Allen v. Pullman's Palace Car Company (191 U.S. 171)

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Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

191 U.S. 171

Allen  v.  Pullman's Palace Car Company

 Argued: October 16, 1903. --- Decided: November 16, 1903

This is a writ of error to review the judgment of the circuit court for the middle district of Tennessee in suits brought by the Pullman's Palace Car Company to recover from the state of Tennessee moneys paid under protest for taxes levied and collected by virtue of certain laws of the state requiring the payment of sums for the years 1887 to 1893, inclusive. These statutes are set forth in the opinion. The cases were tried to the court without the intervention of a jury, and separate findings of fact and law were made. From the findings of fact it appears that the Pullman Company, a sleeping car company, operated its cars in Tennessee under a contract with railroad companies traversing the state. These contracts required the Pullman Company to furnish the cars, keep the same in order, and to hire the porters and conductors. The railroad companies paid the Pullman Company for the privileges afforded, furnishing light, heat, and water for the cars, and repairing damages due to accident and casualty. The special finding of facts as to the manner of operation in transporting the cars of the Pullman Company sets forth:

During the years 1887 the company operated sleeping cars, as follows: A car left Nashville and went to Memphis nightly and on this car tickets were sold to passengers from Nashville to Memphis, and not beyond. This car remained in Memphis during the day, returning to Nashville the following night, and going no further. The next night, it went from Nashville by way of Chattanooga to Atlanta, Georgia. It remained in Atlanta during the day, and returned the next night from Atlanta to Memphis. On the trip from Memphis tickets were sold from Nashville to Atlanta and to intermediate points in the state of Tennessee. On the nights the cars left Nashville for Memphis and Atlanta for Nashville, a car left Memphis for Nashville and another left Nashville for Atlanta, selling tickets from Memphis to Nashville and intermediate points, and no further, and from Atlanta and intermediate points to Nashville and no further. The car from Memphis to Nashville went on the trip to Atlanta before making a return trip to Memphis, and the car making the trip from Atlanta to Nashville went on the trip the following night to Memphis before making a return trip to Atlanta. The same cars were not used continuously in this service, but were changed from time to time, there being four cars performing the service at all times.

During the year 1887 the East Tennessee, Virginia, & Georgia Railroad Company ran two sleepers of its own, doing a business between Knoxville and Chattanooga, Tennessee. During the years 1889, 1890, 1891, 1892, and 1893 the company has operated sleeping cars between Nashville and Memphis and Atlanta and Nashville, as above set forth. From 1887, continuously, the Pullman Company has operated its cars on the lines of the Nashville, Chattanooa, & St. Louis Railway, the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, East Tennessee, Virginia, & Georgia Railroad, now the Southern Railway, the Newport News & Mississippi Valley Railroad, Illinois Central Railroad, and Cincinnati Southern Railroad, and all other railroads within the state of Tennessee whereon sleeping cars are used, and has taken up, carried, and put down passengers within the state.

In 1887 sleeping cars were operated during a portion of the year between Nashville and Memphis, and did not pass beyond the limits of the state. It was agreed that, without either party waiving any rights, the plaintiff's claim would be abated $1,234.

The gross receipts of the plaintiff per year from lines running into the state of Tennessee was about $500,000. The gross receipts per year from passengers carried locally in Tennessee was about $25,000.

The cars actually used on all these lines during each year would numver over one hundred.

Messrs. John J. Vertrees and Charles T. Cates, Jr., for plaintiff in error.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 174-176 intentionally omitted]

Messrs. William Burry and J. S. Runnells for defendant in error.

Statement by Mr. Justice Day:

After making the foregoing statement, Mr. Justice Day delivered the opinion of the court:


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).