INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION v. CHICAGO B. & Q R CO(1910)
Messrs. Wade H. Ellis, Luther M. Walter, and Edwin P. Grosvenor for appellant.
Messrs. William D. McHugh and Samuel A. Lynde for appellees.
Mr. Justice McKenna delivered the opinion of the court:
This case was argued and submitted with Nos. 663 and 664, as involving the same general questions. It was disposed of in the court below with those cases in the same opinion (171 Fed. 680) and on the same ground; to wit, that the effect of the order of the Commission to enjoin which the suit was brought apportioned 'out the country into zones tributary to given trade centers, and not tributary to others,' resulting in protection and favor to the first. The case is here on appeal from an order [218 U.S. 113, 114] granting a preliminary injunction, which was moved upon the bill (to which there was a demurrer by the Interstate Commerce Commission), and upon certain supporting affidavits.
The order enjoined was made by the Commission in a proceeding instituted before it by one George J. Kendally, in which he attacked certain rates charged by certain carriers from New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Omaha, and points taking similar rates to Denver, on the ground that the same were excessive and discriminatory, and attacked rates from Denver to Salt Lake City on similar grounds. By an amended eomplaint certain commodity rates were also attacked.
After hearing and argument, the Commission made its report, from which the following is an extract:
An order was directed to be entered in accordance with those views, which was done, and the railroads were required thereby to cease and desist, on or before the 1st of May, 1909, and for a period of two years, to exact for the transportation of traffic rates in excess of those above mentioned, respectively, from Chicago and St. Louis to Denver, and to establish on or before that date and maintain said rates between said cities.
The railroads affected, to wit, Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy Railroad Company, the Chicago, Rock Island, & Pacific Railway Company, Chicago & Northwestern [218 U.S. 113, 117] Railway Company, Chicago, Milwaukee, & St. Paul Railway Company, the Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railway Company, Missouri Pacific Railway Company, Union Pacific Railroad Company, and the Wabash Railroad Company, filed a bill to enjoin the enforcement of the order.
In their bill the companies described their respective roads and the termini of the roads, and alleged that the companies were respectively engaged as common carriers in the transportation of property by railroad by continuous carriage or shipment from and to the points designated in the report and order of the commission. The bill alleged the relation of the carriers to one another, and the extent of their roads westward and eastward, and their relation to roads east of Chicago and the Mississippi river. The manner of charging and adjusting rates is described in the bill, and the classification of freight which existed, as in the bill in Nos. 663 and 664.
In the bill in those cases, the Mississippi river was alleged to be a basing point for freight destined to the Missouri river cities. In the case at bar the Missouri river is added as a basing point in the making of rates for the transportation of merchandise originating east of the Mississippi river, destined to territory between the rivers and to the Missouri river cities and west thereof. And it is alleged that the making of such basing points 'has been due both to natural physical conditions and to the natural development of railroad construction and operation to and beyond said rivers and in territory between the same, and has naturally resulted in the evolution and development of railroad transportation, and the business and commerce in and though Western territory.'
The facts which caused such result are set out at length and are in substance that railroads were built westward to certain points, and that other and independent roads were constructed farther westward, each road charging its [218 U.S. 113, 118] separate rate, and that the places to which and from which the roads were built were natural distributing centers, 'and were able to compete on the basis of equality with each other in the distribution and sale of their merchandise.'
The relation of the two rivers as basing points and why the Missouri was made one is set forth in the following paragraph:
The other allegations supplement the above, and are substantially like those which formed the basis of the contentions made and argued in the other cases.
The bill, as we have said, was supported by affidavits. They were substantially the same and set forth the acquaintance of their makers with railroad construction, development, and management. They set forth with detail the facts and circumstances which their makers conceived to be determinative of the questions involved, and a justification of the system of rate making established by the companies, and which, they averred, affected 'vitally all the important lines of business of the Western country.' They further averred that a change in the system, whereby the practices under it 'should be forbidden, would be a change which would revolutionize the methods of doing business throughout the Western country, and would work injury to the west and its business, the extent of which would be so great as to be difficult of computation.'
It will be seen, therefore, that this case and the other cases are alike except as to the points of destination of the roads and the cities that are concerned with the rates charged and reduced. This, and they turn on the same question of the power of the Commission, the effect of its order on business conditions and the systems of rate making by the railroads, its effect upon the revenues of the companies, and by their reduction to cause a deprivation of the property of the companies without due process of law, in violation of the 5th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
Further elaboration we think is unnecessary; and on the authority of cases Nos. 663 and 664, the decree of the Circuit Court is reversed and the case remanded, with directions to set aside the injunction and dismiss the bill.