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Central Railroad Co. of New Jersey v. United States, 257 U.S. 247 (1921)

Central Railroad Company of New Jersey v. United States

No. 436

Argued November 17, 1921

Decided December 5, 1921

257 U.S. 247


1. Orders of the Interstate Commerce Commission may be set aside when based upon mistake of law. P. 257 U. S. 256.

2. The Commission has power under § 1 of the Act to Regulate Commerce, as amended, to determine in particular cases whether the granting or withholding of a transit privilege is unreasonable and unjust, and to require its allowance or its withdrawal accordingly. So held of the privilege of "creosoting in transit," whereby forest products may be unloaded at an intermediate point, subjected to

Page 257 U. S. 248

the process of creosoting and forwarded on the original bill of lading to the destination therein named, without depriving the shipper of the benefit of through rates. P. 257 U. S. 257.

3. What Congress sought to prevent by § 3 of the Act to Regulate Commerce was not differences between localities in transportation rates, facilities, and privileges, but unjust discrimination between them by the same carrier or carriers. P. 257 U. S. 259.

4. Participation in joint rates does not make connecting carriers partners, and they can be held jointly and severally responsible for unjust discrimination only if each has participated in some way in that which causes it. P. 257 U. S. 259.

5. Neither the Transportation Act of 1920 nor any earlier amendatory legislation has changed in this respect the purpose or scope of § 3. P. 257 U. S. 260.

6. Where the Commission found that denial of the creosoting privilege to a plant located at a point on the lines of certain carriers was not, in itself, unjust or unreasonable, but concluded that the plant suffered undue prejudice and disadvantage because they and other carriers before the Commission maintained joint rates over routes passing through the point in common with still other carriers, not parties, who had allowed the privilege to plants on their own lines as an item in their local tariffs and without the concurrence of the carriers before the Commission or participation by them in the revenues from the privilege, held that the case was not remediable under § 3 of the Act to Regulate Commerce, and that an order requiring the carriers proceeded against to remove the discrimination should be set aside. P. 257 U. S. 257.


Appeal from a decree of the district court denying a preliminary injunction in a suit brought by the Central Railroad Company of New Jersey, the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, and twenty-one other railroad corporations to set aside an order made by the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Page 257 U. S. 253

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