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Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. Vosburg, 238 U.S. 56 (1915)

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company v. Vosburg

No. 189

Submitted March 10, 1915

Decided June 1, 1915

238 U.S. 56


Legislation requiring the prompt furnishing of cars by carriers and the prompt loading of same by shippers and prescribing damages and penalties for failure on the part of either is properly within the police power of the state; in that respect, such legislation differs from that which simply imposes penalties on the carrier for failure to pay a specified class of debts. Gulf, Col. & S.F. Ry. v. Ellis, 165 U. S. 150, distinguished.

A police regulation is, the same as any other statute of the state, subject to the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Page 238 U. S. 57

That guarantee, while not preventing proper classification, does entitle all persons and corporation within the jurisdiction of the state to the protection of equal law, including police regulations.

A state statute which imposes reciprocal burdens on both carrier and shipper, but which provides that, in the case of delinquency on the part of the carrier, the shipper may recover an attorney fee, but, in the case of delinquency on the part of the shipper, does not provide that the carrier may recover an attorney fee, denies the carrier the equal protection of the law guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Such a classification is not a reasonable one, and there is no ground on which a special burden should be imposed on one class of litigants and not on another class identically situated.

89 Kan. 114 reversed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality of the reciprocal demurrage law of Kansas of 1905 under the equal protection provision of the Fourteenth Amendment, are stated in the opinion.

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