Co v. Railroad Commission of Louisiana, BROOKS-SCANLON

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Citation64 L.Ed. 323,40 S.Ct. 183,251 U.S. 396
Docket NumberBROOKS-SCANLON,No. 386,386
Decision Date02 February 1920

251 U.S. 396
40 S.Ct. 183
64 L.Ed. 323



No. 386.
Argued Jan. 6, 1920.
Decided Feb. 2, 1920.

Messrs. J. Blanc Monroe, of New Orleans, La., Robert R. Reid, of Hammond, La., and Monte M. Lemann, of New Orleans, La., for petitioner.

Mr. Wylie M. Barrow, of Baton Rouge, La., for respondent.

Page 397

Mr. Justice HOLMES delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a suit by the Brooks-Scanlon Company, a Minnesota corporation organized to manufacture and deal in lumber and to carry on other incidental business, against the Railroad Commission of Louisiana. It seeks to set aside an order (Number 2228) of the Commission requiring the plaintiff either directly or through arrangements made with the Kentwood and Eastern Railway Company, to operate its narrow gauge railroad between Kentwood and Hackley in Louisiana upon schedules and days to be approved by the Commission. The plaintiff alleges that the order cannot be complied with except at a loss of more than $1,500 a month, and that to compel compliance would deprive the plaintiff of its property without due process of law, contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, with other objections not necessary to be mentioned here. The defendant denies the plaintiff's allegations and in reconvention prays for an injunction against the tearing up or abandoning of the road and for a mandate upholding the order. In the Court of first instance a preliminary injunction was issued in favor of the Commission, but was dissolved upon bond. Subsequently a judgment was entered denying a motion of the Commission to set aside the order dissolving the injunction, and after a trial on the merits judgment was entered for the plaintiff, declaring the order void. The defendant appealed from both judgments to the Supreme Court of the State. That Court reversed the decision below and reinstated the injunction granted on the defendant's prayer.

Page 398

It seems that the Banner Lumber Company, a Louisiana corporation, formerly owned timber lands, sawmills and this narrow gauge railroad. The road was primarily a logging road but it may be assumed to have done business for third persons as a common carrier. The Banner Lumber Company sold the whole property to the Brooks-Scanlon Lumber Company on November 1, 1905, the stockholders of which obtained a charter for the railroad as the Kentwood and Eastern Railway Company on December 5 of the same year. In the interim it was managed by them with separate accounts. An oral lease of the road was made to the new company and soon afterwards the Brooks-Scanlon Lumber Company transferred its property to the Brooks-Scanlon Company, the plaintiff in error. On the first of July, 1906, the Brooks-Scanlon Company made a written lease of the road to the Railway Company and sold to it all the...

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