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Superior Oil Co. v. Mississippi ex Rel. Knox, 280 U.S. 390 (1930)

Superior Oil Co. v. Mississippi ex Rel. Knox

No. 28

Argued October 31, 1929

Decided February 24, 1930

280 U.S. 390


1. In a regular course of business, gasoline was sold by an oil company in Mississippi to shrimp packers in that state, was delivered at the wharves of their packing plants there, and was thence carried by the packers' boats to a neighborhood in Louisiana and delivered to shrimp fishermen for use in fishing. The fishermen brought their catches to the packing plants, sold them to the packers, and were charged with the cost of the gasoline. The oil company received in each case from the packer a so-called bill of lading, signed by the master of the boat on which the gasoline was loaded, purporting to show a consignment to the packer, to the Louisiana neighborhood as destination, on that boat and providing that the gasoline should remain the property of the oil company until delivered to the consignee or its agent at such "destination," and that all risks should be upon the purchaser. The oil company paid no freight. The packers, when the gasoline was delivered at their plants, were free to do with it as they liked. Held, that the sales by the Oil Company were not in interstate commerce, and were subject to be taxed by Mississippi. P. 280 U. S. 395.

2. It is not within the power of the parties, by the form of their contract, to convert a local business into an interstate commerce business protected by the Commerce Clause when the contract achieves nothing else. P. 280 U. S. 394.

156 Miss. 377 affirmed.

Appeal from a judgment of the Supreme Court of Mississippi upholding taxes. The suit was brought by the state Attorney General to collect the taxes from the oil company. A judgment of the Chancery Court dismissing the bill was affirmed by the Supreme Court after a hearing before a division thereof consisting of three judges. Upon suggestion of error, there was a rehearing by the full court, resulting in the decree here considered.

Page 280 U. S. 393

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