« ForrigeFortsett »
lading inconsistent with that liability are void. Norfolk & Western Ry. Co. v. Dixie Tobacco Co., 228 U. S. 593. While the receiving carrier is thus responsible for the whole carriage, each connecting road may still be sued for damages occurring on its line; and the liability of such participating carrier is fixed by the applicable valid terms of the original bill of lading.1 The bill of lading required to be issued by the initial carrier upon an interstate shipment governs the entire transportation. The terms of the original bill of lading were not altered by the second issued by the connecting carrier. As appellants were already bound to transport the cattle at the rate and upon the terms named in the original bill of lading, the acceptance by the shipper of the second bill was without consideration and was void.
The Railway Companies contend that while the Carmack Amendment makes the receiving carriers pay for all liability incurred by the connecting lines, the question of whether there is any such liability or not must be determined by reference to the separate contracts of each participating carrier, and not to the contract of the initial carrier alone. If, as contended, a shipper must, in order to recover, first file his "verified claim" with the connecting carrier who caused the injury, as provided in a separate bill of lading issued by such carrier, the shipper would still rest under the burden of determining which of the several successive carriers was at fault. Such a construction of the Carmack Amendment would defeat its purpose, which was to relieve shippers of the difficult, and often impossible, task, of determining on which of the several connecting lines the damage occurred. For the purpose of fixing the liability, the several carriers must
1 Georgia, Florida & Alabama Ry. Co. v. Blish Milling Co., 241 U. S. 190, 194, 196; Kansas City Southern Ry. Co. v. Carl, 227 U. S. 639, 648. See also Southern Ry. Co. v. Prescott, 240 U. S. 632; Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Ry. Co. v. Dettlebach, 239 U. S. 588.
be treated, not as independent contracting parties, but as one system; and the connecting lines become in effect mere agents, whose duty it is to forward the goods under the terms of the contract made by their principal, the initial carrier. Atlantic Coast Line R. R. Co. v. Riverside Mills, 219 U. S. 186, 206; Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio Ry. Co. v. Wallace, 223 U. S. 481, 491.
The Railway Companies also contend that the acceptance of the second bill of lading operated as a waiver of all rights thereafter accruing under the first. The record discloses no evidence of intention to make such a waiver and there was no consideration for it. Furthermore as stated in Georgia, Florida & Alabama Ry. Co. v. Blish Milling Co., 241 U. S. 190, 197, "the parties could not waive the terms of the contract under which the shipment was made pursuant to the Federal Act. . A different view would antagonize the plain policy of the Act and open the door to the very abuses at which the Act was aimed."
MISSISSIPPI RAILROAD COMMISSION ET AL. v. MOBILE & OHIO RAILROAD COMPANY.
APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI.
No. 256. Submitted May 1, 1917.-Decided June 4, 1917.
While the power of the States over the railways within their borders is very great and comprehensive, the property of the railways is nevertheless protected by the fundamental guaranties of the Constitution, is entitled to as full protection as any other private property devoted to a public use, and can not be taken from its owners without just compensation or without due process of law.
244 U. S.
Opinion of the Court.
An attempt upon the part of a state commission to exercise the power of regulation in such an arbitrary and unreasonable manner as to prevent a railroad company from obtaining a fair return upon its property invested in the public service is repugnant to due process of law and void under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Upon the facts of this case, Held that an order of the Mississippi Railroad Commission, requiring the appellee company to restore certain passenger trains to service on its line within that State, was arbitrary, unreasonable, in excess of the lawful powers of the commission, and void under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The reasonableness of requiring a carrier to operate specified trains can not be made to depend upon the relation of the money return to the "out-of-pocket" cost, i. e., immediate outlay for wages and fuel, involved in their operation. Northern Pacific Ry. Co. v. North Dakota, 236 U. S. 585.
The action of the Railroad Commission in this case, though expressed in a separate order as to each train directed to be restored, was based upon one citation and was intended by the commission, and treated by the court below, as in effect but one order for the restoration of all the trains; this court therefore treats it as a unity, without determining whether some improvement of the train service might not properly have been required.
THE case is stated in the opinion.
Mr. James N. Flowers and Mr. George H. Ethridge, Assistant Attorney General of the State of Mississippi, for appellants.
Mr. S. R. Prince and Mr. Carl Fox for appellee.
MR. JUSTICE CLARKE delivered the opinion of the court.
This is a direct appeal from an order of the District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, three judges sitting, granting an interlocutory injunction restraining the Mississippi Railroad Commission and the Attorney General of that State from enforcing six separate orders entered by the commission on one citation in one case on October 7, 1914, requiring the appellee to
restore to service six passenger trains-two each way daily between Meridian and Waynesboro, a town fifty-two miles to the south, and one train each way daily between Meridian and Okolona, a town one hundred and twentyseven miles to the north-all in the State of Mississippi. The trains between Meridian and Okolona which were discontinued were interstate trains, the others were local to the State.
The appellee averred several grounds for the injunction prayed for, but the conclusion which we have reached calls upon us to consider only one of them, viz:
That the depression of business incident to the European War had so reduced the income of the railroad company that at the time the order was entered it was less than its current expenses; that a large loss would be incurred in operating each of the six trains; that without these trains there remained reasonably adequate service having regard to the population of the territory involved, and that the general financial condition of the company was such that the order if enforced would deprive the company of its property without due process of law and of the equal protection of the laws, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
The principles of law applicable to the decision of such a case as this record presents are few and they have become so settled and so familiar by repeated decisions of this court that extended discussion of them would be superfluous. They are these:
A State may regulate the conduct of railways within its borders, either directly or through a body charged with the duty and invested with powers requisite to accomplish such regulation. Mississippi Railroad Commission v. Illinois Central R. R. Co., 203 U. S. 335; Prentis v. Atlantic Coast Line R. R. Co., 211 U. S. 210; Louisville & Nashville R. R. Co. v. Garrett, 231 U. S. 298.
Under this power of regulation a State may require
carriers to provide reasonable and adequate facilities to serve not only the local necessities but the local convenience of the communities to which they are directly tributary. Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Ry. Co. v. Ohio, 173 U. S. 285; Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Ry. Co. v. Illinois, 177 U. S. 514; Atlantic Coast Line R. R. Co. v. North Carolina Corporation Commission, 206 U. S. 1; Missouri Pacific Ry. Co. v. Kansas, 216 U. S. 262; Chicago, Burlington & Quincy R. R. Co. v. Railroad Commission of Wisconsin, 237 U. S. 220; and such regulation may extend in a proper case to requiring the running of trains in addition to those provided by the carrier, even where this may involve some pecuniary loss, Atlantic Coast Line R. R. Co. v. North Carolina Corporation Commission, supra, and Missouri Pacific Ry. Co. v. Kansas,
But, while the scope of this power of regulation over carriers is very great and comprehensive, the property which is invested in the railways of the country is nevertheless under the protection of the fundamental guaranties of the Constitution and is entitled to as full protection of the law as any other private property devoted to a public use, and it cannot be taken from its owners without just compensation or without due process of law. Wisconsin, Minnesota & Pacific R. R. v. Jacobson, 179 U. S. 287; Atlantic Coast Line R. R. Co. v. North Carolina Corporation Commission, 206 U. S. 1; Northern Pacific Ry. Co. v. North Dakota, 236 U. S. 585; Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul R. R. Co. v. Wisconsin, 238 U. S. 491.
If this power of regulation is exercised in such an arbitrary or unreasonable manner as to prevent the company from obtaining a fair return upon the property invested in the public service it passes beyond lawful bounds, and such action is void, because repugnant to the due process of law provision of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Atlantic Coast Line R. R. Co.