Louisville & N.R. Co. v. Railroad Commission of Alabama

Decision Date04 September 1907
Citation157 F. 944
CourtU.S. District Court — Middle District of Alabama
PartiesLOUISVILLE & N.R. CO. et al. v. RAILROAD COMMISSION OF ALABAMA et al.
Federal Courts 272

The Louisville & Nashville and other railroad companies filed their original bills here on March 30, 1907, against the Railroad Commission and Attorney General of Alabama to restrain the enforcement of certain legislation fixing the maximum freight and passenger rates on intrastate business, which the defendants were under duty to enforce, and also to restrain the enforcement of the statute which ipso facto forfeits the right of complainants to do intrastate business, if they brought bills in the federal court to test the validity of the rate legislation. A preliminary injunction as prayed was issued May 8, 1907, the respondents making no resistance, and filing neither plea answer, nor affidavit in contradiction of the sworn bills. At the same time the court under the authority of the state statute providing a judicial mode for the review of the rates and for the suspension of the rate legislation, pending final determination, made an order suspending the rate statutes until final hearing. The cases are reported Seaboard Air Line Railway Co. et al. v. Railroad Commission of Alabama et al. (C.C.) 155 F. 792. On the 14th of August, 1907, the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company and the South & North Alabama Railroad Company obtained leave to amend their original bills. As both cases present the identical features the report of the cases will be confined to the amended bill of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company, in which the amendment, so far as material to the present posture of the cases, is contained in the following paragraphs:

'Paragraph 27. Complainant further shows to your honor that in and by an order in said cause by this honorable court made on the 30th day of March, 19078 the rates prescribed by the several acts of the Legislature of the state of Alabama complained of in the bill of complaint in this cause have been suspended; that is to say, the rates prescribed by an act approved March 2 1907, entitled 'An act to fix and establish maximum rates to be charged by railroads now operating or which may hereafter operate as common carriers in whole or in part in the state of Alabama for transportation, originating and terminating within the state of certain articles, and for this purpose to classify said articles and said railroads,' and by an act approved February 14, 1907 entitled 'An act to prescribe and regulate rates on all railroads, other than street railroads, carrying passengers between points within the state of Alabama, and by an act of the state of Alabama approved February 9, 1907, entitled 'An act to make the railroad rates of freight in force January 1, 1907, for the transportation, originating and terminating within this state, the maximum rates.' Said order further restrains and enjoins the original defendants in this cause from enforcing the observance of said several rates prescribed by said several statutes, and to that end restrains and enjoins the Railroad Commission of Alabama, Charles Henderson, president, William D. Nesbitt and John G. Harris, associate members, of the Railroad Commission, and each of them separately and individually, from putting into effect the maximum or other rates upon passengers prescribed and authorized by said act of the Legislature of Alabama approved February 14, 1907, and from putting into effect the maximum or other rates prescribed and authorized by said act of the Legislature of Alabama approved March 2, 1907, and from putting into force and effect the maximum or other rates prescribed by the act of the Legislature of Alabama approved February 9, 1907, so far as said rates or any of them so prescribed and authorized relate to the complainant's railroad or any part thereof within the state of Alabama, and from ordering, recommending, instituting, or bringing, or causing to be instituted or brought, through Alex M. Garber Attorney General of the state of Alabama, or through any attorney or attorneys employed or appointed by themselves or any of them, or by any officer or officers of the state of Alabama, or through any person or persons whomsoever, any civil action or proceeding of any nature or kind whatever, or prosecution by indictment or otherwise against the complainant or any of its officers, agents, or employes, for damages, penalties. or fines, or for any cause whatsoever for failure to continue in force or effect complainant's tariffs or rates of January 1, 1907, or for charging, demanding, or receiving for the transportation of freight over complainant's railroad more than the tariff rates of freight in force upon complainant's railroad on January 1, 1907, and also from putting into force and effect upon any of said lines of railroad of complainant in Alabama the passenger tariffs or rates prescribed in said act approved February 14, 1907, and also from putting into force and effect the classification of freight and schedules of rates prescribed or authorized in said act of March 2, 1907, and also from instituting or bringing, or causing to be instituted or brought, any suit at law or in equity against complainant, or any officer, agent, or employe of complainant to put in force or effect or to observe the provisions of said act, approved February 9, 1907, or of the said act approved February 14, 1907, or said act approved March 2, 1907, and also from instituting or bringing, or causing to be instituted or brought, any suit or proceedings, either at law or in equity, civil or criminal, or any of its officers, agents, or employes, for failing to observe any of the tariffs or rates prescribed or authorized by said acts, or either of them, or for charging more for passengers or freight transported than is provided or authorized by said acts or either of them, and also from instituting or bringing, or causing to be instituted or brought, any suit or proceedings, either at law or in equity, civil or criminal, for penalties or otherwise against complainant or any officer, agent, or employe of the complainant for having increased its prior to March 25, 1907, above the maximum of its schedules of freight charges of January 1, 1907, and in and by said order this honorable court further restrained and enjoined the original defendant, Alex M. Garber, Attorney General of the state of Alabama, and each and every attorney at law that may be employed or appointed by said Railroad Commission of Alabama, or by Charles Henderson, president, or William D. Nesbitt, and John G. Harris, associate railroad commissioners of Alabama, or either of them, or by any other officer of the state of Alabama, and all individuals, persons, and corporations, were thereby enjoined and restrained from instituting or prosecuting against complainant or any of its officers, agents, or employes any action or proceedings, civil or criminal, for damages, penalties, or fines, or for any cause of action whatever for failure to continue or put into force or effect on any of the lines of complainant in Alabama any of said tariffs, passenger or freight, or for charging, demanding, or receiving for transportation of passengers or freight more than the rate or rates prescribed in said several acts of the Legislature of Alabama, or any of them, or for continuing in the conduct of its business in the transportation of passengers and freight between points in the state of Alabama, notwithstanding the bringing by complainant of this suit in this court. It is the purpose and intention of his excellency, Braxton B. Comer, the Governor of the state of Alabama, to cause said order of this honorable court to be frustrated and rendered ineffectual by requiring and instructing the various solicitors and other prosecuting officers in the several counties through which the complainant's railroads or any parts thereof are operated to cause complainant, its officers, agents, and employes, to be arrested, indicted, prosecuted, and imprisoned should they or either of them, under the protection of the said order made by this honorable court, and pursuant to its terms, charge, demand, or receive for the transportation of passengers or freight more than the several rates fixed by said several statutes, or either of them, or should they or either of them refuse to receive any article when offered for transportation at the rate of compensation established by statute.

'Paragraph 28. His excellency, the said Braxton B. Comer, was at the time that the bill of complaint was filed in this cause the Governor of the state of Alabama, and is still such Governor and as such Governor he is charged with the duty of seeing that the laws of the state of Alabama are enforced. He knows of the bill of complaint filed in this honorable court in this cause, and is familiar with the allegations contained therein, and also with the object and purposes thereof, and knows of the restraining order heretofore made by this honorable court in this cause, and of the terms thereof, and as the Governor of the state of Alabama he has employed special counsel to assist the defendant, Alex M. Garber, the Attorney General of the state, in defending the cause, and the Attorney General of the state of Alabama and said special counsel have appeared in said cause under such employment, and are representing the defendant herein; and yet his excellency, the said Braxton B. Comer, Governor aforesaid, has recently on various occasions and in varying language since the filing of the bill of complaint in this cause, and since said order suspending said rates and restraining said parties, and all other officials of the state as aforesaid, openly and publicly repudiated the right of this honorable co...

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