« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
it in their power to extort the utmost farthing which such intermediate business is capable of bearing. Those who have them in charge can organize side or collateral business enterprises, and so manipulate their roads as to seriously cripple their competitors and add to their own profits. These are but some of the possibilities incident to railroad management. Nevertheless, with ail their capacity for injustice, they cannot be dispensed with. But are their duties and obligations to individuals and to the public to be measured by the judg. ment of the interested parties, using them to further their own selfish schemes, or by the courts ? And if by the latter, to what extent may the courts go in supervising their actions and in restraining abuses? These are grave questions, which we will now endeavor to answer.
The great and fundamental principle on which we rest the conclusions hereinafter stated is the conceded fact that railroad corporations are quasi public corporations dedicated to the public use. It is upon this idea that they have been invested with the power of eminent domain,the authority to take and appropriate private property to their use by paying a just compensation therefor. They have been created for the purpose of exercising the functions and performing the duties of common carriers. Their duties and liabilities are defined by law. In accepting their charters they necessarily accept them with all the duties and liabilities annexed; that is to say, they undertake to construct the roads contemplated by their several charters; to keep them in good condition; equip them with suitable rolling stock and safe machinery; employ skilled and trustworthy laborers; provide suitable means of access to and egress from their trains; erect depots and designate stopping-places wherever the public necessities require them; supply, to the extent of their resources, necessary and adequate facilities for the transaction of all the business offered; deal fairly and impartially with their patrons; keep pace with improvements in railroad machinery, and adapt their service to the varying necessities and improved methods of doing business.
The granting and acceptance of such charter creates a quasi public trust, and clothes the public with an interest in the use of railroads, which can be controlled by the public to the extent of the interest granted therein. Munn v. Illinois, 94 U.S. 126 to 134, inclusive. But how and by whom can this quasi public trust be administered ?
The defendant insists that relief cannot be given by this court. The contention is that all persons injured in their property or persons by the wrongful action or non-action of a railroad corporation
can have adequate relief in a court of law by a suit to recover damages for the wrong done, or by mandamus to compel a fulfillment of its corporate obligations. These remedies undoubtedly exist; but is there no other and better remedy for the redress of such wrongs ? Suppose defendant should entirely suspend its operations and refuse to run trains upon its road, it would be in default, and everybody injured thereby could sue and recover the specific damages sustained. But is the public without redress, and are the courts without power to interfere, at the instance of one or more individuals, and protect the public as well as individuals from the threatened deprivation of the benefits and advantages intended to be provided by the building of the road? Or suppose the defendant should ignore the claims of some populous neighborhood, whose business justified and whose necessities required depot accommodations for the receipt and discharge of passengers and freight, and in this way force the people of such locality to transact their business through a depot eight or ten miles distant-is there no redress except through a multiplicity of suits to be prosecuted at law by each injured party, or such relief as could be obtained through the tardy and inadequate process of mandamus? These remedies exist. But they are not the only means of relief. The defendant, by accepting its charter, assumed certain obligations in favor of the public in the nature of a quasi public trust, and the duty of enforcing the execution of this trust, in the absence of some statute providing another and different remedy, devolves upon courts of equity. All matters of confidence and trust are within their peculiar cognizance. They may restrain or command, remove a trustee and substitute another in his stead, or execute the trust themselves, as the exigencies of each particular case may require. Their jurisdiction has been well established and defined. No court, I presume, exercising equity powers would hesitate, upon proper application, to command the defendant, in the contingencies supposed to provide a depot or operate its road, for the obvious reason that the road was authorized and built for and dedicated to the public, and the public has a right to use it; and if the officers representing the corporation were to refuse to execute the trusts reposed in them, in the particulars mentioned, or in any other respect, it would be the imperative duty of the courts of equity, on due application, to interfere, and by an exercise of their extraordinary powers compel a faithful observance and discharge of all of its obli. gations. If these courts can lawfully do this, their supervising authority over such corporations to the extent of the public interest
in them is vindicated; that is, they can compel them to keep their roads, rolling stock, and machinery in good condition; force them to establish and maintain depots at suitable points where the business and public necessities require them; provide suitable means of access to and egress from their trains; forbid injurious discriminations; and, to the extent of their means, supply all the facilities for the safe transmission of persons and property contemplated by their charters. Their authority to do this was affirmed and applied in the recent litigation between the express and the railroad companies, in which the railroad companies admitted an obligation to receive, carry, and deliver express freight, but contended that they were only bound to do so when the freight to be carried was delivered into their custody to be carried in the usual way at their risk and on their freight trains, to be delivered by them to the consignees. But every court before which the question was argued held otherwise.
In the last of these cases, recently decided by Mr. Justice Miller and Judge McCrary at St. Louis, Missouri, the court ordered the railroad company, upon a motion for a preliminary injunction, to furnish the express company with suitable freight cars to be attached to its passenger trains for the transportation of its freight in care of its own messengers, and at the rates fixed by the court, thus recognizing in the fullest possible manner the authority of the court to supervise and control the action of the railroad company in the public interest.
Now, if it was competent for the court to thus interfere and control the railroad company in a matter of detail in its business affairs, why may I not, if the facts of this case justify relief, compel the defendant railroad company to make deliveries of live-stock consigned to complainant on the same terms and in the same manner as under like conditions deliveries are made by it to its co-defendant?
The business of receiving, feeding, dealing in, and forwarding livestock is legitimate and necessary. To do so on a scale commensurate with the trade of Cincinnati in that line necessitates large expenditures in the erection of buildings and equipment of suitable yards; and, being both legitimate and useful, everybody engaging in it is entitled to equal facilities in the use of railroads, upon which they are largely dependent for success; for it is obvious if the railroads centering at Cincinnati, or the officials who control them, are permitted to combine and establish a stock-yard as a private enterprise, and by contract make it the depot of the roads for the receipt and delivery of all the stock brought to or carried through the city, and withhold like
accommodations from their competitors, they can suppress competition, and establish and maintain a monopoly in that particular department of trade, and subject the public to the payment of undue and unreasonable exactions for the services rendered.
I am very clear that no such right exists. Where a railroad company assumes to receive, take care of, water, feed, and forward stock as a part of its undertaking to transport them, as it may lawfully do, they are at liberty to select such agencies as they may choose to employ for the purpose, and the exercise of the right is no wrong to any one else. But that is not the question here. The complainant does not complain of defendant's transacting its business through its own agents. Its complaint is that the defendant refuses to deliver stock consigned to his yard to him, except through the yards of co-defendant, and it is against this unauthorized and injurious discrimination that he seeks relief. The two yards are contiguous. They are both connected with the Cincinnati & Baltimore Railroad Company's road (over which the defendant is running its trains) by suitable switches. The railroad defendant can receive stock from and deliver stock to the one as easily as to the other, but refuses to do so. The discrimination is contrary to a sound public policy and injurious to the complainant. It gives to the United Railroad Stock-Yards Company important advantages in the receipt and shipment of stock, over the complainant-an injustice which no railroad company, in the exercise of its quasi public functions, ought to be permitted to inflict upon any one engaged in a lawful and necessary pursuit. The power to prevent such an abuse is, as we have already affirmed, vested in courts of equity until the legislature shall provide another and different remedy.
A preliminary injunction, corresponding in its scope with the restraining order heretofore issued, is therefore granted, on complainant's entering into a bond in the penalty of $20,000, with securities to be approved and accepted by the clerk, conditioned to prosecute the suit with effect, or in the event he fails to do so that he will pay the defendants all such damages respectively sustained by reason of the wrongful suing out of said injunction.
NOTE. The temporary restraining order was as follows: “It is therefore ordered by the court that the defendant railroad company shall, so long as said company shall continue to deliver stock to the United Railroads Stock-Yards Company, until the further order of the court, desist from making any discrimination between the complainant's yards and those of the United Railroads Stock-Yards Company, and shall receive all the stock consigned, or which
the shipper shall desire to consign, to said complainant's yards, and transport and deliver the same upon the same terms and in the same manner that stock is received and transported and delivered unto the United Railroads StockYards Company, upon giving bond in the sum of $20,000.”
It may be noted, as a part of the history of this controversy, that the Marietta & Cincinnati Railroad Company, operating the Cincinnati & Baltimore Railroad, had established a switch to the United Railroads Stock-Yards, and made that its live-stock station for the city of Cincinnati, and refused to establish or permit the establishment of a switch to, or station at, the stockyards of the complainant in the principal case. That being the only road reaching the stock-yards of the complainant he was practically cut off from access to or from the railroads of the city. The Marietta & Cincinnati Railroad Company was in the hands of receivers appointed by the common pleas court of Ross county, Ohio. An application was made to Judge Baxter to compel the receivers to afford the complainant equal facilities with those accorded his competitor. As the receivers had been appointed by the state court, and its road and property were therefore under its control, his honor refused the application and remitted the complainant to the state court for redress. Afterwards application was made to the Ross county court, and, after full hearing, an order entered directing the receivers to afford to the complainant equal facilities with those granted to the rival yard. For a re port of the decision of the Ross county common pleas court, which was delivered by Judge Minshall, see 7 Cincinnati Weekly Law Bull. 295.
See, on the subject of railroad discrimination, Hays v. Pennsylvania Co. 12 FED. REP. 309, and note thereto. Also the Express Company Cases, before Justice Miller and Judge McCrary, 10 FED. REP. 210, 869.-REP.
DUNSCOMB and others v. Holst and others.
(Circuit Court, W. D. Tennessee. June 21, 1882.) 1. JUDICIAL SALE-RIGHT OF PURCHASER TO DEMAND GOOD TITLE_WILL.
At a sale of land at public auction by an officer of the court, where the title to the land was acquired by the defendant under the following devise in a will: “I bequeath to my daughter (the land in question) for her and her children's sole and separate use, free from any claim or control of her husband,”—and the purchaser at the sale declined to comply with the terms of his purchase, alleging a defect of title, held, that a title acquired by such a devisee is not of such clear and indisputable character as the purchaser has a right to demand, and that a court of equity will relieve the purchaser from complying with his bid
made at the sale. 2. SAME-SAME-PRACTICE-RESALE.
That under such circumstances, and after an investigation of the title by the master, the court will order a resale of such interest in the land as the defendants to the suit may have.