WESTERN PAC R. CO. v. U S(1921)
[255 U.S. 349, 350] Mr. William C. Prentiss, of Washington, D. C., for appellant.
Mr. Justice McKENNA delivered the opinion of the Court.
The basic proposition in this case, and most of its subsidiary considerations, are the some as in Oregon-Washington Railroad & Navigation Co. v. United States (No. 134) 255 U.S. 339 , 41 Sup. Ct. 329, 65 L. Ed . --. It was argued at the same time as the latter case, and, as in that case, it is to recover amounts withheld by the accounting officers of the government as land-grant deductions in settlements for transportation of the personal effects of army officers.
It is asserted, however, that this action differs from No. 134 in that the Western Pacific Railroad was not completed and in operation until 1910, so that it is said 'there is absent the element of previous course of dealings relied upon by the government, and in that there was introduced in evidence' testimony to the effect that the first voucher presented for transportation service was for full tariff rates.
It is stated in the findings that the real claimants in the case are the receivers of the railroad but that its name is used to designate claimants for convenience, and that between June 10, 1910, and March 18, 1915, the railroad at the request of the United States, as shipper or consignor, received from other railroad companies at connecting points, on government bills of lading, and transported over its lines, the effects and property of officers of the United States army, changing stations under orders.
It further appears that from June 10, 1910 to March 18, 1915, the presentation of claims, character of vouchers accompanying the same, action thereon by the accounting officers of the government, payment and receipt were the same as in No. 134, except it is found that--
And it is found:
It is further found that--
The rulings of the accounting officers are detailed in the findings.
From March 18, 1915, to August 1, 1916, it is found that appellant was entitled 'to payment at the regular tariff rates applicable.' The government accounting officers, notwithstanding, 'issued warrants for net amounts after making land-grant deductions.' Against this appellant protested. The amounts deducted amounted to $851.78.
The conclusion of the court was, and its decision was, that appellant was entitled to judgment for the sum of $851.78 and that as to the other amounts its petition should be dismissed. For this the court gave as authority its decision in the Denver & Rio Grande R. R. Co. v. United States, No. 33301, 54 Ct. Cl. 125, decided on the same day.
The opinion in the latter case is set out in the record at page 16.
The argument in this case is the same as in No. 134, and rests on the same considerations. This case, as we have seen, was decided on the authority of Denver & Rio Grande R. R. Co. v. United States and the latter on the B. & O. R. R. Co. v. United States, 52 Ct. Cl. 468, and No. 134.
A contention, however, is made that was not made in No. 134; that is, that--
The further contention is that within this obligation is the property in the pending case. The immediate answer is that section 22 of the Interstate Commerce Act (Comp. St. 8595) permits reduced rates to the United States and that by Conference Ruling of the Interstate Commerce Commission No. 33 of February 3, 1908, section 22, is made applicable to property transported for the United States. The transportation in the present case was for the government and in providing for it and paying for it the government performed a governmental service.
Mr. Justice PITNEY and Mr. Justice CLARKE concur in the result.
[ Footnote 1 ] 50 Ct. Cl. 412.