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United States v. Abilene & Southern Ry. Co., 265 U.S. 274 (1924)

United States v. Abilene & Southern Railway Company

No. 456

Argued March 4, 1924

Decided May 26, 1924

265 U.S. 274


1. An order made by a division of the Interstate Commerce Commission being operative, unless stayed by the division or the full Commission pending a rehearing by the latter (amended Act to Regulate Commerce, §§ 16a, 17 [4]), a suit to enjoin enforcement of such an order is within the jurisdiction of the district court, and whether relief should be denied until the plaintiff, through application for rehearing, shall have exhausted the administrative remedy is a matter of judicial discretion. P. 265 U. S. 280.

2. In a proceeding under § 15(6) of the amended Interstate Commerce Act in which the Commission readjusted the divisions of joint rates as between a carrier and its several immediate connections,

Page 265 U. S. 275

the other carriers participating in the joint rates, whose shares were left unchanged, were not necessary parties. P. 265 U. S. 282.

3. In determining just divisions, the Commission must consider relative cost of service; whether a particular carrier is an originating, intermediate or delivering line; the efficiency of operation of each carrier; the revenue it requires for operation expenses, taxes and a fair return; public importance of the transportation services involved, and any other facts which would ordinarily, without regard to mile haul, entitle one carrier to a greater or less proportion than another. P. 265 U. S. 284.

4. The financial needs of a weaker road may also be taken into consideration in determining divisions of joint rates. Id.

5. The mere fact that increased divisions allowed a carrier were measured by percentages of the revenues of the several connecting carriers from the joint traffic does not establish that the division is unjust or guided solely by relative financial ability. P. 265 U. S. 285.

6. An order increasing the divisions of a carrier is not arbitrary merely because the corresponding decreases are confined to the carriers immediately connecting with it, these having the right to apply for further readjustment as between themselves and remoter carriers. P. 265 U. S. 286.

7. An order of the Commission is not invalidated by the mere admission as evidence of matter which in judicial proceedings would be incompetent. P. 265 U. S. 288.

8. But a finding without evidence is beyond the power of the Commission. Id.

9. Reports of carriers on the Commission's files cannot be treated as evidence when not introduced as such, in a proceeding which, though initiated by the Commission primarily to protect the public interest, may result in an order in favor of one carrier as against another. Id.

10. Rule XIII of the Commission does not purport to relieve the Commission from introducing, by specific reference, such parts of the reports of carriers, properly on file, as it wishes to treat a evidence. P. 265 U. S. 289.

11. The right of carriers to insist that consideration by the Commission of matter not in evidence invalidates its order is not lost by their submission of the case without argument or their consent to omission of a tentative report by the examiner. Id.

12. A general notice given at the hearing by an examiner that the Commission would rely upon voluminous annual reports previously

Page 265 U. S. 276

filed with the Commission by plaintiff carrier pursuant to law, held tantamount to no notice whatever of evidence used against them. P. 265 U. S. 289.

13. The divisions of joint rates may be determined on the basis of individual rates and divisions, shown by tariffs and division sheets and found sufficiently typical in character and ample in quantity to justify findings as to each division of each rate of every carrier involved (New England Divisions Case, 261 U. S. 184), but it cannot be inferred, because the joint rates and divisions between particular carriers work injustice in the aggregate, that each particular division of each rate is unjust and in like proportion. P. 265 U. S. 290.

288 F. 102 affirmed.

Appeal from a decree of the district court perpetually enjoining the enforcement of an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Page 265 U. S. 278

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