« ForrigeFortsett »
from its division via Pensacola to numerous points. Its claim went beyond this, however. It also aimed to compel shipments locally to Pensacola, that it might get the benefit of the reshipments from that point, and it has the only railroad entering that city. We said that a shipment billed and transported to Pensacola for local delivery there constitutes a complete transaction, just as a shipment billed and transported for delivery in Savannah is a complete transaction, and that as between two transactions of this character the company might prefer itself in the matter of rates to the extent of its fair interest as a common carrier, but that it could no more be permitted to create a monopoly in its west-bound movement as compared with the east bound than Pensacola could be permitted as a new market to have a monoply of the traffic, and so shut out the old market of Savannah. We held, therefore, that when a carrier makes rates to two competing localities which give the one a practical monopoly over the other because it can secure reshipments from the favored locality and none from the other, it goes beyond serving its fair interest and disregards the statutory requirement of relative equality as between persons, localities, and particular descriptions of traffic. The Louisville & Nashville insisted also that it was unusual for a carrier reaching a seaport on its own line to make joint rates with another carrier which would divert traffic originating on its road to a rival seaport. In the view we took of this contention it was unnecessary to discuss whether this was or was not a railroad practice. The complainants were not asking for an order which would so divert traffic from Pensacola as to place it at a disadvantage as compared with Savannah. Our ruling upon this point was that if a railroad company can not secure other than an unreasonably low share of the joint rate to a seaport on another road it might be justified in declining to join in such a rate, especially when it can take the traffic to a seaport reached by its own road; but a carrier engaged in transportation over the through line finds no such justification when it is able to secure for itself a share of the joint rate which fully equals the rate established by it for purely local service over like distances on its own road. That was this case under the readjustment which we found would be applicable. The conclusion of the Commission was: (1) That the shares of the Louisville & Nashville in the through rates to Savannah were unreasonable and unjust and operated to make the entire through rates unlawful. (2) That rates on rosin and turpentine from the Pensacola and Atlantic division stations to Savannah should be adjusted to the rates to Pensacola by adding to the local rates of the Louisville & Nashville for the distance to Pensacola which is nearest to the distance from each station to River Junction the present share accepted by the carriers to Savannah from River Junction, but that from some of the more easterly shipping stations the Louisville & Nashville should have onshipments of turpentine more than its local rate for the like distance to Pensacola and that such rate should be determined by adding a differential of 6 cents to the Louisville & Nashville rate from Sneads, the most easterly station, to Pensacola. While the Louisville & Nashville share of the Savannah rate was held to be unreasonable, we based the remedy upon the relation of rates to the two competing markets. We said that this would enable the Louisville & Nashville to increase the rates to Pensacola, or, in conjunction with its connections east of River Junction, reduce the rates to Savannah, or to use both means in conforming to the adjustment which appeared to be required by the facts in this case. PUBLICATION OF RATES.
In Spillers & Co. v. Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company (8 I. C. C. Rep., 364) it appeared that the defendant had instructed its agents to disregard the regular published tariff rates to Gallatin, Tenn., and to charge the lower combination of rates to and from Nashville. It also had this rule of applying combination rates less than tariff rates in force at other stations on its line. Instructions to that effect were issued in a separate printed circular and they did not appear nor were they referred to in any way upon the carrier's regular published tariffs. Following decisions in previous cases, we held that this practice was unlawful, and that to be in compliance with the act any rule which operates to alter, modify, or change established rates must be fully and clearly set forth upon the published tariffs of rates and charges to be affected thereby.
During the year decision was rendered “In the Matter of Alleged Unlawful Rates and Practices in the Transportation of Cotton by the Kansas City, Memphis & Birmingham Railroad Company et al. (8 I. C. C. Rep., 121). This proceeding involved the practice of “floating cotton,” in which the essential transportation feature was carrying the cotton to a compress, receiving it again in the compressed state, and transporting it to destination at the through rate in force from the point of origin. We found that the practice benefited both the railroad company and the producer and tended to place noncompetitive points upon an equality with more distant competitive localities from which lower rates were in force. The cotton is graded as well as compressed at the point of stoppage. The destination of the cotton is usually changed at the compress point. The identity of a cotton shipment is not preserved at the point of grading and compression and the ownership of the cotton may change at the compress station.
The question was whether the shipment should be considered through and entitled to a through rate or as local and calling for application of charges in effect to and from the compress point. While the Memphis Freight Bureau was not a party to the record, it appeared at the hearing, introduced testimony, and subsequently filed a brief against the legality of this practice, insisting that it was to the disadvantage of Memphis. We found, as a matter of fact, that the practice did not unjustly discriminate against dealers in the city of Memphis who had declined to take advantage of the privilege. The Commission held that the carrier may, as part of a contract for through shipment, allow the cotton to be stopped off for the purpose of grading and compression, but that the privilege enters into and becomes part of the service covered by the rate and should be specified in the published tariffs. It was further held that the determinative feature of a through shipment is the contract, and if the cotton starts and proceeds upon a contract for through shipment, as was shown to be the fact in this case, it may be considered as a through shipment and be given the benefit of a through rate.
Several cases have been disposed of during the year through concession of relief by the defendant carriers. Complaint was made by a firm in Nashville that the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company charged more than its local rates from Clarksville, Tenn., to points in Kentucky when it received Nashville shipments at Clarksville from boats on the Cumberland River. The carrier, which has its own line from Nashville to Clarksville, filed answer claiming that it was justified in refusing to apply its local rates from Clarksville on through shipments by the river from Nashville and in exacting higher rates on such traffic offered to it at Clarksville. It subsequently withdrew the rates complained of and so removed the cause of complaint. In Gossler & Co. v. Western Maryland Railroad Company it appeared, from the complaint and answer, that a through rate from a point in Pennsylvania via Hagerstown to a point in Maryland was greater than the sum of locals to and from Hagerstown. The carrier abandoned its defense and offered to make the through rate no higher than the combination, thus conceding the relief sought by the complainant. The case of Walker v. C. & A. R. Co. et al., involved the question whether denying reduced rates of fare to one minister of religion while freely granting specially low passenger rates to others is unjust discrimination. The carriers claimed, in substance, that under the provision in the twenty-second section of the act that “nothing in this act shall be construed to prohibit any common carrier from giving reduced rates to ministers of religion,” they had the right to grant or refuse reduced rates to ministers of religion at will. The case was heard and submitted for decision. Some time afterwards a clergy permit for reduced fare was tendered by the companies to the complainant, which he finally accepted, and this terminated the controversy. A company manufacturing an article called nerve food, but which it claimed was a beverage rather than a proprietary medicine, brought several suits against different groups of carriers, alleging that its product was wrongfully placed in the higher medicine class instead of with beer and mineral waters. Settlement favorable to the complainant's contention was effected in two of these cases, and it was stated that the third had been instituted under a mishapprehension. The case of Waldosta Foundry and Machine Company v. S. F. & W. Rwy. Co. et al. was settled by the parties after the submission of testimony. The rates complained of were very considerably reduced and, the complainant having expressed itself satisfied, the proceeding was discontinued.
CIVIL CASES PENDING IN COURTS.
Following is a statement of cases now pending in the courts to enforce orders of the Commission: Interstate Commerce Commission v. Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company. Rates on coal. United States circuit court of appeals, sixth judicial circuit. Interstate Commerce Commission v. Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company. Middlesboro, Ky., long and short haul case. United States circuit court, southern district of Ohio. Interstate Commerce Commission v. Clyde Steamship Company et al., and four other cases. Georgia Railroad Commission long and short haul cases. Three cases in the United States Supreme Court. Two cases in the United States circuit court, southern district of Georgia. Brewer et al. v. Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company et al. Griffin, Ga., long and short haul case. United States circuit court, southern district of Georgia. Interstate Commerce Commission v. Northern Pacific Railroad Company et al. Fargo, N. Dak., long and short haul case. United States circuit court, district of North Dakota. H. W. Behlmer v. South Carolina & Georgia Railroad Company et al. Summerville, S. C., long and short haul case. United States Supreme Court. Interstate Commerce Commission v. Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad Company et al. Discriminating rates on petroleum oil. United States circuit court, western district of Pennsylvania. Interstate Commerce Commission v. Southern Railway Company et al. Two cases. Piedmont, Ala., long and short haul case. United States circuit court, northern district of Alabama. Colorado Fuel and Iron Company v. Southern Pacific Company et al. Rates on iron and steel articles from Pueblo, Colo., to San Francisco, Cal. United States circuit court, district of Colorado. Plaintiff’s application for temporary injunction granted. Interstate Commerce Commission v. Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company et al. Terminal charge on live stock. United States circuit court of appeals, seventh judicial circuit.
The Federal grand jury, sitting at New Orleans, in the eastern district of Louisiana, returned an indictment on February 24, 1897, against J. C. Stubbs, William Mahl, C. W. Bein, and H. A. Jones, officers of the Southern Pacific Company, and on June 18, 1898, eleven other indictments were found in the same district against the same parties. All of these indictments charged violations of the act to regulate commerce through payment of rebates and departures from established tariff rates. The Commission is not able to state why these cases have not been brought to trial. On June 5, 1899, at Beaumont, in the eastern district of Texas, an indictment was returned against William R. Belknap, Morrison R. Belknap, John W. Price, and William Heyburn, doing business in Louisville, Ky., under the firm name of W. B. Belknap & Co. The shippers were charged with obtaining, by means of false billing and false representation, transportation at less than published tariff rates from Louisville, Ky., to Beaumont, Tex. Further reference is made to this case in this report under the head of “Removal of Indicted Persons to Other Judicial Districts for Trial.” A separate indictment charging a similar offense with reference to transportation between the same points was found at the same time and place against John W. Price, of the above-mentioned firm. At the term of the United States district court for the northern district of Texas, which began at Dallas, Tex., on June 5, 1899, Charles A. Ault, L. D. Ault, and William F. Davis, doing business in Cincinnati, Ohio, under the name of the Ault Woodenware Company, were indicted for obtaining, by means of false billing and false representation, transportation at less than the published tariff rates from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Dallas, Tex. This case is also again referred to herein under the heading, “Removal of Indicted Persons to Other Judicial Districts for Trial.” At the November term, 1899, in the United States district court for the southern district of Georgia, the grand jury returned three indictments against Spencer P. Shotter, J. F. Cooper Myers, and Charles