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Great Northern Ry. Co. v. Sunburst Oil & Refining Co., 287 U.S. 358 (1932)

Great Northern Ry. Co. v. Sunburst Oil & Refining Co.

No. 53

Argued November 11, 1932

Decided December 5, 1932

287 U.S. 358


1. Where the state law prescribes freight rates through a Board but allows a shipper who has paid at a rate so fixed an action for overcharges when the Board, afterwards, on his complaint and on sufficient evidence, finds such rate excessive and lowers it for the future, judgment for the shipper does not impair any federal right of the railroad, since the law, making the rate thus tentative, was the basis of the contract of shipment. Pp. 287 U. S. 360-361.

2. The result is the same whether the tentative character of the rate, and the right of recovery, are expressed in the words of the statute or were attached to it by a construction of the state supreme court before the parties contracted. P. 287 U. S. 362.

3. If a statute as construed by the state court does not impair a party's federal right, a decision applying the construction to him on the ground of stare decisis but rejecting it for future cases cannot do so. P. 287 U. S. 363.

4. It is for the state courts to decide whether changes in their views of the common or statutory law shall apply to intermediate transactions. P. 287 U. S. 364.

5. A federal claim first raised by petition for rehearing in a state court is in time, for purposes of review, if the occasion for it arose unexpectedly from the grounds of the state court's decision. P. 287 U. S. 366.

91 Mont. 216, 7 P. 2d 927, affirmed.

Certiorari to review the affirmance of a judgment against the railway company in a suit for overcharges.

Page 287 U. S. 359

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