United States v. Reading Co Reading Co v. United States 10, 11 1916, Nos. 3

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtCLARKE
Citation64 L.Ed. 760,40 S.Ct. 425,253 U.S. 26
Docket NumberNos. 3,4
Decision Date21 May 1917
PartiesUNITED STATES v. READING CO. et al. READING CO. et al. v. UNITED STATES. Argued Oct. 10, 11, 1916. Restored for Reargument

253 U.S. 26
40 S.Ct. 425
64 L.Ed. 760
UNITED STATES

v.

READING CO. et al. READING CO. et al. v. UNITED STATES.

Nos. 3, 4.
Argued Oct. 10, 11, 1916.
Restored for Reargument May 21, 1917.
Reargued Nov. 20, 21, 1917.
Restored for Reargument June 10, 1918.
Reargued Oct. 7, 1919.
Decided April 26, 1920.

[Syllabus from pages 26-29 intentionally omitted]

Motion to modify decrees denied 253 U. S. 478, 46 Sup. Ct. 585, 64 L. Ed. ——.

Page 29

Messrs. Solicitors General Davis and King and G. Carroll Todd, of Washington, D. C. (Mr. T. W. Gregory, Atty. Gen., on the brief), for the United States.

Mr. Jackson E. Reynolds, of New York City, argued and filed briefs for the several Reading Company defendants.

Mr. Robert W. De Forest, of New York City, argued orally for defendant Central R. R. Co. of New Jersey.

Messrs. Henry S. Drinker, Jr., and Abraham M. Beitler, both of Philadelphia, Pa., filed brief for Lehigh Coal & Navigation Co.

Messrs. Charles Heebner and William Clarke Mason, both of Philadelphia, Pa., filed brief for Philadelphia & Reading Ry. Co.

Page 30

Mr. John J. Beattie, of Warwick, N. Y., filed brief for Lehigh & Hudson River Ry. Co.

Mr. William J. Turner, of Philadelphia, Pa., filed brief for Lehigh & New England Ry. Co.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 30-40 intentionally omitted]

Page 40

Mr. Justice CLARKE delivered the opinion of the Court.

These are appeals from a decree entered in a suit instituted by the government to dissolve the intercorporate relations existing between the corporation defendants, for the alleged reason that through such relations they

Page 41

constitute a combination in restraint of interstate commerce in anthracite coal, and an attempt to monopolize or a monopolization of such trade and commerce in violation of the first and second sections of the Anti-Trust Act of Congress, of July 2, 1890 (26 Stat. 209 [Comp. St. §§ 8820, 8821]); and also for the alleged reason that the defendants, Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company and Central Railroad Company of New Jersey, are violating the commodities clause of the act of Congress of June 29, 1906 (34 Stat. 585 [Comp. Stat. § 8563(6)]) by transporting over their lines of railroad, in interstate commerce, coal mined or purchased by coal companies with which they are associated by stock ownership.

It will contribute to brevity and clearness to designate the defendant corporations as follows: Reading Company, as Holding Company; Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company as Reading Railway Company; Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Company, as Reading Coal Comapny; Central Railroad Company of New Jersey, as Central Railroad Company; Lehigh & Wilkes-Barre Coal Company as Wilkes-Barre Company; Lehigh Coal & Navigation Cm pany as Navigation Company.

Practically all of the anthracite coal in this country is found in Northeastern Pennsylvania, in three limited and substantially parallel deposits, located in valleys which are separated by mountainous country. For trade purposes these coal areas are designated: The most northerly, as the Wyoming field, estimated to contain about 176 square miles of coal; the next southerly, as the Middle or Lehigh field, estimated to contain about 45 square miles, and the most southerly, as the Schuylkill field, estimated to contain about 263 square miles of coal.

The annual production of the mines in these three fields in 1896 was about 43,640,000 tons and in 1913 it slightly exceeded 71,000,000 tons. The chief marketing centers for this great tonnage of coal are New York, distant by rail from the fields about 140 miles, and Philadelphia, distant

Page 42

about 90 miles. From these cities it is widely distributed by rail and water throughout New York and New England, and to some extent, through the South.

Such a large tonnage was naturally attractive to railroad carriers, with the result that the Wyoming field has six outlets by rail to New York harbor, viz.: The Central Railroad of New Jersey and five others, known as initial anthracite carriers. The Lehigh field has three such rail outlets, but the largest, the Schuylkill field, has only two direct rail connections with Philadelphia and New York, viz.: The Reading and the Pennsylvania Railroads. Outlets by canal to Philadelphia and tidewater, at one time important, may here be neglected.

This description of the subject-matter and of its relation to the interstate transportation system of the country will suffice for the purposes of this opinion. It may be found in much greater detail in the cases cited in the margin.1

The essential claims of the government in the case have become narrowed to these, viz.:

First. That the ownership by the Holding Company of controlling interests in the shares of the capital stocks of the Reading Railway Company, of the Reading Coal Company and of the Central Railroad Company, constitutes a combination in restraint of interstate trade and commerce and an attempt to monopolize and a monopolization of a part of the same in violation of the Anti-Trust Act of July 2, 1890.

Second. That the Holding Company in itself constitutes a like violation of the act.

Third. That certain covenants and agreements between the Central Railroad Company and the Navigation Company

Page 43

contained in a lease, by the latter to the former, of the Lehigh & Susquehanna Railroad, constitute a like violation of the act.

Fourth. That the transportation in interstate commerce by the Reading Railway Company and by the Central Railroad Company, of coal mined or purchased by the coal companies affiliated with each of them, constitutes a violation of the commodities clause of the Act to Regulate Commerce.

Pursuant to the provisions of the act of June 25, 1910 (36 Stat. 854 [Comp. St. § 8824]), the case was heard by three Circuit Judges of the Third circuit, who while holding against the contention of the government on many of the prayers for relief in the bill, some generally and some without prejudice, also held that the Reading Coal Compamy and the Wilkes-Barre Coal Company were naturally competitive producers and sellers of anthracite coal, and that their union through the Holding Company and the Central Company constituted a combination in restraint of trade within the Anti-Trust Act, and for this reason the Cenr al Company was ordered to dispose of all the stock, bonds, and other securities of the Wilkes-Barre Coal Company owned by it, and was enjoined from requiring the Coal Company to ship its coal over the lines of the Central Company.

The court also held that clauses in mining leases by the Reading Coal Company and by the Wilkes-Barre Coal Company, and their subsidiaries, requiring the lessees to ship all coal produced, over roads, named or to be designated, were unlawful and void.

The case has been appealed by both parties, and is before us for review on all of the issues as we have thus stated them.

Reference to the history of the properties now controlled by the Holding Company will be of value for the assistance it will be in determining the intent and purpose

Page 44

with which the combinations here assailed were formed. Standard Oil Co. v. United States, 221 U. S. 1, 46, 76, 31 Sup. Ct. 502, 55 L. Ed. 619, 34 L. R. A. (N. S.) 834, Ann. Cas. 1912D, 734.

The Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company was chartered by special act of the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1833 (P. L. 144), and it conducted the business of a railroad carrier prosperously for about 30 years, when, as its annual reports show, it embarked upon the policy of attempting to control the anthracite tonnage of the Schuylkill field by acquiring extensive ownership of coal lands. Thus, the report of the company for 1870 contains the following:

'Up to this time about 70,000 acres of the best anthracite coal lands in Pennsylvania have been acquired and will be held by an auxiliary company known as the Philadelphia & Reading Coal and Iron Company of which the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company is the only stockholder. The result of this action has been to sencure—and attach to the company's railroad—a body of coal land capable of supplying all the coal tonnage that can possibly be transported over the road for centuries.'

And this is from the report for 1880:

'The transportation of coal has always been a source of great profit to the railroad company and the only doubt in the past as to the permanency of the earning power of the company as a transporter was due to the fear that rival companies would tap the Schuylkill region and divert the coal tonnage to their own lines. This danger was happily averted by the purchase of the coal lands.'

And this from the report of 1881:

'The coal estates of the Philadelphia & Reading Company * * * consist of 91,149 acres (142 square miles) of coal lands, which is sixty per cent of all the anthracite lands in the Schuylkill district, and thirty per cent of all in Pennsylvania.'

This area of coal lands had increased by 1891 to 102,573 acres, of which the report said:

Page 45

'The coal lands comprise in extent about thirty-three per cent of the entire anthracite coal fields of the state, and taking into account the aggregate thickness of the veins on the company's lands, and the greater proportionate depletion of the estates in the other regions which has been going on for many years, it must be conceded that we have at least fifty per cent of the entire deposit remaining unmined.'

As if in further pursuit of this now settled purpose, in the following year, 1892, the Reading Railroad Company leased the Lehigh Valley Railroad and the Central Railroad of New Jersey for 999 years. These were both anthracite carriers, competing with the Reading and each had an important coal mining subsidiary company. But the lease by the Central Railroad Company was assailed in the New Jersey courts and all operations under it were enjoined, with the result that both leases...

To continue reading

Request your trial
148 practice notes
  • United States v. Schneiderman, Cr. No. 22131.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • August 19, 1952
    ...1943, 137 F.2d 369, 381-382 certiorari denied, 1948, 320 U.S. 788, 64 S.Ct. 195, 88 L.Ed. 474; cf. United States v. Reading Co., 1920, 253 U.S. 26, 43-45 40 S.Ct. 425, 64 L.Ed. 760; Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States, 1911, 221 U.S. 1, 46-47, 31 S.Ct. 502, 55 L.Ed. 619; United ......
  • United States v. Standard Oil Co., Civ. No. 6159-Y.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • June 28, 1948
    ...but was the primary object of the combination. The theory of the complaint, to borrow language from United States v. Reading Co., 253 U.S. 26, 57, 40 S.Ct. 425, 432, 64 L.Ed. 760, is that "dominating power" over the cab operating companies "was not obtained by normal expansion to meet the d......
  • SFA Folio Collections, Inc. v. Bannon, No. 14023
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • January 22, 1991
    ...notion of the separate identity of corporations for narrow purposes and in limited situations[;] see, e.g. United States v. Reading Co., 253 U.S. 26, 62-63, 40 S.Ct. 425, 434, 64 L.Ed. 760 (1920) (where subsidiary is mere agent or instrumentality of parent, separate corporate existence of s......
  • May Department Stores Co. v. Union E.L. & P. Co., No. 34288.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 30, 1937
    ...35 Sup. Ct. 873; Chicago, M. & St. P. Railroad Co. v. Minneapolis C. Assn., 247 U.S. 500, 38 Sup. Ct. 553; United States v. Reading Co., 253 U.S. 26, 62, 40 Sup. Ct. 434; Central Republic Bank v. Caldwell, 58 Fed. (2d) 734; Powell on Parent & Subsidiary Corps., sec. 27, p. 107. (a) The fact......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
144 cases
  • United States v. Schneiderman, Cr. No. 22131.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • August 19, 1952
    ...1943, 137 F.2d 369, 381-382 certiorari denied, 1948, 320 U.S. 788, 64 S.Ct. 195, 88 L.Ed. 474; cf. United States v. Reading Co., 1920, 253 U.S. 26, 43-45 40 S.Ct. 425, 64 L.Ed. 760; Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States, 1911, 221 U.S. 1, 46-47, 31 S.Ct. 502, 55 L.Ed. 619; United ......
  • United States v. Standard Oil Co., Civ. No. 6159-Y.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • June 28, 1948
    ...but was the primary object of the combination. The theory of the complaint, to borrow language from United States v. Reading Co., 253 U.S. 26, 57, 40 S.Ct. 425, 432, 64 L.Ed. 760, is that "dominating power" over the cab operating companies "was not obtained by normal expansion to meet the d......
  • SFA Folio Collections, Inc. v. Bannon, No. 14023
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • January 22, 1991
    ...notion of the separate identity of corporations for narrow purposes and in limited situations[;] see, e.g. United States v. Reading Co., 253 U.S. 26, 62-63, 40 S.Ct. 425, 434, 64 L.Ed. 760 (1920) (where subsidiary is mere agent or instrumentality of parent, separate corporate existence of s......
  • May Department Stores Co. v. Union E.L. & P. Co., No. 34288.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 30, 1937
    ...35 Sup. Ct. 873; Chicago, M. & St. P. Railroad Co. v. Minneapolis C. Assn., 247 U.S. 500, 38 Sup. Ct. 553; United States v. Reading Co., 253 U.S. 26, 62, 40 Sup. Ct. 434; Central Republic Bank v. Caldwell, 58 Fed. (2d) 734; Powell on Parent & Subsidiary Corps., sec. 27, p. 107. (a) The fact......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
4 books & journal articles
  • Monopolization by Regulated “Monopolies”: The Search for Substantive Standards
    • United States
    • Antitrust Bulletin Nbr. 22-3, September 1977
    • September 1, 1977
    ...Tobacco Co. v.United States, 328 U.S. 781(1946);United States v. CrescentAmusementCo., 323 U.S. 173(1944);UnitedStatesv. Reading Co.,253 U.S. 26 (1920). See also Telex Corp. v.IBM,510F.2d894 REGULATEDMONOPOLIES591Cir.1975), petition for eeri. dismissed, 423 U.S. 802 (1975); C. Ka)'-senandD.......
  • Compliance with Divestiture Orders under Section 7 of the Clayton Act: An Analysis of the Relief Obtained
    • United States
    • Antitrust Bulletin Nbr. 17-1, March 1972
    • March 1, 1972
    ...Co. v. United States, 193 U.S. 197(1904); United States v. Union Pacific Railway Co., 226 U.S. 61(1912); United States v. Reading c«, 253 U.S. 26 (1920); UnitedStates v. Southern Pacific Co., 259 U.S. 214 (1922).174StandardOil Co. of New Jersey v. United States, 221 U.S. 1(1911).175United S......
  • The Development of the Anthracite Combination
    • United States
    • ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, The Nbr. 111-1, January 1924
    • January 1, 1924
    ...The Alleged Coal Combination of the Phila- V, pp. 1077, 1107. delphia and Reading Railroad Company, etc., 22 U. S . v. Reading Company , 253 U. S. 26, House Reports, No. 2278, 52d Congress, gives a detailed description of this reorganization, Session (1893), pp. iv-vi. Industrial Commission......
  • The Merger Movement in the Motion Picture Industry
    • United States
    • ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, The Nbr. 147-1, January 1930
    • January 1, 1930
    ...been relieved from the United Shoe Machinery Co., 247 U. S. 32 (1918);U. S. v. prohibitions imposed by the anti-trust Reading Co. et al., 253 U. S. 26 (1920); U. S. v. U. S. Steel laws. This has been Corporation, 251 U. S. 417 brought about by (1920); U. S. v. United Shoe Machinery Co., 258......

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