Page images
PDF
EPUB

commodity rates) then being the same to Spokane as to Portland, Tacoma and Seattle the Commission ordered a reduction of 18 per cent and decided that the rates to Spokane on traffic of kinds not subject to competition when destined to the coast should not exceed 82 per cent of the rates to coast points. The Commission supplemented these conclusions by the following:

“It is quite apparant that a reduction of Spokane rates in compliance with this decision will require some modification in rates to shorter distance points to avoid infraction of the long and short haul clause of the statute. This will especially be the case on the line of the Union Pacific between Pendleton and Spokane, to both of which towns the rates on that road are the same. The lines of the defendants in this territory are practically parallel, the Northern Pacific reaching Pendleton through Spokane, and the Union Pacific reaching Spokane through Pendleton; but whatever embarrassment may result from this situation must be met in the first instance by the railroads themselves.”

The Circuit Court, which was appealed to for the enforcement of the Commission's order, found that it was "so inherently defective that it cannot be enforced” and the Master in Chancery selected to investigate the case reported:

"That the rates from Eastern terminal points to Spokane are reasonable in themselves, and relatively reasonable on all classes of goods."

No appeal from this decision was taken.

Cattle Raisers' Association Case.*

There can be no possible view of the case by which the conclu

sion that the rates were unjust and unreasonable can be sustained. *

the order of the Commission was not sustained by the facts upon which it was predicated.. Decision of the Supreme Court in this case.

On June 1, 1894, a switching charge of $2 was imposed by the railways centering in Chicago upon shipments of cattle and other live stock, destined to that city. The complainant, an association of cattle owners and producers, with members in the States of Texas, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and in the Indian Territory, complained to the Commission that this addition made the rates to Chicago excessive and unreasonable, to the extent of $2. They also asserted that no such charge was made at East St. Louis, Kansas City or Omaha; that there was no switching charge in Chicago on “dead” freight, and that consequently this charge amounted to an unjust discrimination in favor of the other cities named, and also in favor of “dead” freight. The relief asked for was an order commanding the defendants to desist from enforcing this charge and reparation for the amount thus collected from the members of the Association. Those of the defendants whose lines did not reach Chicago, denied that they had any share in the imposition of this switching charge, and declared that they did not receive any portion of it in the division of the through rates. The lines entering Chicago asserted that, previous to June 1, 1894, the Union Stock Yards and Transit Company, in order to attract business to its yards, had rendered service over its tracks without exacting any terminal charge; that at the time the charge was imposed the rate to Chicago had become unreasonably, low; that on and after that date the Stock Yards company insisted upon a trackage payment of from 80 cents to $1.50, and that after paying these charges the balance of the $2 switching charge did not leave enough to pay the actual cost of switching. They denied that there was any illegal discrimination or any violation of the Interstate Commerce law. The Commission, having been admonished by the Supreme Court that its authority does not extend to prescribing a rate for the future (see Interstate Commerce Commission vs. Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas & Pacific, 167 U.S. 479), merely ordered the defendant carriers “to cease and desist” from charging and collecting the charge of $2 but did not refrain from saying that "our judgment is, therefore, that the exaction of a terminal charge of more than $1 per car is in violation of the First and possibly the Third section of the Act, and that the defendants ought not to exact more than this sum.” The order in this case was passed upon successively by the Federal Circuit Court, Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court, and in no case was it approved. The following is from the decision by Judge Kohlsaat, who delivered the opinion of the Circuit Court:

* Cattle Raisers' Association of Texas vs. Fort Worth & Denver City Railway Company and others; Interstate Commerce Commission (7 Inter. Com. Rep. 513), decided January 20, 1898. Interstate Commerce Commission vs. Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company et al.; Circuit Court, Northern District of Illinois, Northern Division (98 Fed. Rep. 173), decided December 4, 1899. Interstate Commerce Commission, Appellant, vs. Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company et al.; Circuit Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit (103 Fed. Rep. 249), decided June 15, 1900. Interstate Commerce Commission, Appellant, vs. Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company et al.; Supreme Court (186 U. S. 320), decided June 2, 1902.

“Prior to the year 1893, the Stock Yards company, which owns or controls the tracks required for the movement of freight between the tracks of the several defendants and the stock yards, had given to the defendants the free use of said trạcks; the carriers being at the expense only of the actual cost of haulage and handling. In 1893 the Stock Yards company assumed the entire work of hauling cars from the intersection of said stock yards tracks with defendants' lines, respectively, to the yards, and charged the defendants therefor on the basis of what it had cost defendants theretofore for the same service. On June 1, 1894, the Stock Yards company added to this sum a trackage charge of 40 cents per car each way, then for the first time imposed. Partly to meet this new expense, and partly to reimburse themselves for the actual outlay theretofore borne by them in delivering at the stock yards, the defendants, respectively, by concerted action, duly filed schedules of new rates to that point, with the commission, as required by the act, whereby they created a rate to points on their lines in Chicago, and a terminal charge to cover the expense of delivering stock from their tracks to the said stock yards. This terminal charge was fixed at $2 per car. The trackage charge above referred to amounted to the sum of 80 cents per car. Thus the former through rate to the stock yards, taking the Chicago and terminal rates together, was arbitrarily increased in the sum of $1.20 per car. Since that time the Chicago rate has been greatly reduced, so that the question now presented is whether the imposition of the terminal charge of $2 upon the theretofore existing Chicago rate was unlawful and unjust.

Upon the hearing of defendants' demurrers to said petition (94 Fed. 272), this court held that it was entirely within the power of petitioner, in a proper case, to require the defendants to cease and refrain from the enforcement of a freight rate which the petitioner found to be unjust and unlawful, even though the Commission has no power to prescribe a rate. Manifestly, if the defendants did effect a segregation of their freight charges from Missouri river and other stock-shipping centers to the Chicago stock yards, so that the Chicago rate did not include the expenses or charges incurred in the delivery at the stock yards from the tracks of defendants, and did make a special rate from their tracks to the stock yards, there can be no question of double charge involved. Unless the one or the other of these charges, in and of itself, is unjust and unlawful, or the same was illegally made, the petitioners' contention must fail. The justness and fairness of the Chicago rate is not called in question in this proceeding.

« PreviousContinue »