Interstate Commerce Commission v. Alabama Midland Railway Company
United States Supreme Court
INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION v. ALABAMA MIDLAND RAILWAY COMPANY
[Syllabus from pages 144-146 intentionally omitted]
On the 27th day of June, 1892, the board of trade of Troy, Ala., filed a complaint before the interstate commerce commission, at Washington, D. C., against the Alabama Midland Railway Company and the Georgia Central Railroad Company and their connections; claiming that, in the rates charged for transportation of property by the railroad companies mentioned, and their connecting lines, there is a discrimination against the town of Troy, in violation of the terms and provisions of the interstate commerce act of congress of 1887.
The general ground of complaint is that, Troy being in active competition for business with Montgomery, the defendant lines of railway unjustly discriminate in their rates against the former, and give the latter an undue preference or advantage, in respect to certain commodities and classes of traffic. The specific charges insisted on at the hearing, and to which the testimony relates, are:
(1) That the Alabama Midland Railway, and the defendant roads, forming lines with it from Baltimore, New York, and the East to Troy and Montgomery, charge and collect a higher rate on shipments of class goods from those cities to Troy than on such shipments through Troy to Montgomery; the latter being the longer-distance point, by 52 miles.
(2) That the Alabama Midland Railway and Georgia Central Railroad and their connections unjustly discriminate against Troy and in favor of Montgomery, in charging and collecting $3.22 per ton to Troy on phosphate rock shipped from the South Carolina and Florida fields, and only $3 per ton on such shipments to Montgomery, the longer-distance point by both of said roads, and that all phosphate rock carried from said fields to Montgomery over the road of the Alabama Midland has to be hauled through Troy.
(3) That the rates on cotton, as established by said two roads and their connections, on shipments to the Atlantic seaports, Brunswick, Savannah, and Charleston, unjustly discriminate against Troy and in favor of Montgomery, in that the rate per 100 ponds from Troy is 47 cents, and that from Montgomery, the longer-distance point, is only 40 cents, and that such shipments from Montgomery over the road of the Alabama Midland have to pass through Troy.
(4) That on shipments for export from Montgomery, and other points within the socalled 'jurisdiction' of the Southern Railway & Steamship Association, to the Atlantic seaports, Brunswick, Savannah, Charleston, West Point, and Norfolk, a lower rate is charged than the regular published tariff rate to such seaports, and that Montgomery and such other points are allowed by the rules of said association to ship through to Liverpool via any of these seaports at the lowest through rates on the day of shipment, which may be less than the sum of the regular published rail rate and the ocean rate via the port of shipment; that this reduction is taken from the published tariff rail rate to the port of shipment; that this privilege being denied to Troy is an unjust discrimination against that town, in favor of Montgomery and such other favored cities; and that it is also a discrimination against shipments which terminate at such seaports, in favor of shipments for export.
(5) That Troy is unjustly discriminated against in being charged on shipments of cotton via Montgomery to New Orleans the full local rate to Montgomery by both the Alabama Midland and Georgia Central.
(6) That the rates on 'class' goods from Western and Northwestern points, established by the defendants forming lines from those points to Troy, are relatively unjust and discriminatory, as against Troy, when compared with the rates over such lines to Montgomery and Columbus.
The commission, having heard this complaint on the evidence theretofore taken, ordered, on the 15th day of August, 1893, the roads participating in the traffic involved in this case 'to cease and desist' from charging, demanding, collecting, or receiving any greater compensation in the aggregate for services rendered in such transportation than is specified as follows, to wit:
(1) On class goods shipped from Louisville, Ky., St. Louis, Mo., or Cincinnati, Ohio, to Troy aforesaid, no higher rate of charge than is now charged and collected on such shipments to Columbus, Ga., and Eufaula, Ala.
(2) On shipments of cotton from Troy aforesaid through Montgomery, Ala., to New Orleans, La., no higher rate of charge than 50 cents per 100 pounds.
(3) On shipments of cotton from Troy aforesaid for export through the Atlantic seaports, to wit, Brunswick, Savannah, Charleston, West Point, or Norfolk, no higher rate of charge to these ports than is charged and collected on such shipments from Montgomery aforesaid.
(4) On shipments of cotton from Troy aforesaid to the ports of Bruswick, Savannah, or Charleston, no higher rate of charge than is charged and collected on such shipments from Montgomery aforesaid through Troy to said ports.
(5) On shipments of class goods from New York, Baltimore, or other Northeastern points to Troy aforesaid, no higher rate of charge than is charged and collected on such shipments through Troy to Montgomery aforesaid.
(6) On shipments of phosphate rock from South Carolina and Florida fields to Troy aforesaid, no higher rate of charge than is charged and collected on such shipments through Troy to Montgomery aforesaid.
The defendants having failed to heed these orders, the commission thereupon filed this bill of complaint in the circuit court of the United States for the Middle district of Alabama, in equity, to compel obedience to the same. On the hearing in said court the bill of complaint was dismissed (69 Fed. 227), and complainant, the interstate commerce commission, appealed the cause to the United States circuit court of appeals for the Fifth judicial circuit, at New Orleans, La. And thereupon, in said last-named court, on the 2d day of June, 1896, the decree of the said circuit court of the United States for the Middle district of Alabama was in all things duly affirmed (21 C. C. A. 51, 74 Fed. 715), and from this judgment and decree the appellant has appealed to this court.
Asst. Atty. Gen. E. B. Whitney, L. A. Shaver, and Geo. F. Edmunds, for appellant.
[Argument of Counsel from pages 149-161 intentionally omitted]
Ed. Baxter and A. A. Wiley, for appellees.
Mr. Justice SHIRAS, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.
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