Secretary of Agriculture of United States v. United States Florida Citrus Commission v. United States, Nos. 480

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtFRANKFURTER
Citation347 U.S. 645,98 L.Ed. 1015,74 S.Ct. 826
PartiesSECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE OF UNITED STATES v. UNITED STATES et al. FLORIDA CITRUS COMMISSION et al. v. UNITED STATES et al
Docket NumberNos. 480,481
Decision Date07 June 1954

347 U.S. 645
74 S.Ct. 826
98 L.Ed. 1015
SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE OF UNITED STATES

v.

UNITED STATES et al. FLORIDA CITRUS COMMISSION et al. v. UNITED STATES et al.

Nos. 480, 481.
Argued April 27, 28, 1954.
Decided June 7, 1954.

Mr.

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Maxwell W. Wells, Orlando, Fla., for appellants Florida Citrus Commission et al.

Mr. Neil Brooks, Washington, D.C., for appellant Secretary of Agriculture.

Mr. Edward M. Reidy, Washington, D.C., for appellee I.C.C.

Mr. Hugh B. Cox, Washington, D.C., for appellees Baltimore & O.R. Co., et al.

Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

Five railroads which transport fruits and vegetables into New York and Philadelphia filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission schedules of charges for unloading services performed by them at these points. Various shippers and shipper organizations, State Commissions, and other interested parties, protested the proposed

Page 647

charges. The Secretary of Agriculture, acting on behalf of the affected agricultural interests, intervened.1 The Commission in due course approved the charges, 272 I.C.C. 648. On further consideration, the approved charges were cut roughly in half, 286 I.C.C. 119. Complaints against even these reduced charges were then filed with the Commission, but these were dismissed by it on the basis of its prior decision, and this litigation to enjoin and set aside the Commission's order followed. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1336, 2325, 28 U.S.C.A. §§ 1336, 2325. Numerous parties again intervened the shipper and consumer interests on the side of the protestants, and the carriers involved on the side of the Commission. The three-judge district court, with Judge De Vane dissenting, upheld the Commission, 114 F.Supp. 420. Direct appeals under 28 U.S.C. § 1253, 28 U.S.C.A. § 1253, brought the cases here. 347 U.S. 902, 74 S.Ct. 427.

The general rule is that it is the responsibility of the carrier, as part of the transportation service covered by the line-haul rate, to 'deliver' the goods by placing them in such a position as to make them accessible to the consignee. Normally unloading is not a part of the delivery and is performed by the consignee. In accordance with these principles, the railroad spots the car on the team track in its yards in the destination city, and the consignee is given appropriate free time in which to unload. In the case of private sidings, the railroad's job ends when it has placed the car on the consignee's siding.

These are not inflexible rules. The law recognizes and reflects the practicalities of transportation by rail and the diversities to which they give rise. Prior to 1925, the railroads, in order to meet the demands of competitive transportation industries, performed the unloading

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without additional charge at specified points. In the case of Loading and Unloading Carload Freight, 101 I.C.C. 394, the Commission approved tariffs by the railroads abolishing free unloading at most of these points, and authorized the carriers to make an additional charge thereafter for performing the unloading at the consignee's request. By the time the present proceeding was instituted, Philadelphia and New York were the only points where the carriers were still performing unloading without any charge in addition to the line-haul rate.

The exception of these two cities was no aberration. It is the result of special conditions which exist in New York and Philadelphia. The significance of these special conditions is at the heart of this controversy.

No railroads, carrying fruits or vegetables into New York, except the New York Central, has a direct line into Manhattan. The roads transporting the bulk of the produce into New York, the Pennsylvania and Erie Railroads, terminate their lines on the Jersey side of the Hudson River. There, the cars are put on barges and floated across the river, either to be switched onto the carriers' Manhattan team tracks or to be unloaded directly at the Duane Street piers. 2 These pier terminals are leased by the City of New York to the various carriers and are strategically located adjacent to Washington Market, New York's largest fruit and vegetable market. At the team tracks, according to the usual practice, the consignees do their own unloading. However, because of the inadequacy of these facilities and because of the more advantageous location of the pier terminals, approximately 75% of the fruits and vegetables coming into New York are directed to the pier stations.

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The procedure at the pier stations is as follows. When the floats are docked at the appropriate pier—this usually happens at night—work crews of the railroad begin to unload the cars and place the contents on the pier floor. 3 The consignees are notified in advance of the arrival of their goods, and at specified times their trucks can come onto the pier floor to pick up their merchandise. Sales and auction facilities are also provided by the railroads, and some of the produce is immediately disposed of in this manner. In no event are the consignees allowed to unload the cars themselves; indeed the Commission has found that this would be 'impracticable.'4

At Philadelphia, the situation is somewhat different. Here there is no problem of water transportation, and the team track facilities where consignees can do their own unloading are not shown to be inadequate. However, in 1927, the Pennsylvania and the Baltimore & Ohio built competitive produce terminals, 5 and, because of the special facilities available there, 95% of the fruits and vegetables consigned to Philadelphia are now received at these stations. Each of these terminals has two platforms, one for produce intended for private sale, one for produce intended for auction sale. The unloading operations here are considerably simpler and cheaper than at the

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New York piers; but, as in New York, all the unloading here is performed by the carriers.6

It was in the light of this background that the carriers, faced by the sharply rising costs of the unloading operation, sought the Commission's approval for special unloading charges at these two cities. Such charges, the carriers urged, would serve to bring New York and Philadelphia into line with the generally prevailing practice—that consignees must either do their own unloading or, if they want the carrier to do it for them, they must be prepared to pay for it.

The protestants, appellants here, do not challenge these general principles. It is their contention rather that at these particular points the unloading is an essential part of delivery in that without it the goods are not accessible to the consignees; that therefore the line-haul rate encompasses the unloading; and, finally, that a service covered by the line-haul rate cannot be separately compensated unless the carriers show that the line-haul rate is inadequate to cover it.

These are claims that must be met, and the real question before us is whether the Commission has met them with an adequacy that satisfies the requirements of judicial review, limited though its scope may be. With respect to New York, the Commission's findings clearly show that since the consignees were not permitted to do

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132 practice notes
  • Strang v. Marsh, Civ. A. No. 83-0409 P.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Rhode Island
    • 21 Febrero 1985
    ...Commission Co., 411 U.S. 182, 187-88, 93 S.Ct. 1455, 1458-59, 36 L.Ed.2d 142 (1973) with Secretary of Agriculture v. United States, 347 U.S. 645, 653, 74 S.Ct. 826, 831, 98 L.Ed. 1015 (1954), all the circuits have articulated a version of this rule, at least where formal agency action is co......
  • British Steel PLC v. US, Slip Op. 95-17. Court No. 93-09-00550-CVD
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of International Trade
    • 9 Febrero 1995
    ...explain its departure from prior norms and sufficiently spell out the legal basis for its decision. Secretary of Agric. v. United States, 347 U.S. 645, 653-54, 74 S.Ct. 826, 832, 98 L.Ed. 1015 (1954) (stating agency must explain its decision "with the simplicity and clearness through which ......
  • Local 814, Intern. Broth. of Teamsters, Chauffuers, Warehousemen v. N.L.R.B., Nos. 74-1036
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 30 Abril 1975
    ...L.Ed. 2128 (1945), discussed L. Jaffe, Judicial Review of Administrative Action 586-88 (1965); Secretary of Agriculture v. United States, 347 U.S. 645, 74 S.Ct. 826, 98 L.Ed. 1015 (1954); Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. v. FCC, 147 U.S.App.D.C. 175, 454 F.2d 1018, 1026-27 (1971); Marco S......
  • Tennessee Valley Authority v. U.S. E.P.A., No. 00-12310.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • 8 Enero 2002
    ...(or advocates for shippers) in United States v. ICC, 352 U.S. 158, 77 S.Ct. 241, 1 L.Ed.2d 211 (1956), Secretary of Agriculture v. U.S., 347 U.S. 645, 647, 74 S.Ct. 826, 98 L.Ed. 1015 (1954), United States v. ICC, 337 U.S. 426, 69 S.Ct. 1410, 93 L.Ed. 1451 (1949), and ICC v. Jersey City, 32......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
131 cases
  • Strang v. Marsh, Civ. A. No. 83-0409 P.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Rhode Island
    • 21 Febrero 1985
    ...Commission Co., 411 U.S. 182, 187-88, 93 S.Ct. 1455, 1458-59, 36 L.Ed.2d 142 (1973) with Secretary of Agriculture v. United States, 347 U.S. 645, 653, 74 S.Ct. 826, 831, 98 L.Ed. 1015 (1954), all the circuits have articulated a version of this rule, at least where formal agency action is co......
  • British Steel PLC v. US, Slip Op. 95-17. Court No. 93-09-00550-CVD
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of International Trade
    • 9 Febrero 1995
    ...explain its departure from prior norms and sufficiently spell out the legal basis for its decision. Secretary of Agric. v. United States, 347 U.S. 645, 653-54, 74 S.Ct. 826, 832, 98 L.Ed. 1015 (1954) (stating agency must explain its decision "with the simplicity and clearness through which ......
  • Local 814, Intern. Broth. of Teamsters, Chauffuers, Warehousemen v. N.L.R.B., Nos. 74-1036
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 30 Abril 1975
    ...L.Ed. 2128 (1945), discussed L. Jaffe, Judicial Review of Administrative Action 586-88 (1965); Secretary of Agriculture v. United States, 347 U.S. 645, 74 S.Ct. 826, 98 L.Ed. 1015 (1954); Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. v. FCC, 147 U.S.App.D.C. 175, 454 F.2d 1018, 1026-27 (1971); Marco S......
  • Tennessee Valley Authority v. U.S. E.P.A., No. 00-12310.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • 8 Enero 2002
    ...(or advocates for shippers) in United States v. ICC, 352 U.S. 158, 77 S.Ct. 241, 1 L.Ed.2d 211 (1956), Secretary of Agriculture v. U.S., 347 U.S. 645, 647, 74 S.Ct. 826, 98 L.Ed. 1015 (1954), United States v. ICC, 337 U.S. 426, 69 S.Ct. 1410, 93 L.Ed. 1451 (1949), and ICC v. Jersey City, 32......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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