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ST. LOUIS, I.M. & SOU. RY. CO. V. WILLIAMS, 251 U. S. 63 (1919)

U.S. Supreme Court

St. Louis, I.M. & Sou. Ry. Co. v. Williams, 251 U.S. 63 (1919)

St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway Company v. Williams

No. 6

Argued November 11, 1919

Decided December 8, 1919

251 U.S. 63


A railroad company, in defense of an action for penalties imposed for exceeding passenger rates prescribed by a state law, has no ground to claim that the penalties are unconstitutional in that, by their severity, they prevent resort to the courts to test the adequacy of the rates when it did not avail itself of its opportunity to have such a test in a suit against the state railroad commission, pending which the penalty provision could have been suspended by injunction, and when it did not question the prescribed rates in the action to collect the penalties. P. 251 U. S. 65.

A provision for the collection of such penalties in an action by the aggrieved passenger and for his use irrespective of his private damages is consistent with due process of law. P. 251 U. S. 66.

In determining whether such penalties are so severe, oppressive, and unreasonable as to violate the due process clause, they should be tested not by comparison with the overcharges in particular instances, but by the public interest in having the rates adhered to uniformly and the relation of the penalties to that object. Id.

131 Ark. 442 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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