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Opinion of the Court.
Mr. John F. Dillon and Mr. E. Baxter, (with whom was Mr. Winslow F. Pierce on the brief,) for appellant.
Mr. Simon Sterne and Mr. John D. Kernan for appellee.
MR. JUSTICE SHIRAs, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.
It was claimed in the courts below, and it is also urged in this court, that the Interstate Commerce Commission is not a corporate body or person in whose name a suit can be instituted. It seems to be thought that the Commission can only sue in the names of the persons composing it.
The 16th section of the act to regulate commerce, as amended March 2, 1889, c. 382, 25 Stat. 859, provides that “whenever any common carrier, as defined in and subject to the provisions of that act, shall violate, or refuse or neglect to obey or perform, any lawful order or requirement of the Commission created by the act, not founded upon a controversy requiring a trial by jury, as provided by the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, it shall be lawful for the Commission, or for any company or person interested in such order or requirement, to apply in a summary way, by petition, to the Circuit Court of the United States sitting in equity in the judicial district in which the common carrier complained of has its principal office, or in which the violation or disobedience of such order or requirement shall happen, alleging such violation or disobedience, as the case may be; and the said court shall have power to hear and determine the matter, on such short notice to the common carrier complained of as the court shall deem reasonable; and such notice may be served on such common carrier, his or its officers, agents or servants, in such manner as the court shall direct; and said court shall proceed to hear and determine the matter speedily as a court of equity, and without the formal pleadings and proceedings applicable to ordinary suits in equity, but in such manner as to do equity in the premises."
Opinion of the Court.
The language contained in the 11th section creating the Commission is as follows, act of February 4, 1887, c. 104, 24 Stat. 379, 383: “That a Commission is hereby created and established to be known as the Interstate Commerce Commission, which shall be composed of five commissioners, who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
No vacancy in the Commission shall impair the right of the remaining commissioners to exercise all the powers of the Commission,” and in the 17th section it is provided that “said Commission shall have an official seal, which shall be judicially noticed.”
In the case of Interstate Commerce Commission v. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, a suit was instituted by the Commission in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of Ohio, and the decree of that court was affirmed by this court. 145 U. S. 264. Likewise, in the case of Interstate Commerce Commission v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fé Railroad, a suit was brought in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of California, by the Commission eo nomine against that company, wherein it was held by this court that an appeal did not lie directly to this court since the creation of the Circuit Court of Appeals. 149 U. S. 264.
In neither of these cases was any objection made to the right of the Commission to sue by its statutory designation.
We think that the language of the statute, in creating the Commission, and in providing that it shall be lawful for the Commission to apply by petition to the Circuit Court sitting in equity, sufficiently implies the intention of Congress to create a body corporate with legal capacity to be a party plaintiff or defendant in the Federal Courts.
Another formal objection made to the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court was raised by a plea in abatement denying that the Texas and Pacific Railway Company had its principal •office in the State of New York, or that the acts complained of took place within the judicial district of said court.
Upon facts made to appear by affidavits submitted by both "parties, under a stipulation, the Circuit Court overruled the plea. Our examination of the facts so submitted, and which
Opinion of the Court.
are brought before us by a bill of exceptions, has not convinced us that the court erred in overruling the plea.
Another objection urged is that, as the order of the Commission involves rates participated in by the Southern Pacific Company, as owner of a portion of the line over which the through freight is carried, that company was a necessary party. Undoubtedly that company would have been a proper party, but we agree with the Circuit Court in thinking that it. was not a necessary one)
We come now to the main question of the case, and that is whether the Commission erred, when making the order of January 29, 1891, in not taking into consideration the ocean competition as constituting a dissimilar condition, and in holding that no circumstances and conditions which exist beyond the sea-board in the United States could be legitimately regarded by them for the purpose of justifying a difference in rates between import and domestic traffic.
The answer of the Texas and Pacific Railway Company to the petition of the New York Board of Trade and Transportation before the Interstate Commerce Commission, and the answer of said company to the petition of the Commission filed in the Circuit Court, allege that rates for the transportation of commodities from Liverpool and London, England, to San Francisco, California, are in effect fixed and controlled by the competition of sailing vessels for the entire distance; by steamships and sailing vessels in connection with railroads across the Isthmus of Panama; by steamships and sailing vessels from Europe to New Orleans, connecting these under through arrangements with the Southern Pacific Company to San Francisco: That, unless the defendant company charges substantially the rates specified in its answer, it would be prevented, by reason of the competition aforesaid, from engaging in the carrying and transportation of property and import traffic from Liverpool and London to San Francisco, and would lose the revenue derived by it therefrom, which is considerable, and important and valuable to said company: That the rates charged by it are not to the prejudice or disadvantage of New Orleans, and work no injury to that community,
Opinion of the Court.
because, if said company is prevented from participating in said traffic, such traffic would move via the other routes and lines aforesaid without benefit to New Orleans, but, on the contrary, to its disadvantage: That the foreign or import traffic is upon orders by persons, firms and corporations in San Francisco and vicinity buying direct of first hands in London, Liverpool, and other European markets; and if the order of the Commission should be carried into effect it would not result in discontinuance of that practice or in inducing them to buy in New Orleans in any event: That the result of the order would be to injuriously affect the defendant company in the carriage of articles of foreign imports to Memphis, St. Louis, Kansas City and other Missouri River points: And that by such order the defendant company would be prevented from competing for freight to important points in the State of Texas with the railroad system of that State, having Galveston as a receiving port, and which railroad system is not subject to the control of the Interstate Commerce Commission. These allegations of the answer were not traversed or denied by the Commission, but are confirmed by the findings of the Commission attached as an exhibit to the petition in the case; and by said findings it further appears that the proportion the Texas and Pacific Railway receives of the through rate is remunerative — that the preponderance of its empty cars go north during eight months of the year, and if something can be obtained to load, it is that much found, and anything is regarded as remunerative that can be obtained to put in its cars to pay mileage - that the competition which controls the making of rates to the Pacific coast is steamship by way of the Isthmus and in cheap heavy goods around Cape Horn — that the competition to interior points, such as Missouri River points and Denver, is from the trunk lines direct from the Atlantic sea-board — that the ships engaged in carrying to San Francisco around Cape Horn are almost wholly British bottoms — that the through bill of lading furnishes a collateral for the transaction of business, takes from the shipper and consignee both the care as to intermediate charges, elevators, wharves and cost of handling, and puts it on the
Opinion of the Court.
carrier; it reduces the intermediate charges, very much facilitates the transaction of business, and helps to swell its volume
-and that the tendency of the through bill of lading is to eliminate the obstacles between the producer and consumer, and it has done much in that direction.
These and other uncontroverted facts that appear in this record would seem to constitute “circumstances and conditions” worthy of consideration, when carriers are charged with being guilty of unjust discrimination or of giving unreasonable and undue preference or advantage to any person or locality.
But we understand the view of the Commission to have been that it was not competent for the Commission to consider such facts — that it was shut up by the terms of the act of Congress, to consider only such “circumstances and conditions” as pertained to the articles of traffic after they had reached and been delivered at a port of the United States or Canada.
It is proper that we should give the views of the Commission in its own words:
“The statute has provided for the regulation of interstate traffic by interstate carriers, partly by rail and partly by water, or all rail, shipped from one point in the United States to another destination within the United States, or from a point of shipment in the United States to a port of entry within the United States or an adjacent foreign country, or from a port of entry either within the United States or in an adjacent foreign country, on import traffic brought to such port of entry from a foreign port of shipment and destined to a place within the United States. In providing for this regulation the statute has also provided for the methods of such regulation by publication of tariffs of rates and charges at points where the freight is received and at which it is delivered, and also for taking into consideration the circumstances and conditions surrounding the transportation of the property. The statute has undertaken no such regulation from foreign ports of shipment to ports of entry either within the United States or to ports of entry in an adjacent foreign country, and as between these ports bas provided for no publication of tar