St. Louis & S. F. R. Co. v. Hadley

Citation168 F. 317
Decision Date08 March 1909
Docket Number3,006.,2,988-3,004
PartiesST. LOUIS & S.F.R. CO. v. HADLEY, Atty. Gen., et al. (and seventeen other cases).
CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri

Supplemental Opinion, April 17, 1909.

See also, 155 F. 220; 161 F. 419. [Copyrighted Material Omitted]

The following are the findings of fact that the court makes as based upon the evidence herein:

(1) The complainants are the 18 railroad companies owning and operating lines of railroad in Missouri, they doing all of the state and interstate railroad business therein, and all of them except the St. Louis & Hannibal Company having lines of railroad both within and without the state. That company is wholly within the state, extending from Hannibal, Mo., to the south 120.61 miles. The Kansas City, Clinton &amp Springfield Company is a road of about 160 miles in length with 151.01 miles in the state. All the other companies have lines extending into a number of other states, one of them extending into 13 other states and territories. These roads, with their own lines and with their connecting carriers, carry all the traffic and do all the business, freight and passenger, within the state, whether of state or interstate character. The intrastate business is at all times herein referred to as 'state business.' That part of the interstate business which neither originates within, nor has its destination within, but passes across the state of Missouri, is called 'transstate business.'

(2) The same roadbed, locomotives, cars, and trains, including all facilities, are used for both classes of business, state and interstate. It is not practicable to conduct the business in any other way. This is so both from the standpoint of the public and that of the companies. If state business were to be carried alone upon some cars and trains, and interstate alone upon others, the expenses would be enormously increased, and almost if not quite prohibitive, while the public would be subjected to delays, inconveniences, and great expense. By reason of all this the business cannot practicably be separated.

3) Both from a geographical and railway standpoint, Missouri is situated differently from the other states of the Union, there only being two or three other states that have a resemblance to it in these particulars, and each of them in a lesser degree. This is so because the Mississippi is its boundary on the east all the distance. From a railroad standpoint, the Missouri river is its boundary line on the west, although physically the Missouri river is only the western boundary line from the northwest corner of the state about half-way to the southwest corner. But at the halfway point, namely, Kansas City, the river turns directly to the east, and continues its way to the Mississippi river. In its production, business, and commerce all that part of Missouri to the north of the Missouri river is practically like the south half of Iowa, the country districts producing large quantities of live stock and grain for the market, as well as much bituminous coal. The south half of Missouri is entirely different. The amount of grain and live stock is much less than in the north half of the state. But the south half has a large amount of timber, stone, lime, lead, zinc, iron, and fruits. St. Louis on the east is a city of nearly 1,000,000 people, Kansas City on the west nearly half as many, while St. Joseph has more than 125,000 people. These three cities carry on large manufacturing interests. The grain, live stock, and packing-house interests at Kansas City and St. Joseph are enormous. For a third of a century or more, for reasons which need not be repeated, rates from the East were fixed to the Mississippi river, and, later on, from thence to the Missouri river. The interstate rates either in or out were the one plus the other. It was the same from the West. It was likewise the same for the transstate business going in either direction. Such is the method existing to-day. This brought about the fact, which for years has existed and exists to-day, that the short line of road between the two rivers fixes the freight rates. To illustrate, the Burlington Road is the short line between the rivers, being 198 miles from Hannibal to St. Joseph, and the same distance, within a few miles, to Kansas City. The roads between Kansas City and St. Louis-- and there are four, at least, of them-- including the Burlington, is an average distance of nearly 300 miles, but some of the roads being 50 miles or more farther between the points than the others. This brings about the fact that all freight rates between any one point on the one river and any point on the other river are the same as the rate from Hannibal to St. Joseph over the Burlington Line. That is to say, the freight rates on any road, regardless of distance, are the same between St. Louis and either Kansas City or St. Joseph that they are between Hannibal and St. Joseph over the Burlington Line. This has given the three cities of St. Louis, Kansas City, and St. Joseph great advantages over other points. Competent persons say that to change this system will work irreparable harm to the three cities named, as well as to all other places within the state, by driving both the jobbing and manufacturing business to seaboard points. As to this, no finding is made nor opinion expressed, because it is believed to be a matter of policy upon which this court in these cases should express no opinion. As to the passenger rates, by reason of competition the fare is the same between Kansas City and St. Louis, the shorter line fixing the rates, thereby compelling the longer road to be at much expense without remuneration. This is likewise true as to all competitive points.

As to the foregoing question of rates and fares, there is no United States statute governing the same, and there is no Missouri statute upon the subject except the two statutes questioned by the bills, one dealing with certain commodities per car per distance, and the other fixing the passenger fares at two cents. Aside from these two statutes, and as to any bearing they have as to charges between the two rivers, the conditions named have been brought about and exist to-day by reason of a long-time custom, and by reason of transportation, actual and probable, upon the two rivers.

Still further bearing on the question are the following facts: Joplin is a city in the southwestern part of the state, of more than 25,000 people. There are a number of towns adjacent thereto, giving that county (Jasper) a population of 200,000 people. It is a very large mining district of lead and zinc. Between Kansas City and Joplin three of complainants herein have railroads. The Missouri Pacific at all points between the said places is within the state. Each of the other two between said points is partly without the state, starting within and going out and coming back, thereby making it interstate business as to two of the roads between Kansas City and the Joplin district. Between Kansas City and St. Joseph, four roads do the business. The Missouri Pacific and Chicago Great Western is each part of the distance within the state of Kansas, while the Burlington and St. Joseph & Grand Island Company is each wholly within the state of Missouri between the two cities. Between St. Joseph and St. Louis two of complainants do practically all the business, which is very large in both passenger and freight. These are the Burlington and Missouri Pacific. Between said cities the Burlington Line is wholly within the state. But the Missouri Pacific line is partly within the state of Kansas, crossing the Missouri river at Atchison, and coming back into the state at Kansas City. On the foregoing facts the finding is that the short line between two competitive points necessarily fixes the rate, and the Missouri statutory rates under the statutes in question fix the rates between the cities named. But this is so solely because of the geographical location of cities and railroads, and competition, and long-time custom. It is not so either because of a statute or any judicial determination by any of the courts of Missouri.

(4) Pending this litigation, each of the complainant companies made and delivered to defendants statements showing the earnings and expenses for certain periods, which statements have been taken by both sides as sufficiently illustrative of the situation for the determination of these cases. The companies extended to the state officers, defendants herein, acting by experts by them selected, the opportunity to examine the statements and the books, papers, vouchers, and records of the companies. The freight rate statute of 1907 (Laws 1907, p. 170) as to commodities mentioned allowed greater rates than did the statute of 1905 (Laws 1905, p. 102 (Ann. St. 1906, Sec. 1194)), assailed by the original bills of complaint herein, and it was conceded at the trial that, if the rates fixed by the act of 1907 were confiscatory, those fixed by the act of 1905 were likewise.

(5) The parties were producing evidence and preparing their evidence for about one year with the aid of experts on each side. These experts were all men of high character and great proficiency as railroad accountants. The experts on each side were given the fullest opportunity and all the time desired to obtain the information and put the same in form in exhibits, schedules, and reports, all of which are in evidence in the cases, supplemented by the oral testimony of each of the experts with reference to all of these things.

(6) It was conceded by the experts that the companies fairly accurately, and honestly kept their books showing the facts in these findings set forth. The experts of the state and of the companies have thereby been enabled to...

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