State v. Jacksonville Terminal Co.

Citation106 So. 576,90 Fla. 721
PartiesSTATE ex rel. BURR et al., State Railroad Commissioners v. JACKSONVILLE TERMINAL CO.
Decision Date04 December 1925
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida

En Banc.

Original suit by the State, on the relation of R. Hudson Burr and others, State Railroad Commissioners, for mandamus to be directed to the Jacksonville Terminal Company.

Peremptory writ denied.

Ellis J., dissenting.

Syllabus by the Court

SYLLABUS

If principles of common law do not forbid unjust discrimination in checking passenger's baggage, such discrimination may be remedied pursuant to organic and statutory provisions whether there is unjust discrimination in checking baggage depends on facts and controlling provisions and principles of law. If the principles of the common law do not forbid unjust discrimination by a common carrier in checking passengers' baggage to destination, such discrimination may be remedied pursuant to organic and statutory provisions if there is in fact and in law an unjust discrimination. Whether there is unjust discrimination depends upon the facts and the controlling provisions and principles of law.

Terminal company not agent of railroads, but distinct corporate entity. The Jacksonville Terminal Company is not a mere agent of employee or contractual instrumentality of several railroad companies, but it is a distinct corporate legal entity that has been chartered pursuant to the laws of the state, and is authorized by its charter to acquire property for the purpose, and to furnish terminal facilities for railroads entering the city of Jacksonville, Fla.

Terminal or union depot companies common carriers, subject to supervision and regulation. By statute all terminal or union depot companies are common carriers, and in rendering the service they are authorized to perform as common carriers they are subject to supervision and regulation by the railroad commissioners, as provided by statute, pursuant to the organic provision on that subject.

If unjust discrimination is practiced by terminal company in checking baggage, several railroad companies over whose lines baggage is checked are not necessary or proper parties respondent in mandamus proceedings. The Jacksonville Terminal Company is a separate common carrier corporation, chartered and authorized to do a terminal business for the railroads that enter its depot, and, it being authorized to check baggage to destination and in fact so doing, if unjust discrimination is practiced by the terminal company, it is not necessary or appropriate that the several railroad companies over whose lines baggage is checked by the terminal company should be made parties respondent in mandamus proceedings to remedy such unjust discrimination.

If unjust discrimination by common carrier in checking baggage is duly alleged in alternative writ, and not negatived by other allegations, motion to quash alternative writ is properly denied. Where an unjust discrimination by a common carrier in checking passengers' baggage to destination in violation of the carrier's duty to the public, is duly alleged in an alternative writ of mandamus, and such allegations are not negatived by other allegations, a motion to quash the alternative writ is properly denied.

Constitution held to require that unjust discrimination, as well as excessive charges, by common carriers be prevented. The Constitution requires that unjust discriminations, as well as excessive charges, by common carriers be prevented.

Railroad commissioners have statutory authority to make rules and regulations applying to terminal railroads; power of railroad commissioners to make rules and regulations concerning terminal railroads includes authority to make regulations respecting receiving, handling, and checking of baggage, and to prevent unjust discrimination. The railroad commissioners have statutory authority to make just and reasonable rules and regulations to be observed by a terminal company in affording appropriate facilities and accommodations to passengers using the terminals. The statutory provisions necessarily include, and are intended to include, authority to make reasonable and just regulations respecting the receipt and handling and checking to destination of baggage of passengers, and to prevent unjust discriminations by the terminal company in receiving, handling, and checking baggage.

Principles of common law are in force, if not in conflict with organic or statute law; rules of both common law and statutes are designed for application to new conditions and circumstances principles of common law are intended to be vitalized by practical utility, subject to organic limitations. The principles of the common law are in force in this state when not in conflict with organic and statute law; and the rules of the common law as well as the statutes are designed for application to new conditions and circumstances, as they may be developed by enlightened commercial and business intercourse, that are within the scope and remedial intent of existing provisions and principles of law. The provisions and principles of law are intended to be vitalized by practical utility, subject to organic limitations.

Common carrier has duty to receive and transport personal baggage of passengers; part of common carrier's duty to receive and transport passengers' personal baggage is handling and checking it without unjust discrimination. One of the duties of a common carrier of passengers is to receive and transport personal baggage of a passenger, and a part of such duty is the furnishing of convenient facilities for receiving handling, and checking baggage without unjust discriminations that affect passengers.

No contract or practice will relieve carrier from common-law duty of serving public efficiently, impartially, and without unjust discrimination. It is the common-law duty of common carriers to serve the public efficiently and impartially, and without unreasonable discrimination in any respect, and no contract or practice to the contrary will relieve a carrier of the duty to serve the public without unjust discrimination.

Any contract, usage, custom, or practice by common carrier held subject to lawful governmental rules and regulations. Any contract made, and any usage, custom, or practice observed, by a common carrier that has immediate relation to the duties of the carrier to its patrons among the public, though it may be binding as between the parties, is, under the Constitution and laws of this state, subject to lawful governmental rules and regulations of the business of the common carrier. But this principle is confined to matters that directly and materially affect the public interests.

Binding contract by public utility company may be enforced, unless relieved by state in interests of public. A binding contract by a public utility company may be enforced against the utility company, unless relieved by the state in the interests of the public. But there must be a binding contract that is not forbidden by any provision of controlling law.

Railroad commission may regulate handling and checking to destination of passengers' baggage by terminal railroad company, in absence of assertion of Congress' authority, if state regulations do not materially burden interstate commerce. The state, though its Railroad Commission, may duly regulate the handling and checking to destination of passengers' baggage by terminal company common carriers, where the authority of Congress in the premises has not been asserted or exerted, and the state regulations do not materially burden interstate commerce.

Requirements of orders, rules, and regulations of railroad commissioners stated; orders, rules, and regulations of railroad commissioners held subject to appropriate judicial review. Orders, rules, and regulations of the railroad commissioners are administrative in their nature, and though they are by statute made prima facie reasonable and just, yet to be enforced by the courts when violated they must be within the scope and intent of the authority conferred by statute, must be in accord with applicable organic provisions and limitations, and must be reasonable and just with reference to all rights materially affected thereby. Such orders, rules, and regulations are not final adjudications, and they are subject to appropriate judicial review for the protection of organic or substantial rights.

Liability of common carrier for baggage of passenger commences with delivery to, and acceptance by, carrier. The liability of a common carrier as such for the baggage of a passenger commences with the delivery of such baggage to, and the express or implied acceptance by, the carrier, and not before.

Special concessions allowed transfer agents by common carriers of passengers may not be exercised so as to cause unjust discrimination. In some cases special concessions may lawfully be allowed transfer agents by common carriers of passengers; yet such privileges will not be permitted to be so exercised as to cause unjust discrimination affecting passengers.

Supervision and regulation of business of common carriers held within state's powers as to intrastate business, if lawful federal authority is not dominant; power of state to regulate and supervise common carriers may be lawfully exerted through administrative officers, commissions, or boards. While the right to the management and control of the property of common carriers is inherent in the carriers who own or operate the property, yet, because of the nature of the service rendered and the immediate interest of the public therein, supervision and regulation of the operation and of the business done as common carriers are within the powers of the state as to intrastate business, when lawful federal...

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