Reagan v. Farmers' Loan Trust Company
This was a suit by the Farmers' Loan & Trust Company against John H. Reagan, W. P. McLean, L. L. Foster (railroad commissioners of the state of Texas), C. A. Culberson (attorney general of the state), the International & Great Northern Railroad Company, and Thomas N. Campbell (receiver of that company), brought to restrain said railroad commissioners from enforcing certain rates and regulations prescribed by them for said company, and to restrain the attorney general from suing for penalties for failure to conform to such rates and obey such regulations. The railroad company filed an answer and a cross bill similar to complainant's bill, and praying substantially the same relief. The railroad commissioners and the attorney general filed answers, but afterwards withdrew their answers, and filed demurrers. Their demurrers were overruled, and a decree for defendants was rendered, making a temporary injunction previously granted (51 Fed. 529) perpetual. The railroad commissioners and the attorney general appealed.
On April 3, 1891, the legislature of the state of Texas passed an act to establish a railroad commission. The first section provides for the appointment and qualification of three persons to constitute the commission; the second, for the organization of the commission; while the third defines the powers and duties of the commission, and is as follows:
'Sec. 3. The power and authority is hereby vested in the railroad commission of Texas and it is hereby made its duty, to adopt all necessary rates, charges, and regulations to govern and regulate railroad freight and passenger tariffs, the power to correct abuses and prevent unjust discrimination and extortion in the rates of freight and passenger tariffs on the different railroads in this state, and to enforce the same by having the penalties inflicted as by this act prescribed through proper courts having jurisdiction.
'(a) The said commission shall have power, and it shall be its duty, to fairly and justly classify and subdivide all freight and property of whatsoever character that may be transported over the railroads of this state into such general and special classes or subdivisions as may be found necessary and expedient.
'(b) The commission shall have power, and it shall be its duty, to fix to each class or subdivision of freight a reasonable rate for each railroad subject to this act for the transportation of each of said classes and subdivisions.
'(c) The classifications herein provided for shall apply to and be the same for all railroads subject to the provisions of this act.
'(d) The said commission may fix different rates for different railroads and for different lines under the same management, or for different parts of the same lines if found necessary to do justice, and may make rates for express companies different from the rates fixed for railroads.
'(e) The said commission shall have power, and it shall be its duty, to fix and establish for all or any connecting lines of railroad in this state reasonable joint rates of freight charges for the various classes of freight and cars that may pass over two or more lines of such railroads.
'(f) If any two or more connecting railroads shall fail to agree upon a fair and just division of the charges arising from the transportation of freights, passengers or cars over their lines, the commission shall fix the pro rata part of such charges to be received by each of said connecting lines.
'(g) Until the commission shall make the classifications and schedules of rates as herein provided for, and afterwards if they deem it advisable, they may make partial or special classifications for all or any of the railroads subject hereto, and fix the rates to be charged by such roads therefor; and such classifications and rates shall be put into effect in the manner provided for general classifications and schedules of rates.
'(h) The commission shall have power, and it shall be its duty from time to time, to alter, change, amend, or abolish any classification or rate established by it when deemed necessary; and such amended, altered, or new classifications or rates shall be put into effect in the same manner as the originals.
'(i) The commission may adopt and enforce such rules, regulations, and modes of procedure as it may deem proper to hear and determine complaints that may be made against the classifications or the rates, the rules, regulations, and determinations of the commission.
'(j) The commission shall make reasonable and just rates of charges for each railroad subject hereto for the use or transportation of loaded or empty cars on its road; and may establish for each railroad or for all railroads alike reasonable rates for the storing and handling of freight and for the use of cars not unloaded after forty-eight hours' notice to the consignee, not to include Sundays.
'(k) The commission shall make and establish reasonable rates for the transportation of passengers over each or all of the railroads subject hereto, which rates shall not exceed the rates fixed by law. The commission shall have power to prescribe reasonable rates, tolls, or charges for all other services performed by any railroad subject hereto.'
The first paragraph of the fourth section is in these words:
'Sec. 4. Before any rates shall be established under this act, the commission shall give the railroad company to be affected thereby ten days' notice of the time and place when and where the rates shall be fixed; and said railroad company shall be entitled to be heard at such time and place, to the end that justice may be done; and it shall have process to enforce the attendance of its witnesses. All process herein provided for shall be served as in civil cases.'