Interstate Commerce Commission v. Alabama Midland Ry Co, No. 203

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtSHIRAS
Citation168 U.S. 144,18 S.Ct. 45,42 L.Ed. 414
Docket NumberNo. 203
Decision Date08 November 1897
PartiesINTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION v. ALABAMA MIDLAND RY. CO. et al

168 U.S. 144
18 S.Ct. 45
42 L.Ed. 414
INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION

v.

ALABAMA MIDLAND RY. CO. et al.

No. 203.
November 8, 1897.

[Syllabus from pages 144-146 intentionally omitted]

Page 146

On the 27th day of June, 1892, the board of trade of Troy, Ala., filed a complaint before the interstate commerce commission, at Washington, D. C., against the Alabama Midland Railway Company and the Georgia Central Railroad Company and their connections; claiming that, in the rates charged for transportation of property by the railroad companies mentioned, and their connecting lines, there is a discrimination against the town of Troy, in violation of the terms and provisions of the interstate commerce act of congress of 1887.

The general ground of complaint is that, Troy being in active competition for business with Montgomery, the defendant lines of railway unjustly discriminate in their rates against the former, and give the latter an undue preference or advantage, in respect to certain commodities and classes of traffic. The specific charges insisted on at the hearing, and to which the testimony relates, are:

(1) That the Alabama Midland Railway, and the defendant roads, forming lines with it from Baltimore, New York, and the East to Troy and Montgomery, charge and collect a higher rate on shipments of class goods from those cities to Troy than on such shipments through Troy to Montgomery; the latter being the longer-distance point, by 52 miles.

(2) That the Alabama Midland Railway and Georgia Central Railroad and their connections unjustly discriminate against Troy and in favor of Montgomery, in charging and collecting $3.22 per ton to Troy on phosphate rock shipped

Page 147

from the South Carolina and Florida fields, and only $3 per ton on such shipments to Montgomery, the longer-distance point by both of said roads, and that all phosphate rock carried from said fields to Montgomery over the road of the Alabama Midland has to be hauled through Troy.

(3) That the rates on cotton, as established by said two roads and their connections, on shipments to the Atlantic seaports, Brunswick, Savannah, and Charleston, unjustly discriminate against Troy and in favor of Montgomery, in that the rate per 100 ponds from Troy is 47 cents, and that from Montgomery, the longer-distance point, is only 40 cents, and that such shipments from Montgomery over the road of the Alabama Midland have to pass through Troy.

(4) That on shipments for export from Montgomery, and other points within the socalled 'jurisdiction' of the Southern Railway & Steamship Association, to the Atlantic seaports, Brunswick, Savannah, Charleston, West Point, and Norfolk, a lower rate is charged than the regular published tariff rate to such seaports, and that Montgomery and such other points are allowed by the rules of said association to ship through to Liverpool via any of these seaports at the lowest through rates on the day of shipment, which may be less than the sum of the regular published rail rate and the ocean rate via the port of shipment; that this reduction is taken from the published tariff rail rate to the port of shipment; that this privilege being denied to Troy is an unjust discrimination against that town, in favor of Montgomery and such other favored cities; and that it is also a discrimination against shipments which terminate at such seaports, in favor of shipments for export.

(5) That Troy is unjustly discriminated against in being charged on shipments of cotton via Montgomery to New Orleans the full local rate to Montgomery by both the Alabama Midland and Georgia Central.

(6) That the rates on 'class' goods from Western and Northwestern points, established by the defendants forming lines from those points to Troy, are relatively unjust and dis-

Page 148

criminatory, as against Troy, when compared with the rates over such lines to Montgomery and Columbus.

The commission, having heard this complaint on the evidence theretofore taken, ordered, on the 15th day of August, 1893, the roads participating in the traffic involved in this case 'to cease and desist' from charging, demanding, collecting, or receiving any greater compensation in the aggregate for services rendered in such transportation than is specified as follows, to wit:

(1) On class goods shipped from Louisville, Ky., St. Louis, Mo., or Cincinnati, Ohio, to Troy aforesaid, no higher rate of charge than is now charged and collected on such shipments to Columbus, Ga., and Eufaula, Ala.

(2) On shipments of cotton from Troy aforesaid through Montgomery, Ala., to New Orleans, La., no higher rate of charge than 50 cents per 100 pounds.

(3) On shipments of cotton from Troy aforesaid for export through the Atlantic seaports, to wit, Brunswick, Savannah, Charleston, West Point, or Norfolk, no higher rate of charge to these ports than is charged and collected on such shipments from Montgomery aforesaid.

(4) On shipments of cotton from Troy aforesaid to the ports of Bruswick, Savannah, or Charleston, no higher rate of charge than is charged and collected on such shipments from Montgomery aforesaid through Troy to said ports.

(5) On shipments of class goods from New York, Baltimore, or other Northeastern points to Troy aforesaid, no higher rate of charge than is charged and collected on such shipments through Troy to Montgomery aforesaid.

(6) On shipments of phosphate rock from South Carolina and Florida fields to Troy aforesaid, no higher rate of charge than is charged and collected on such shipments through Troy to Montgomery aforesaid.

The defendants having failed to heed these orders, the commission thereupon filed this bill of complaint in the circuit court of the United States for the Middle district of Alabama, in equity, to compel obedience to the same. On the hearing in said court the bill of complaint was dismissed (69 Fed. 227), and

Page 149

complainant, the interstate commerce commission, appealed the cause to the United States circuit court of appeals for the Fifth judicial circuit, at New Orleans, La. And thereupon, in said last-named court, on the 2d day of June, 1896, the decree of the said circuit court of the United States for the Middle district of Alabama was in all things duly affirmed (21 C. C. A. 51, 74 Fed. 715), and from this judgment and decree the appellant has appealed to this court.

Asst. Atty. Gen. E. B. Whitney, L. A. Shaver, and Geo. F. Edmunds, for appellant.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 149-161 intentionally omitted]

Page 161

Ed. Baxter and A. A. Wiley, for appellees.

Mr. Justice SHIRAS, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.

Several of the assignments of error complain of the action of the circuit court of appeals in not rendering a decree for the enforcement of those portions of the order of the interstate commerce commission which prescribed rates to be thereafter charged by the defendant companies for services performed in the transportation of goods.

Discussion of those assignments is rendered unnecessary by the recent decisions of this court wherein it has been held,

Page 162

after elaborate argument, that congress has not conferred upon the interstate commerce commission the legislative power of prescribing rates, either maximum, or minimum, or absolute, and that, as it did not give the express power to the commission, it did not intend to secure the same result indirectly, by empowering that tribunal, after having determined what, in reference to the past, were reasonable and just rates, to obtain from the courts a peremptory order that in the future the railroad companies should follow the rates thus determined to have been in the past reasonable and just. Cincinnati, N. O. & T. P. R. Co. v. Interestate Commerce Commission, 162 U. S. 184, 16 Sup. Ct. 700; Interstate Commerce Commission v. Cincinnati, N. O. & T. P. R. Co., 167 U. S. 479, 17 Sup. Ct. 896.

Errors are likewise assigned to the action of the court in having failed and refused to affirm and enforce the report and opinion of the commission, wherein it was found and decided, among other things, that the defendant common carriers which participate in the transportation of class goods to Troy from Louisville, St. Louis, and Cincinnati, and from New York, Baltimore, and other Northeastern points, and the defendant common carriers which participate in the transportation of phosphate rock from South Carolina and Florida to Troy, and the defendant common carriers which participate in the transportation of cotton from Troy to the ports of New Orleans, Brunswick, Savannah, Charleston, West Point, or Norfolk, as local shipments, or for export, have made greater charges, under substantially similar circumstances and conditions, for the shorter distance to or from Troy than for longer distances over the same lines in the same direction, and have unjustly discriminated in rates against Troy, and subjected said place and dealers and shippers therein to undue and unreasonable prejudice and disadvantage in favor of Montgomery, Eufaula, Columbus, and other places and localities, and dealers and shippers therein, in violation of the provisions of the act to regulate commerce.

Whether competition between lines of transportation to Montgomery, Eufaula, and Columbus justifies the giving to

Page 163

those cities a preference or advantage in rates over Troy, and, if so, whether such a state of facts justifies a departure from equality of rates without authority from the interstate commerce commission, under the proviso to the fourth section of the act, are questions of construction of the statute, and are to be determined before we reach the question of fact in this case.

It is contended in the briefs filed on behalf of the interstate commission that the existence of rival lines of transportation, and consequently of competition for the traffic, and not facts to be considered by the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
104 practice notes
  • Transcontinental Bus System, Inc. v. CAB, No. 22791
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • July 24, 1967
    ...may be considered in determining whether the circumstances and conditions of service were substantially similar.26 ICC v. Alabama M. Ry., 168 U.S. 144, 18 S.Ct. 45, 42 L.Ed. 414 (1897). The Court construed section 2 to apply only to situations where persons utilizing the same route were sub......
  • Texas Ry Co v. United States 11 8212 13, 1932, No. 1
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 29, 1933
    ...or retain the desired traffic for their own lines. Interstate Commerce Comm. v. Alabama Midland Ry. Co. (C.C.A.) 74 F. 715, 723, 724; Id., 168 U.S. 144, 172, 173, 18 S.Ct. 45, 42 L.Ed. 414; Skinner & Eddy Corp. v. United States, 249 U.S. 557, 564, 39 S.Ct. 375, 63 L.Ed. 772; United States v......
  • Wheeler v. Pilgrim's Pride Corp., No. 07-40651.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • December 15, 2009
    ...Baltimore & Ohio R.R. Co., 145 U.S. 263, 276, 12 S.Ct. 844, 36 L.Ed. 699 [(1892)]; Interstate Commerce Comm. v. Alabama Midland Ry. Co., 168 U.S. 144, 164, 18 S.Ct. 45, 42 L.Ed. 414 [(1897)]; Louisville & N.R. Co. v. Behlmer, 175 U.S. 648, 671, 20 S.Ct. 209, 44 L.Ed. 309 [(1900)]; Inter-Mou......
  • St Louis Fallon Ry Co v. United States United States v. St Louis Fallon Ry Co, Nos. 131
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 20, 1929
    ...v. Interstate Commerce Commission, 162 U. S. 197, 16 S. Ct. 666, 40 L. Ed. 940; Interstate Commerce Commission v. Alabama Midland R. Co., 168 U. S. 144, 18 S. Ct. 45, 42 L. Ed. 141; Interstate Commerce Commission v. Northern Pacific R. Co., 216 U. S. 538, 30 S. Ct. 417, 54 L. Ed. 608. 7 See......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
104 cases
  • Transcontinental Bus System, Inc. v. CAB, No. 22791
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • July 24, 1967
    ...may be considered in determining whether the circumstances and conditions of service were substantially similar.26 ICC v. Alabama M. Ry., 168 U.S. 144, 18 S.Ct. 45, 42 L.Ed. 414 (1897). The Court construed section 2 to apply only to situations where persons utilizing the same route were sub......
  • Texas Ry Co v. United States 11 8212 13, 1932, No. 1
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 29, 1933
    ...or retain the desired traffic for their own lines. Interstate Commerce Comm. v. Alabama Midland Ry. Co. (C.C.A.) 74 F. 715, 723, 724; Id., 168 U.S. 144, 172, 173, 18 S.Ct. 45, 42 L.Ed. 414; Skinner & Eddy Corp. v. United States, 249 U.S. 557, 564, 39 S.Ct. 375, 63 L.Ed. 772; United States v......
  • Wheeler v. Pilgrim's Pride Corp., No. 07-40651.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • December 15, 2009
    ...Baltimore & Ohio R.R. Co., 145 U.S. 263, 276, 12 S.Ct. 844, 36 L.Ed. 699 [(1892)]; Interstate Commerce Comm. v. Alabama Midland Ry. Co., 168 U.S. 144, 164, 18 S.Ct. 45, 42 L.Ed. 414 [(1897)]; Louisville & N.R. Co. v. Behlmer, 175 U.S. 648, 671, 20 S.Ct. 209, 44 L.Ed. 309 [(1900)]; Inter-Mou......
  • St Louis Fallon Ry Co v. United States United States v. St Louis Fallon Ry Co, Nos. 131
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 20, 1929
    ...v. Interstate Commerce Commission, 162 U. S. 197, 16 S. Ct. 666, 40 L. Ed. 940; Interstate Commerce Commission v. Alabama Midland R. Co., 168 U. S. 144, 18 S. Ct. 45, 42 L. Ed. 141; Interstate Commerce Commission v. Northern Pacific R. Co., 216 U. S. 538, 30 S. Ct. 417, 54 L. Ed. 608. 7 See......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT