United States v. Standard Oil Co. of Indiana

CourtUnited States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
Citation155 F. 305
PartiesUNITED STATES v. STANDARD OIL CO. OF INDIANA.
Decision Date03 August 1907

155 F. 305

UNITED STATES
v.
STANDARD OIL CO. OF INDIANA.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois.

August 3, 1907


[155 F. 306]

Edwin W. Sims, U.S. Atty., and James H. Wilkerson and Harry A. Parkin, Sp. Asst. U.S. Attys.

John S. Miller, Virgil P. Kline, Alfred D. Eddy, Moritz Rosenthal, and Chauncey W. Martyn, for defendant.

LANDIS, District Judge.

This is a prosecution of the Standard Oil Company of Indiana for alleged violations of the act approved February 19, 1903, c. 708, 32 Stat. 847 (U.S. Comp. St. Supp. 1905, p. 599), known as the 'Elkins' Law.' The charge is that the defendant's property was transported by the Chicago & Alton Railway Company at rates less than those named in the carrier's tariff schedules published and filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission, as required by law. The offenses are alleged to have been committed during the period from September 1, 1903, to March 1, 1905. The indictment contains 1,903 counts, each charging the movement of a car of oil. Certain of the transportation is alleged to have been from Whiting, Ind., to East St. Louis, Ill., the remaining counts covering transportation from Chappell, Ill., to St. Louis, Mo. The plea was 'not guilty.' On the trial 441 counts were withdrawn from the consideration of the jury on grounds not going to the ultimate questions involved in the case. On 1,462 counts the verdict was 'guilty.' Motions for a new trial and in arrest of judgment having been overruled, the matter is now before the court for the imposition of the penalty authorized by law.

The statute is as follows:

'And it shall be unlawful for any person, persons or corporation to offer, grant or give, or to solicit, accept, or receive any rebate, concession, or discrimination in respect of the transportation of any property in interstate or foreign commerce by any common carrier subject to said act to regulate commerce and the acts amendatory thereto whereby any such property shall by any device whatever be transported at a less rate than that named in the tariffs published and filed by such carrier as is required by said act to regulate commerce and the acts amendatory thereto or whereby any other advantage is given or discrimination is practiced. Every person or corporation who shall offer grant, or give or solicit, accept or receive any such rebates, concession or discrimination shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars nor more than twenty thousand dollars.' [155 F. 307] The provisions requiring the publication and filing of tariff schedules are as follows:
'Every common carrier subject to the provisions of this act shall print and keep open to public inspection schedules showing the rates and fares and charges for the transportation of passengers and property which any such common carrier has established and which are in force at the time upon its route. The schedules printed as aforesaid by any such common carrier shall plainly state the places upon its railroad between which property and passengers will be carried, and shall contain the classification of freight in force, and shall also state separately the terminal charges and any rules or regulations which in anywise change, affect, or determine any part or the aggregate of such aforesaid rates and fares and charges. Such schedules shall be plainly printed in large type, and copies for the use of the public shall be posted in two public and conspicuous places in every depot, station or office of such carrier where passengers or freight, respectively, are received for transportation in such form that they shall be accessible to the public, and can be conveniently inspected.
'Every common carrier subject to the provisions of this act shall file with the commission hereinafter provided for copies of its schedules of rates, fares and charges which have been established and published in compliance with the requirements of this section, and shall promptly notify said commission of all changes made in the same.'

It was proven on the trial that the defendant, a corporation of Indiana, operates an oil refinery at Whiting, Ind.; that the Chicago & Alton Railway Company, a corporation of Illinois, operates a line of railroad from Chicago to East St. Louis, Ill.; that the Chicago Terminal Transfer Railroad Company operates a switching road from Whiting across the state line into Illinois, intersecting the Alton road at a station called Chappell, a short distance from Chicago; that there are three companies operating terminal roads from East St. Louis, Ill., across the Mississippi river to St. Louis, Mo.; that prior to the occurrences upon which this prosecution is based the Chicago & Alton Company had filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission and distributed to its various freight agencies tariff schedules showing the rate for the transportation of oil in car lots from Whiting, Ind., to East St. Louis to be 18 cents per 100 pounds and the rate for like transportation from Chappell to St. Louis, Mo., to be 19 1/2 cents per 100 pounds. These schedules were as follows: Class tariff No. 24 issued by a number of carriers, including the Alton, operating between Chicago and East St. Louis naming a rate of 18 cents per 100 pounds on oil from Chicago to East St. Louis; a joint tariff of the Chicago Terminal and Alton companies providing that the rate from Whiting to East St. Louis shall be the same as the rate from Chicago to East St. Louis, and specifically enumerating class tariff No. 24 above mentioned; schedules of the three St. Louis terminal companies fixing a rate of 1 1/2 cents per 100 pounds from East St. Louis to St. Louis.

It also appeared that the shipments were made over the route covered by these schedules; that is to say, from Whiting to Chappell via the Chicago Terminal road, from Chappell to East St. Louis via the Chicago & Alton road, and from East St. Louis to St. Louis over the lines of the three St. Louis terminal companies. For this service the defendant paid the Alton 6 cents per 100 pounds on the traffic to East St. Louis and 7 1/2 cents for the shipments to St. Louis, bills at [155 F. 308] these rates being rendered by the Alton Company to the defendant semimonthly. Out of the moneys it received from the defendant the Alton Company paid the terminal companies for their part of the service. With these terminal companies the defendant had no relations whatever save only that the shipments were delivered to the Chicago Terminal Company at Whiting, the point of origin. At no time did the defendant apply to either of these companies for a rate covering the service they performed, nor did they render any bills to the defendant. Their dealings were exclusively with the Chicago & Alton Company, to which company, as the defendant's testimony showed, it applied for the through rate from Whiting to destination.

On these facts the court denied defendant's motion that the jury be peremptorily directed to return a verdict of not guilty. Whereupon, as justifying and excusing the use of the 6-cent rate, the defendant's traffic manager testified that in December, 1902, 1903, and 1904, he applied to the chief rate clerk at the office of the general freight agent of the Chicago & Alton Company for the rate on oil from Whiting to East St. Louis for each succeeding year; that on each occasion the clerk handed him a document purporting on its face to be a special billing order, as follows:

'The Chicago & Alton Railway Company.
'Traffic Department.
'Special Billing Order.
'Issued . . . . Effective Jan. 1, 1903.
'From . . . , Chicago, Ill.
'To Alton Granite City and East St. Louis, Ill. via . . . .
'On oil and Petroleum Products C L in tank cars. Rate 6 cents per cwt.
'Expires Dec. 31, 1903. Unless sooner revoked.
'Collection to be made through Auditor's office.

Chas. A. King, 'General Freight Agent.'

This witness also stated that when these special billing orders were delivered to him he received from the rate clerk an Alton tariff schedule called an 'application sheet,' applying Chicago and East St. Louis rates to similar traffic from Whiting to East St. Louis; that at each of said times the traffic manager inquired of the rate clerk whether the rate had been filed, and was assured by him that it had; that the traffic manager was thus misled by the rate clerk into the honest belief that the rate of 6 cents per 100 pounds as shown by the special billing order from Chicago to East St. Louis had been filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission, and that, acting in this honest belief, payments at the 6-cent rate to East St. Louis and 7 1/2 cents to St. Louis were made. This special billing order was not and did not purport to have been filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission, nor was it distributed by the Alton Company to any freight agent for use in quoting rates to the general shipping public, with the single exception that, as the rate clerk testified, a copy was retained in the tariff files at the general freight office. Nor did the application sheet contain any reference to the special billing order, but it did specifically enumerate the Chicago-East St. Louis tariff 24 above mentioned, which tariff 24 showed the Chicago-East St. Louis rate to be 18 cents per 100 pounds. This alleged occurrence between the [155 F. 309] traffic manager and the rate clerk will receive more detailed consideration hereafter.

It is the position of the defendant that the Elkins' law and certain pertinent portions of the Interstate Commerce Law of February 4, 1887, c. 104, 24 Stat. 379 (U.S. Comp. St. 1901, p. 3154), are unconstitutional for the following reasons: First, that the defendant has a natural, inherent right to make a private contract for a...

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8 practice notes
  • Mississippi Cent R. Co. v. Knight, 24615
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • 30 Marzo 1925
    ...R. Co. of Chicago v. United States, 93 C. C. A. 666, 168 F. 542, 22 L. R. A. (N. S.) 582; United States v. Standard Oil Co. of Indiana, 155 F. 305; United States v. Chicago Great Western Ry. Co., [138 Miss. 624] 162 F. 775; United States v. Northern Pac. Terminal B. Co., 144 F. 861; Western......
  • Yakus v. United States Rottenberg v. Same, Nos. 374
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 27 Marzo 1944
    ...158 F. 536, 539—541; Lehigh Valley R. Co. v. United States, 3 Cir., 188 F. 879, 887, 888. See also United States v. Standard Oil Co., D.C., 155 F. 305, 309, 310, reversed on other grounds, 7 Cir., 164 F. 376. Compare Pennsylvania R. Co. v. International Coal Min. Co., 230 U.S. 184, 196, 197......
  • Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway Company v. Blind, 21,719
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • 26 Mayo 1914
    ...for that reason. Priddy v. Wabash R. Co. (1913), 179 Ind. 483, 101 N.E. 724, and cases cited; United States v. Standard Oil Co. (1907), 155 F. 305, 313; Poor v. Chicago, etc., R. Co. (1907), 12 Interst. Com. R. 418. The first paragraph of answer alleges reception of the mare for transportat......
  • Am. Fid. & Cas. Co Inc v. Thompson, No. 31290.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 5 Septiembre 1946
    ...commerce with respect to such shipment although its line may lie wholly within one state. United States v. Standard Oil Co, D.C., 155 F. 305. A railroad whose own line did not extend beyond the limits of a state, but which connected with other lines which did extend beyond the state, and wh......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • Mississippi Cent R. Co. v. Knight, 24615
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • 30 Marzo 1925
    ...R. Co. of Chicago v. United States, 93 C. C. A. 666, 168 F. 542, 22 L. R. A. (N. S.) 582; United States v. Standard Oil Co. of Indiana, 155 F. 305; United States v. Chicago Great Western Ry. Co., [138 Miss. 624] 162 F. 775; United States v. Northern Pac. Terminal B. Co., 144 F. 861; Western......
  • Yakus v. United States Rottenberg v. Same, Nos. 374
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 27 Marzo 1944
    ...158 F. 536, 539—541; Lehigh Valley R. Co. v. United States, 3 Cir., 188 F. 879, 887, 888. See also United States v. Standard Oil Co., D.C., 155 F. 305, 309, 310, reversed on other grounds, 7 Cir., 164 F. 376. Compare Pennsylvania R. Co. v. International Coal Min. Co., 230 U.S. 184, 196, 197......
  • Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway Company v. Blind, 21,719
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • 26 Mayo 1914
    ...for that reason. Priddy v. Wabash R. Co. (1913), 179 Ind. 483, 101 N.E. 724, and cases cited; United States v. Standard Oil Co. (1907), 155 F. 305, 313; Poor v. Chicago, etc., R. Co. (1907), 12 Interst. Com. R. 418. The first paragraph of answer alleges reception of the mare for transportat......
  • Am. Fid. & Cas. Co Inc v. Thompson, No. 31290.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 5 Septiembre 1946
    ...commerce with respect to such shipment although its line may lie wholly within one state. United States v. Standard Oil Co, D.C., 155 F. 305. A railroad whose own line did not extend beyond the limits of a state, but which connected with other lines which did extend beyond the state, and wh......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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