Keogh v. Chicago Ry Co

Citation43 S.Ct. 47,260 U.S. 156,67 L.Ed. 183
Decision Date13 November 1922
Docket NumberNo. 51,51
PartiesKEOGH v. CHICAGO & N. W. RY. CO. et al
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

Mr. H. P. Young, of Chicago, Ill., for plaintiff in error.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 157-159 intentionally omitted] Mr. R. Bruce Scott, of Chicago, Ill., for defendants in error.

Mr. Justice BRANDEIS delivered the opinion of the court.

This action, under section 7 of the Anti-Trust Act of July 2, 1890, c. 647, 26 Stat. 209 (Comp. St. § 8829), was brought by Keogh in the federal District Court for Northern Illinois, Eastern Division, in November, 1914. Eight railroad companies and twelve individuals were made defendants. The case was heard upon demurrer to a special plea; the demurrer was overruled; Judgment was entered for defendants, plaintiff electing to stand upon his demurrer; and this judgment was affirmed by the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. 271 Fed. 444. The case is here on writ of error.

The cause of action set forth was this: Keogh is a manufacturer of excelsior and flax tow at St. Paul, Minn. The defendant corporations are interstate carriers engaged in transporting freight from St. Paul to points in other states. Prior to September 1, 1912, these carriers formed an association known as the Western Trunk Line Committee. The individual defendants are officers and agents of the carriers and represent them in that committee. It is a function of the committee to secure agreement in respect to freight rates among the constituent railroad companies, which would otherwise be competing carriers. By means of such agreement, competition as to interstate rates from St. Paul on excelsior and tow was eliminated, uniform rates were established, and interstate commerce was restrained. The uniform rates so established were arbitrary and unreasonable; they were higher than those theretofore charged; and they were higher than the rates would have been, if competition had not been thus eliminated. Through this agreement for uniform rates Keogh was damaged. The declaration contains a schedule of the amounts paid by him in excess of those which would have been paid under rates prevailing before September 1, 1912, and which, but for the conspiracy, would have remained in effect. He claims damages to the extent of this difference in rates. He also alleges as an item of damages that the increase in freight rates lessened the value of his St. Paul factory through loss of profits.

Defendants set up the fact that every rate complained of had been duly filed by the several carriers with the Interstate Commerce Commission; that upon such filing the rates had been suspended for investigation, upon complaint of Keogh, pursuant to the Act to Regulate Commerce of February 4, 1887, c. 104, § 15, 24 Stat. 379, 384, as amended (Comp. St. § 8583); that after extensive hearings, in which Keogh participated, the rates were approved by the Commission; and that they were not made effective until after they had been so approved. The character of the proceedings before the Commission was more fully shown by reference to Keogh v. Chicago, Burlington & Quincy R. Co., 24 Interst. Com. Com'n R. 606; also Rates on Excelsior and Flax Tow from St. Paul, Minn., 26 Interest. Com. Com'n R. 689; Rates on Excelsior and Flax Tow from St. Paul, Minn., 29 Interst. Com. Com'n R. 640; Morris, Johnson, Brown, Manufacturing Co. v. Illinois Central R. Co., 30 Interest. Com. Com'n R. 443; The Excelsior and Flax Tow Cases, 36 Interst. Com. Com'n R. 349.

The case is presented on these pleadings. Whether there is a cause of action under section 7 of the Anti-Trust Act is the sole question for decision. Keogh contends that his rights are not limited to he protection against unreasonably high or discriminatory rates affored him by the Act to Regulate Commerce; that under the Anti-Trust Act he was entitled to the benefit of competitive rates; that the elimination of competition caused the increase in his rates; and that, as he has been damaged thereby, he is entitled to recover. The instrument by which Keogh is alleged to have been damaged are rates approved by the Commission. It is, however, conceivable that, but for the action of the Western Trunk Line Committee, one or more of these railrads would have maintained lower rates. Rates somewhat lower might also have been reasonable. Moreover, railroads had often, in the fierce struggle for business, established unremunerative rates. Since the case arose prior to Transportation Act of February 28, 1920, c. 91, § 418, 41 Stat. 474, 485, the carriers were at liberty to establish or maintain even unreasonably low rates, provided they were not discriminatory. Compare Interstate Commerce Commission v. Baltimore & Ohio R. Co., 145 U. S. 263, 277, 12 Sup. Ct. 844, 36 L. Ed. 699; Skinner & Eddy Corporation v. United States, 249 U. S. 557, 565, 39 Sup. Ct. 375, 63 L. Ed. 772.

All the rates fixed were reasonable and nondiscriminatory. That was settled by the proceedings before the Commission. Los Angles Switching Case, 234 U. S. 294, 34 Sup. Ct. 814, 58 L. Ed. 1319. But under the Anti-Trust Act a combination of carriers to fix reasonable and nondiscriminatory rates may be illegal; and, if so, the government may have redress by criminal proceedings under section 3 (Comp. St. § 8822), by injunction under section 4 (Comp. St. § 8823), and by forfeiture under section 6 (Comp. St. § 8828). That was settled by United States v. Trans-Missouri Freight Association, 166 U. S. 290, 17 Sup. Ct. 540, 41 L. Ed. 1007, and United States v. Joint Traffic Association, 171 U. S. 505, 19 Sup. Ct. 25, 43 L. Ed. 259. The fact that these rates had been approved by the Commission would not, it seems, bar proceedings by the government. It does not, however, follow that Keogh, a private shipper, may recover damages under section 7 because he lost the benefit of rates still lower, which, but for the conspiracy, he would have enjoyed. There are several reasons why he cannot.

A rate is not necessarily illegal because it is the result of a conspiracy in restraint of trade in violation of the Anti-Trust Act. What rates are legal is determined by the Act to Regulate Commerce. Under section 8 of the latter act (Comp. St. § 8572) the exaction of any illegal rate makes the carrier liable to the 'persons injured thereby for the full amount of damages sustained in consequence of any such violation,' together with a reasonable attorney's fee. Sections 9 and 16 (Comp. St. §§ 8573, 8584) provide for the recovery of such damages either by complaint before the Commission or by an action in a federal court. If the conspiracy here complained of had resulted in rates which the Commission found to be illegal because unreasonably high or discriminatory, the full amount of the damages sustained, whatever their nature, would have been recoverable in such proceedings. Louisville & Nashville R. Co. v. Ohio Valley Tie Co., 242 U. S. 288, 37 Sup. Ct. 120, 61 L. Ed. 305. Can it be that Congress intended to provide the shipper, from whom illegal rates have been exacted, with an additional remedy under the Anti-Trust Act? See Meeker v. Lehigh Valley R. Co. (C. C.) 162 Fed. 354. And if no remedy under the Anti-Trust Law is given where the injury results from the fixing of rates which are illegal, because too high or discriminatory, may it be assumed that Congress intended to give such a remedy where, as here, the rates complained of have been found by the Commission to be legal and while in force had to be collected by the carrier?

Section 7 of the Anti-Trust Act gives a right of action to one who has been 'injured in his business or property.' Injury implies violation of a legal right. The legal rights of shipper as against carrier in respect to a rate are measured by the published tariff. Unless and until suspended or set aside, this rate is made, for all purposes, the legal rate, as between carrier and shipper. The rights as defined by the tariff cannot be varied or enlarged by either contract or tort of the carrier. Texas & Pacific R. Co. v. Mugg, 202 U. S. 242, 26 Sup. Ct. 628, 50 L. Ed. 1011; Louisville & Nashville R. Co. v. Maxwell, 237 U. S. 94, 35 Sup. Ct. 494, 59 L. Ed. 853, L. R. A. 1915E, 665; Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry....

To continue reading

Request your trial
535 cases
  • In Re Title Insurance Antitrust Cases.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Ohio
    • March 31, 2010
    ...The filed rate doctrine made its first substantial appearance in an antitrust context in 1922, in Keogh v. Chicago & Northwestern R. Co., 260 U.S. 156, 43 S.Ct. 47, 67 L.Ed. 183 (1922). In Keogh , the Supreme Court held that a private shipper could not maintain a cause of action against an......
  • Consolidated Exp., Inc. v. New York Shipping, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of New Jersey
    • May 11, 1978 his business or property." "Injury" within this section implies violation of a legal right. Keogh v. Chicago & Northwestern Ry. Co., 260 U.S. 156, 163, 43 S.Ct. 47, 67 L.Ed. 183 (1922). And the courts in adjudicating antitrust claims have consistently inquired whether plaintiff's "busine......
  • Hoffman v. Northern States Power Co., No. A06-2275.
    • United States
    • Minnesota Supreme Court
    • April 16, 2009
    ...The United States Supreme Court provided one of the earliest articulations of the filed rate doctrine in Keogh v. Chicago & N.W. Ry. Co., 260 U.S. 156, 43 S.Ct. 47, 67 L.Ed. 183 (1922). The Keogh Court determined that the federal courts did not have jurisdiction to adjudicate an antitrust c......
  • SUN CITY TAXPAYERS'ASS'N v. Citizens Utilities Co.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Connecticut
    • February 1, 1994
    ...because the plaintiff cannot be said to have suffered an injury to its business or property. In Keogh v. Chicago & Northwestern Ry. Co., 260 U.S. 156, 43 S.Ct. 47, 67 L.Ed. 183 (1922),7 Justice Brandeis enunciated the filed rate doctrine, which prevents a ratepayer from challenging the rate......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 firm's commentaries
  • HASSETT'S OBJECTIONS - The Filed Rate Doctrine: A Love Story
    • United States
    • Mondaq United States
    • March 7, 2012
    ...but over the years has spread to state agencies (particularly utilities) and ultimately to insurance companies. See Keogh v. C.N. Ry. Co., 260 U.S. 156 (1922) (Interstate Commerce Commission); Ark. La. Gas Co. v. Hall, 453 U.S. 371 (1981) (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission); Taffet v. So......
  • In Agricultural Regulation, A 'Flawed Rate' Is Not A 'Filed Rate' For Damage Purposes
    • United States
    • Mondaq United States
    • September 21, 2012
    ...the federal agency, namely the USDA, had itself determined that the FMMO prices were incorrect. Citing Keogh v. Chicago & Nw. Ry. Co., 260 U.S. 156, 163 (1922), the Court noted that the Supreme Court has held that the Filed Rate Doctrine is inapplicable to bar a private litigant's rate-......
29 books & journal articles
  • State Price Discrimination Law
    • United States
    • ABA Antitrust Library Price Discrimination Handbook
    • December 8, 2013
    ...., 625 ILL. COMP. STAT. § 5/18c-3205; MINN. STAT. § 231.15. 631. HAW. REV. STAT. § 271G-19(b). 632. See Keogh v. Chicago & N.W.R. Co. , 260 U.S. 156 (1922). 633. See, e.g ., MO. REV. STAT. § 305.525. 634. See, e.g ., 70 ILL. COMP. STAT. 1830/7.1(e). 635. LA. REV. STAT. ANN. § 2:605(D)(1). 6......
  • The Keogh or 'Filed-Rate' Doctrine
    • United States
    • ABA Antitrust Library Handbook on the Scope of Antitrust Doctrines of implicit repeal
    • January 1, 2015
    ...Bur., Inc., 760 1347, 1351 (2d Cir. 1985), aff’d 476 U.S. 409 (1986) (carefully analyzing leading case of Keogh v. Chi. & Nw. Ry. Co., 260 U.S. 156 (1922), and finding among its rationales a preference for judicial deference to agency authority). 5. See, e.g., Town of Norwood v. FERC, 217 F......
  • California. Practice Text
    • United States
    • ABA Antitrust Library State Antitrust Practice and Statutes (FIFTH). Volume I
    • December 9, 2014
    ...PROF. CODE § 16750(a). See California v. ARC Am. Corp., 490 U.S. 93, 98 & n.3 (1989). 41. 14 Cal. App. 4th 1224 (Cal. Ct. App. 1993). 42. 260 U.S. 156 (1922). 43. 14 Cal. App. 4th at 1241-43. 44. 22 Cal. App. 4th 1273 (Cal. Ct. App. 1994). 45. United States v. Colgate & Co., 250 U.S. 300 (1......
  • Wisconsin. Practice Text
    • United States
    • ABA Antitrust Library State Antitrust Practice and Statutes (FIFTH). Volume III
    • December 9, 2014
    ...Oneida, 800 N.W.2d 421 (Wis. 2011). 121. WIS. STAT. ANN. §§ 113.01-.11. 122. 500 N.W.2d 658 (Wis. 1993). 123. Keogh v. Chicago & N.W. Ry., 260 U.S. 156, 163 (1922); see also Square D Co. v. Niagara Frontier Tariff Bureau, 476 U.S. 409 (1986). 124. See Prentice , 500 N.W.2d at 661; see also ......
  • 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