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Denver Union Stock Yard Co. v. United States, 304 U.S. 470 (1938)

Denver Union Stock Yard Co. v. United States

No. 798

Argued April 27, 1938

Decided May 31, 1938

304 U.S. 470


1. In fixing rates, property not used or useful in rendering the services of the public utility need not be included in rate base. P. 304 U. S. 475.

2. In fixing rates of a stockyard company, the Secretary of Agriculture properly excluded from the rate base:

(a) Land and improvements used for an annual stock show but not for the performance of the services covered by the rates regulated. P. 304 U. S. 475.

(b) Trackage and facilities, for unloading and loading livestock, leased to railroad companies for substantial rentals, the stockyard services being confined to the period between the end of unloading and the beginning of loading. P. 304 U. S. 476.

3. The facts that he had not dwelt in the locality and had never appraised land in that vicinity or assembled or appraised any large industrial tracts did not disqualify a witness, otherwise experienced in land valuation, from testifying to the value of land of a stockyard company, in a proceeding by the Secretary of Agriculture in which rates for stockyard services were fixed. P. 304 U. S. 477.

4. In valuing the property of a public utility, an allowance for going concern value need not be itemized separately, but may be included in the valuation of the physical elements. P. 304 U. S. 478.

5. Where the practice of a stockyard company was to charge on sales of livestock made at the yard by producers, but not on resales made there by traders who bought there from producers, it was within the province of the Secretary of Agriculture, in regulating rates and in avoidance of discrimination, under the Stockyards Act, to require that reasonable rates on such resales be charged the traders. P. 304 U. S. 481.

Such a requirement did not create unjust discrimination as between producers, nor unlawfully invade the right of the company, as owner, to manage the yard and control its business policy.

Page 304 U. S. 471

6. Whether a stockyard company is entitled, as of constitutional right, to have any of a number of contributions to local charities and civic organization, subscriptions, etc., included in its operating expenses in the fixing of its rates for the future the Court finds it unnecessary to consider in view of the variability of its prospective income, its control over the items in controversy, and their trivial amount. P. 304 U. S. 482.

7. A claim that the costs and expenses of this litigation, amortized over a reasonable period, should be included in the operating costs of the appellant stockyard company in determining the adequacy of rates fixed by the Secretary of Agriculture cannot be considered, it not having been presented by the bill or in the request for findings. P. 304 U. S. 484.

8. The evidence is not sufficient to require or warrant a finding that, in the immediate future, a return of six and one-half percent on the value of the stockyard company's property will be inadequate. P. 304 U. S. 485.

21 F.Supp. 83, affirmed.

Appeal from a decree of a District Court of three judges dismissing the bill in a suit to set aside an order of the Secretary of Agriculture prescribing maximum rates to be charged by the appellant Stock Yard Company.

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