United States v. Benmar Transport and Leasing Corp, No. 78-1602

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM; MARSHALL
Citation62 L.Ed.2d 5,444 U.S. 4,100 S.Ct. 16
Docket NumberNo. 78-1602
Decision Date15 October 1979
PartiesUNITED STATES et al. v. BENMAR TRANSPORT AND LEASING CORP. et al

444 U.S. 4
100 S.Ct. 16
62 L.Ed.2d 5
UNITED STATES et al.

v.

BENMAR TRANSPORT AND LEASING CORP. et al.

No. 78-1602.
Oct. 15, 1979.

PER CURIAM.

This case is here on certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which set aside an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission authorizing respondent Consolidated Truck Service, Inc., to begin contract carrier service in competition with respondent Benmar Transport & Leasing Corp. The order, issued October 5, 1977, was defective because it lacked the statutorily required finding that it was consistent " 'with the public interest and with the national transportation policy,' [210] of the Interstate Commerce Act, 49 U.S.C. § 310 [now 49 U.S.C. § 10930(a) (1976 ed., Supp. II)]." Benmar Transport & Leasing Corp. v. ICC, 582 F.2d 246, 248 (1978).

The case was arqued in the Court of Appeals on July 17, 1978, and decided August 16, 1978. In reaching its decision,

Page 5

the Court of Appeals refused to consider two subsequent Commission orders that remedied the defect. The first of these orders, issued with the consent of all interested parties almost six months before oral argument in the Court of Appeals, reopened the administrative proceedings and made the finding required by 49 U.S.C. § 310. The second, issued on April 18, 1978, denied respondent Benmar's petition for administrative review of the former order. This denial became the Commission's final administrative order and had the effect of reaffirming its earlier decision to grant Consolidated's application for a contract carrier permit. Although the question briefed by the parties in the Court of Appeals was whether the order of April 18, 1978, was supported by the evidence, the Court of Appeals declined to examine the question on the ground that the only order properly before it was the defective order of October 5, 1977. It thus vacated the order and remanded the case for further proceedings.

We grant the petition of the United States and the Commission and reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals. In American Farm Lines v. Black Ball Freight Service, 397 U.S. 532, 90 S.Ct. 1288, 25 L.Ed.2d 547 (1970), this Court held that the Commission's broad powers to "reverse, change, or modify" its decisions "are plainly adequate to add to the findings or firm them up as the Commission deems desirable, absent any collision or interference with the District Court." Id., at 541, 90 S.Ct., at 1293. (The applicable statute then provided for review of orders of the Commission by a three-judge District Court, rather than by the Court of Appeals.) Here the Commission's action did not interfere in any manner with the proceedings in the Court of Appeals, and the Commission acted before that court was ready to hear arguments on the merits and before it received the record. All parties concurred in the Commission's decision to reopen the proceedings and to hold judicial review in abeyance pending the Commission's final disposition of Benmar's petition for administrative review. The position of the

Page 6

parties—both those who prevailed and those who lost before the Commission—is convincingly demonstrated by the fact that no party has filed a brief in support of the decision reached by the Court of Appeals.

As the Court said in American Farm Lines, supra, "[t]he concept 'of an indivisible jurisdiction which must be all in one tribunal or all in the other may fit' some statutory schemes, . . . but it does not fit this one." 397 U.S., at 541, 90 S.Ct., at 1293-1294. After the abolition of the "forms of action" in the early common law, it was said that "[t]he forms of action we have buried, but they still rule us from their graves." F. Maitland, The Forms of Action at Common Law 2 (1936). Orderly rules of procedure are necessary in order that appellate review may be had of agency findings, but empty formalities devoid of either substantive or procedural benefit have no place in the normal scheme for administrative review unless Congress chooses to place them there. Here Congress has quite clearly not chosen to impose such virtually meaningless requirements as the Court of Appeals insisted upon.* The judgment of the Court

Page 7

of Appeals is inconsistent with the spirit which animated American Farm Lines v. Black Ball Freight Service, supra, and is therefore

Reversed.

Mr. Justice MARSHALL, dissenting.

The Court today summarily reverses the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit setting aside an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission which concededly lacked a statutorily required finding. The Court takes this action because of two subsequent orders...

To continue reading

Request your trial
10 practice notes
  • P.G. & H. Coal Co., Inc. v. International Union, United Mine Workers of America, No. 17516
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • November 23, 1988
    ...with their fundamental agreement of association." 11 The Supreme Court in note 5 of Carbon Fuel, 444 U.S. at 217, 100 S.Ct. at 413, 62 L.Ed.2d at 5, stated: "An international union, of course, is responsible under § 301 for any authorized strike if such strike violates any term of the contr......
  • Process Gas Consumers Group v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Nos. 79-1336
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • October 1, 1982
    ...we can, however, look to subsequently issued orders to remedy that defect. See, e. g., United States v. Benmar Transp. & Leasing Corp., 444 U.S. 4, 100 S.Ct. 16, 62 L.Ed.2d 5 (1979) (lack of statutorily required finding of consistency with "public interest and with the national transportati......
  • Waste Management of Illinois, Inc. v. Illinois Pollution Control Bd., No. 1-89-2541
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • July 20, 1990
    ...scheme for administrative review unless Congress chooses to place them there." (United States v. Benmar Transport & Leasing Corp. (1979), 444 U.S. 4, 7, 100 S.Ct. 16, 18, 62 L.Ed.2d 5 (after a petition for judicial review had been filed in court, the agency could properly grant a motion for......
  • Hunt v. Mobil Oil Corp., No. 75 Civ. 1160.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • February 15, 1983
    ...should not be construed in such a manner as to render them meaningless or futile. See United States v. Denmar Transportation & Leasing Co., 444 U.S. 4, 6, 100 S.Ct. 16, 17, 62 L.Ed. 5 (1979); Donovan v. City of Dallas, 377 U.S. 408, 418, 84 S.Ct. 1579, 1585, 12 L.Ed.2d 409 (1964) (Harlan, J......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
10 cases
  • Process Gas Consumers Group v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Nos. 79-1336
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • October 1, 1982
    ...we can, however, look to subsequently issued orders to remedy that defect. See, e. g., United States v. Benmar Transp. & Leasing Corp., 444 U.S. 4, 100 S.Ct. 16, 62 L.Ed.2d 5 (1979) (lack of statutorily required finding of consistency with "public interest and with the national tra......
  • P.G. & H. Coal Co., Inc. v. International Union, United Mine Workers of America, No. 17516
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • November 23, 1988
    ...with their fundamental agreement of association." 11 The Supreme Court in note 5 of Carbon Fuel, 444 U.S. at 217, 100 S.Ct. at 413, 62 L.Ed.2d at 5, stated: "An international union, of course, is responsible under § 301 for any authorized strike if such strike violates any term of......
  • Waste Management of Illinois, Inc. v. Illinois Pollution Control Bd., No. 1-89-2541
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • July 20, 1990
    ...for administrative review unless Congress chooses to place them there." (United States v. Benmar Transport & Leasing Corp. (1979), 444 U.S. 4, 7, 100 S.Ct. 16, 18, 62 L.Ed.2d 5 (after a petition for judicial review had been filed in court, the agency could properly grant a motion f......
  • Hunt v. Mobil Oil Corp., No. 75 Civ. 1160.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • February 15, 1983
    ...not be construed in such a manner as to render them meaningless or futile. See United States v. Denmar Transportation & Leasing Co., 444 U.S. 4, 6, 100 S.Ct. 16, 17, 62 L.Ed. 5 (1979); Donovan v. City of Dallas, 377 U.S. 408, 418, 84 S.Ct. 1579, 1585, 12 L.Ed.2d 409 (1964) (Harlan, J., ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT