Southern Pacific Terminal Company v. Interstate Commerce Commission Young No 459 Young v. Interstate Commerce Commission No 460

Citation31 S.Ct. 279,219 U.S. 498,55 L.Ed. 310
Decision Date20 February 1911
Docket Number460,Nos. 459,s. 459
PartiesSOUTHERN PACIFIC TERMINAL COMPANY, Southern Pacific Company, and Galveston, Harrisburg, & San Antonio Railway Company, Appts., v. INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION and E. H. YOUNG. NO 459. E. H. YOUNG, Appt., v. INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION et al. NO 460
CourtUnited States Supreme Court

This is a bill in equity to enjoin an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission requiring appellants to cease and desist, on or before the 1st day of September, 1908 (subsequently postponed to November 15, 1908), and for a period of not less than two years thereafter, from granting and giving undue preferences and advantages to one E. H. Young, a shipper of cotton seed products at the port of Galveston, Texas, through failure to exact from him payment of wharfage charges for handling cotton seed cake and meal over the wharves, docks, and piers of appellants, while at the same time exacting such charges from other shippers of cotton-seed cake and meal, and from giving and allowing him or any other person whomsoever, for his exclusive use, space on the wharves of appellants at Galveston for use in the storage and handling of cotton-seed cake and meal, while contemporaneously refusing and denying similar privileges to other shippers under substantially similar circumstances and conditions.

Young was not a formal party before the Interstate Commerce Commission. However, he was made a respondent in this suit, and filed an answer and cross bill. The Commission demurred to both bill and cross bill, and, the demurrer being overruled, answered.

On final hearing the case was submitted upon an agreed statement of facts, and both bills were dismissed.

The most important facts we set out below and in the opinion. We refer to the report of the Interstate Commerce Commission for further details.

The Republic of Texas conveyed to one Menard the property upon which the wharves of the terminal company are situated. Menard conveyed the property to the president and directors of the Galveston City Company, who conveyed it to Collis P. Huntington, for the sum of $200,000; and it is recited in the deed to him that it 'is made upon the further Express Covenant and condition as follows: . . . when through and by means of such acts of Congress, act of the legislature, and ordinance and conveyance from the city of Galveston, if any, as may be required for the purpose, . . . the right has been secured to the said Collis P. Huntington, or his heirs or assigns, to construct piers, as he or they may from time to time determine, . . . then and in that event the said Collis P. Huntington, his heirs or assigns, will within six months thereof commence the construction of terminal facilities upon the property, . . . for the use of what are commonly called the Southern Pacific Railroad & Steamship Systems.'

The city of Galveston, on the 4th of February, 1899, passed an ordinance which recited the conditions of Huntington's purchase to be as above stated, and that it was greatly to the interest of the city that the work contemplated by him should be performed, and that for the proper utility of the property no streets should be opened through or across it, and it was ordained that streets, avenues, or alleys, if any, theretofore opened, laid out, or in any manner designated upon the property be perpetually abandoned, discontinued, and closed. And Huntington, his heirs and assigns, were granted the right perpetually to construct and maintain piers as he or they might from time to time determine, 'and to maintain upon the property terminal facilities for the use of what are commonly called the Southern Pacific Railroad & Steamship Systems, their successors or assigns.' It was provided that if Huntingtion should 'charge wharfage for the use of such piers and other facilities upon said property, except so far as wharf service' might be covered by the freight rate, all such wharfage should be subject to the regulation of the railroad commission of Texas. And it was recited that it was greatly for the public interest that the property 'should be developed for shipping and transportation purposes, and that the shipping facilities of the port of Galveston should be thereby improved and enlarged in order to better accommodate the commerce of the port and State. . . .'

The ordinance was ratified by an act of the legislature approved May 1, 1899. The act set out the ordinance in full, and relinquished to Huntington the title and claim of the state to the property upon the conditions expressed in the ordinance, and, in addition to subjecting the wharfage charges to regulation by the railroad commission, required an annual report to that body. And it was provided 'that the system of railroad tracks' which might be constructed by Huntington on the property should connect with the track of any railroad company which might be built to the property, at a place designated; and, further, that there should be no consolidation of the property, or the stock or franchise of any corporation which might own or control the same, with the Galveston Wharf Company, or any other wharf company, by which the 'wharf or other terminal charges should be fixed,' and that 'no charter formed for the use, operation, and management of the property' should be granted without containing the section providing as above.

Huntington performed the conditions expressed in the conveyance and in the ordinance and the act of the legislature.

The Southern Pacific Terminal Company is a Texas

corporation, organized in 1901, to construct and maintain wharves and docks for the accommodation of all kinds of vessels, 'and to avail of, use, and enjoy the properties, rights, privileges, and franchises granted and described and referred to in the act of the legislature of the state of Texas of May 1, 1899, ratifying the ordinance of the city of Galveston, and to construct and maintain upon the property terminal facilities for the use of what are commonly called the Southern Pacific Railroad & Steamship Systems.'

At the time of the incorporation of the terminal company the following were commonly referred to as the Southern Pacific Railroad & Steamship Systems: The line of steamships owned by the Southern Pacific Company, running from New York to Galveston and New Orleans, and also running from and between the latter city and Havana; Morgan's Louisiana & Texas Railroad and Steamship Company; the Louisiana Western Railroad, which leads from New Orleans to the Sabine river; the Texas & New Orleans Railroad, leading from that river to the city of Houston; the Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio Railway; and the railroads in which the Southern Pacific Company owns stock, extending from the connection of the latter in El Paso, at the Rio Grande River, to San Francisco. Each of the railways was incorporated as a separate and distinct railway, and has its own officers and board of directors, but the Southern Pacific Company owns 99 per cent of their stock, and the same per cent of the stock of the terminal company. The two latter companies have the same president, and the Galveston, Harrisburg, & San Antonio Railway Company and the terminal company have the same general manager.

Import and export traffic passing through Galveston passes over the wharves of the terminal company, and the only track facilities for such traffic are those owned by the terminal company on its own lands. And the Galveston, Harrisburg, & San Antonio railway is the only railway having physical connection with the tracks of the terminal company, and it does all of the switching to and from the tracks of the terminal company, charging $1.75 per car. The latter company receives a trackage charge of 50 cents per car.

The terminal company owns no cars or locomotives, and issues no bills of lading. It owns no stock in any of the railroads or corporations in which the Southern Pacific owns stock. It carries on a wharfage business and publishes a schedule of charges for such business, which, however, is not filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission, its charge being 20 cents per ton on cottonseed meal and cake passing over its docks, and is shown as wharfage charge in the tariffs of the Galveston, Harrisburg, & San Antonio Railway Company and all other railways entering Galveston. Such tariffs do not show that any exception is made as to the docks occupied by E. H. Young, as hereinafter shown, but as a fact the wharfage charge is not imposed by the terminal company on the cotton-seed meal and cake handled over the dock of E. H. Young, other than as the same may be included in the general lease or contract price fixed as hereinafter indicated.

The terminal company was a party to numerous circulars issued by the Southern Pacific Companies, known as the 'Sunset Route,' so termed, principally for advertising purposes. The circular of May 24, 1907, shows terminal charges (other than storage and switching). At the port of Galveston the circulars show a charge of one cent per 100 pounds on cotton-seed cake and meal.

The terminal company has on its property two piers, known as pier A and pier B, and has erected on them all facilities for handling imported and exported freight, and all freight which may come to or pass over its wharves, and it has abundant land under water upon which to erect other piers if they should become necessary.

It charges a fixed wharfage for all freight passing over its piers to or from vessels berthed thereat. The Galveston Wharf Company affords similar public wharfage facilities at the port of Galveston, having a number of piers. If the facilities of the Galveston Wharf Company should be destroyed, those of the terminal company would become inadequate for handling the import and export and coastwise business. Ships to and from foreign ports, and coastwise ships other than those of the Southern Pacific Company, berth at piers A and B, and there...

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