. Ry. Co., 283 U.S. 654, 75 L. Ed. 1333; Western N.Y. & P. Ry. Co. v. Penn. Refining Co., 137 Fed. 343; Mills v. Lehigh Valley Ry. Co., 238 U.S. 473; 59 L. Ed. 1414; Pa. Ry. Co. v. Jacoby & Co., 242 U.S. 89, 61 L. Ed. 165; Mitchell Coal & Coke Co. v. Pa. Ry. Co., 230 U.S. 247, 57 L. Ed. 1472; Blair v. Cleveland, C., C. & St. L. Ry. Co., 45 Fed. (2d) 792; Kanawha Black Band Coal Co. v. C. & O. Ry. Co., 148 S.E. 855; Krauss Bros. Lbr. Co. v. Mellon, 18 Fed. (2d) 369; Watkins on Shippers & Carriers (4 Ed.), sec. 379; M.K. & T. Ry. Co. v. I.C., 164 Fed. 645; Southern Ry. Co. v. Eichler, 56 Fed. (2d) 1010. (4) Where a carrier fails to pay reparation as ordered by the Interstate Commerce Commission the shipper has a cause of action for damages and not a suit on the award; and in a trial of such suit for damages, if filed in the United States District Court, the order of the Interstate Commerce Commission is admissible in evidence and makes a prima facie case for the shipper, but does not deprive the carrier of any of its defenses. Title 49, U.S.C.A., Sec. 16; Meeker v. Lehigh Valley Ry. Co., 236 U.S. 412, 59 L. Ed. 644; Lewis-Simas-Jones Co. v. So. Ry. Co., 283 U.S. 654, 75 L. Ed. 1333; Western N.Y. & P. Ry. Co. v. Penn. Refining Co., 137 Fed. 343; Mills v. Lehigh Valley Ry. Co., 238 U.S. 473, 59 L. Ed. 1414; Pa. Ry. Co. v. Jacoby & Co., 242 U.S. 89, 61 L. Ed. 165; Mitchell Coal & Coke Co. v. Pa. Ry. Co., 230 U.S. 247, 57 L. Ed. 1472; Blair v. Cleveland, C.C. & St. L. Ry. Co., 45 Fed. (2d) 792; Kanawaha Black Band Coal Co. v. C. & O. Ry. Co., 148 S.E. 855; Krauss Bros. Lbr. Co. v. Mellon, 18 Fed. (2d) 369; Watkins on Shippers & Carriers (4 Ed.), sec. 379. (5) There is a conflict of authority as to whether or not the reasonableness or unreasonableness of a rate assailed can be inquired into in a suit for damages wherein the Commission has ordered the payment of reparation. (a) The cases holding the rates may be inquired into are: Western N.Y. & P. Ry. Co. v. Penn. Refining Co., 137 Fed. 343. (6) A suit for money had and received is one of equitable origin and plaintiffs can recover only when it would be inequitable for defendant to retain the money. Pipkin v. Natl. Loan & Inv. Co., 80 Mo. App. 1; Stout v. Caruthersville Hardware Co., 131 Mo. App. 520; Early v. A.T. & S.F. Ry. Co., 167 Mo. App. 252; Henderson v. Koenig, 192 Mo. 690; Holland...