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Northern Pacific Ry. Co. v. Department of Pub. Works, 268 U.S. 39 (1925)

Northern Pacific Railway Company v.

Department of Public Works

No. 371

Argued March 10, 11, 1925

Decided April 13, 1925

268 U.S. 39


1. A judgment of a state supreme court sustaining an order of a state commission which fixed intrastate railroad rates, and overruling the railroad's claim that the rates were confiscatory and based on arbitrary findings of fact unsupported by evidence, held reviewable by writ of error. P. 268 U. S. 42.

2. An administrative order fixing railroad rates upon a finding without evidence or made upon evidence that clearly does not support it, is an arbitrary act against which courts will afford relief. P. 268 U. S. 44.

3. In a hearing to determine rates for several carriers on intrastate transportation of logs in carload lots, the average haul of which by each carrier was 32 miles, the carriers introduced persuasive evidence that existing rates did not yield any return on the property employed nor defray the operating costs of the traffic and its proportionate taxes; but the state administrative body, without attacking the proof or attempting to show by reasonably specific and direct evidence what the actual operating costs of the particular traffic were to the several carriers, lowered the rates on the basis of a composite figure, created largely from data in the carriers' reports and their exhibits in the case, representing the weighted average operating cost per thousand gross ton miles of all revenue freight carried on the carriers' railroad systems, including main line and branch line freight, interstate and intrastate, carload

Page 268 U. S. 40

and less than carload, indiscriminately. Held that this was a fundamental error and a denial of due process of law. P. 268 U. S. 42.

4. The invalidity of an order arbitrarily lowering rates which the . evidence shows are confiscatory is not avoided by making it for an experimental period. P. 268 U. S. 45.

125 Wash. 584 reversed.

Error to a judgment of the Supreme Court of Washington affirming an order of the Department of Public Works in a suit brought by the above-named and three other railroads to set the order aside.

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