National Motor Freight Traffic Ass'n v. United States, Civ. A. No. 1694-60.

CourtUnited States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
Writing for the CourtBURGER, Circuit , and MATTHEWS and WALSH
Citation205 F. Supp. 592
PartiesNATIONAL MOTOR FREIGHT TRAFFIC ASSOCIATION, INC., et al., Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES of America et al., Defendants.
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 1694-60.
Decision Date10 May 1962

205 F. Supp. 592

NATIONAL MOTOR FREIGHT TRAFFIC ASSOCIATION, INC., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES of America et al., Defendants.

Civ. A. No. 1694-60.

United States District Court District of Columbia.

May 10, 1962.


Bryce Rea, Jr., Washington, D. C., for plaintiffs.

Joel Hoffman, Atty., Dept. of Justice, for defendant United States.

Fritz R. Kahn, Atty., Interstate Commerce Commission, for defendant Interstate Commerce Commission.

James L. Givan, Washington, D. C., D. Robert Thomas, Chicago, Ill., for intervenors.

Before BURGER, Circuit Judge, and MATTHEWS and WALSH, District Judges.

BURGER, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiffs seek to set aside and annul a decision of the Interstate Commerce Commission1

205 F. Supp. 593
approving a tariff published by the Western Freight Association, a freight forwarder, in which reduced rates were set out for freight shipments of 20,000-30,000 pounds moving from the area called Official Territory (generally the territory East of the Mississippi River and North of the Ohio and Potomac Rivers) to points on the Pacific Coast. Plaintiffs, all motor carrier associations whose members are individual carriers engaged in interstate commerce, attack the tariff as unlawful insofar as under its terms freight forwarders need not perform certain specific freight forwarding duties which the plaintiffs urge are required by § 402(a) of the Interstate Commerce Act. 56 Stat. 284 (1942), 49 U.S.C.A. § 1002(a) (5). It is argued that the freight forwarders under this tariff thus illegally enter into destructive competition with the motor carrier industry contrary to established national transportation policy. The Western Freight Association and nine2 other freight forwarders with similar vital interests have intervened

The Government vigorously argues that the plaintiffs lack standing to sue as they are simply associations of carriers rather than carriers and hence will not be affected by the challenged order of the Commission. Plaintiffs point out that they are incorporated organizations engaged in many official services for the individual carriers comprising their membership, including, inter alia, frequent appearances before the Interstate Commerce Commission on behalf of members.

However, the claims made by plaintiffs regarding the multiple services they undertake for members are not relevant to the question of standing to sue in this court. Nor is standing in a judicial proceeding to be equated with participation in a proceeding in the Interstate Commerce Commission. An association's access to administrative agency proceedings rests on a different basis from standing to sue in this court. See Pittsburgh & W. Va. Ry. Co. v. United States, 281 U.S. 479, 50 S.Ct. 378, 74 L. Ed. 980 (1930). The essence of any litigant's qualification to sue is his susceptibility to injury in a legally cognizable sense, which, stated another way, is simply the reality of his being aggrieved by the decree or party he challenges. The law provides no remedies for imagined detriment. In this light, the fact stands out that the plaintiff associations will in no way be affected by the freight forwarder rates fixed by the challenged Commission order except in the remote sense that the problems of their members are their concern. The associations are not engaged in the business of motor transportation, nor subject to the regulatory provisions of the Interstate Commerce Act. Whatever novel competitive effects, if any, may flow from the Commission's order, it will not affect the associations but only some of their individual members; consequently it cannot be said that the associations face any but a vicarious economic threat and that only in the narrow sense that adverse economic effects on members may ultimately but indirectly cause a diminution of support or contributions for the associations. Even this remote contingency is speculative. This would be an attenuated form of general economic injury for which courts have been reluctant to give relief especially when it results from normal non-discriminatory competitive patterns. See Hines Yellow Pine Trustees v. United States, 263 U.S. 143, 44 S.Ct. 72, 68 L.Ed. 216 (1923); Alexander Sprunt & Son, Inc. v. United States, 281 U.S. 249, 50 S. Ct. 315, 74 L.Ed. 832 (1930).

205 F. Supp. 594

We do not find Associated Industries of New York State v. Ickes, 134 F.2d 694 (2d Cir. 1943), dismissed as moot, 320 U.S. 707, 64 S.Ct. 74, 88 L.Ed. 414, persuasive or applicable authority to the contrary. There the Bituminous Coal Act of 1937 accorded standing to "persons aggrieved," a category of litigant which under broad Supreme Court interpretations3 included anyone threatened with economic adversity. A "person aggrieved," as the Ickes case pointed out, "need not show that he has such a `standing' as is ordinarily required in injunction suits to restrain actions by officials alleged to be unlawful * * *." 134 F.2d at 702. (Emphasis added.) The present plaintiffs have brought an injunction suit against the United States, and the requirements of standing which "ordinarily apply" are the requirements to be met. See Utah Citizens Rate Ass'n v. United States, D.C., 192 F.Supp. 12 (1960). Neither Eastern Express, Inc. v. United States, D.C., 198 F.Supp. 256 (1961), aff'd, 369 U.S. 37, 82 S.Ct. 640, 7 L.Ed.2d 548 (1962), nor American Trucking Ass'ns v. United States, 364 U.S. 1, 80 S.Ct. 1570, 4 L.Ed.2d 1527 (1960), bar this conclusion, since in both cases the plaintiffs were comprised of individual carriers as well as membership associations, and where one party thus has standing to sue, as did the individual carriers there, it is immaterial under the liberal intervention statute, 28 U.S.C. § 2323, that the remaining association plaintiffs might not have had standing to originally bring suit. See Arrow Transp. Co. v. United States, 176 F.Supp. 411 (D.C.Ala.1959), aff'd., 361 U.S. 353, 80 S.Ct. 406, 4 L.Ed.2d 362 (1960).

Assuming, arguendo, we are in error on the issue of standing,4 the importance of the case suggests the desirability of considering the merits so that the parties will have our views on the substantive as well as the jurisdictional issue, for whatever that may be worth.

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12 practice notes
  • Nichols v. Board of Trustees of Asbestos Workers Local 24 Pension Plan, No. 82-1959
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 11 Diciembre 1987
    ...530 F.2d 1086, 1090 (1976); Ecee, Inc. v. FERC, 645 F.2d 339, 349 (5th Cir.1981); National Motor Freight Traffic Ass'n v. United States, 205 F.Supp. 592, 593 (D.D.C.), aff'd, 371 U.S. 223, 83 S.Ct. 311, 9 L.Ed.2d 273 (1962). Standing to intervene as of right is not restricted to parties ent......
  • National Welfare Rights Organization v. Finch, No. 23787
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 9 Junio 1970
    ...proceedings rests on a different basis from standing to sue in this Court." National Motor Freight Traffic Ass'n v. United States, 205 F. Supp. 592 (D. D.C.), affirmed, 371 U.S. 223, 83 S.Ct. 311, 9 L.Ed.2d 273 (1962), rehearing denied and opinion clarified, 372 U.S. 246, 83 S.Ct. 688, 9 L.......
  • Investment Company Institute v. Camp, Civ. A. No. 1083-66.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 27 Septiembre 1967
    ...United States, 371 U.S. 223, 83 S.Ct. 311, 9 L.Ed.2d 273, rehearing denied 372 U.S. 246, 83 S.Ct. 688, 9 L.Ed.2d 709 (1963), affirming 205 F. Supp. 592 (D.C.D.C.1962) only on the merits but not as to the standing issue; Philco Corp. v. FCC, 103 U.S.App.D.C. 278, 257 F.2d 656 (1958), cert. d......
  • Ass'n of Am. Physicians & Surgeons v. U.S. Food & Drug Admin., 20-1784
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • 9 Septiembre 2021
    ...an agency order harming their members because they lacked standalone injuries. Nat'l Motor Freight Traffic Ass'n v. United States , 205 F. Supp. 592, 593–94 (D.D.C. 1962) (Burger, J.). The Supreme Court disagreed in a one-paragraph opinion, finding that the associations were "proper represe......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
12 cases
  • Nichols v. Board of Trustees of Asbestos Workers Local 24 Pension Plan, No. 82-1959
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 11 Diciembre 1987
    ...530 F.2d 1086, 1090 (1976); Ecee, Inc. v. FERC, 645 F.2d 339, 349 (5th Cir.1981); National Motor Freight Traffic Ass'n v. United States, 205 F.Supp. 592, 593 (D.D.C.), aff'd, 371 U.S. 223, 83 S.Ct. 311, 9 L.Ed.2d 273 (1962). Standing to intervene as of right is not restricted to parties ent......
  • National Welfare Rights Organization v. Finch, No. 23787
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 9 Junio 1970
    ...proceedings rests on a different basis from standing to sue in this Court." National Motor Freight Traffic Ass'n v. United States, 205 F. Supp. 592 (D. D.C.), affirmed, 371 U.S. 223, 83 S.Ct. 311, 9 L.Ed.2d 273 (1962), rehearing denied and opinion clarified, 372 U.S. 246, 83 S.Ct. 688, 9 L.......
  • Investment Company Institute v. Camp, Civ. A. No. 1083-66.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • 27 Septiembre 1967
    ...United States, 371 U.S. 223, 83 S.Ct. 311, 9 L.Ed.2d 273, rehearing denied 372 U.S. 246, 83 S.Ct. 688, 9 L.Ed.2d 709 (1963), affirming 205 F. Supp. 592 (D.C.D.C.1962) only on the merits but not as to the standing issue; Philco Corp. v. FCC, 103 U.S.App.D.C. 278, 257 F.2d 656 (1958), cert. d......
  • Ass'n of Am. Physicians & Surgeons v. U.S. Food & Drug Admin., 20-1784
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • 9 Septiembre 2021
    ...an agency order harming their members because they lacked standalone injuries. Nat'l Motor Freight Traffic Ass'n v. United States , 205 F. Supp. 592, 593–94 (D.D.C. 1962) (Burger, J.). The Supreme Court disagreed in a one-paragraph opinion, finding that the associations were "proper represe......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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