Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.


decided: May 24, 1897.



Author: Brewer

[ 167 U.S. Page 453]

 MR. JUSTICE BREWER, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.

Some preliminary matters deserve notice. The wrongs charged against the defendant took place in the winter of 1887-1888, and affected other Iowa shippers than the plaintiff. Several actions were brought by such shippers on account thereof, and brought by the counsel for this plaintiff. Two of such actions were tried before juries, and resulted in judgments for the plaintiffs. Osborne v. Chicago & Northwestern Railway, 48 Fed. Rep. 49.These judgments were taken to the Court of Appeals, and in October, 1892, were reversed and the cases remanded for new trials. 10 U.S. App. 430. The plaintiffs then applied to this court for a

[ 167 U.S. Page 454]

     certiorari, 146 U.S. 354, which, on December 5, 1892, was denied on the ground that there had been no final judgment. See Forsyth v. Hammond, 166 U.S. 506, 514. Thereafter, and on December 28, 1892, this amended and substituted petition was filed. Now it is contended that the Court of Appeals read into this petition the facts disclosed by the records in the former cases, and so decided some other case than the one presented. This is a mistake, though it may be that the court construed the allegations of this petition in the light of those facts.And it is not strange that it did so. For, while this being an action in behalf of a different plaintiff, he is not concluded by the evidence introduced on those trials, can state other and different facts, and recover on other and distinct grounds, yet the same acts on the part of the defendant are made in all the cases the basis of relief. Hence, allegations in this petition, which are doubtful in their meaning and susceptible of two construction s, may not unfairly be taken as intended to mean that which the testimony in the former cases showed were the facts. The course of the litigation makes it apparent that the purpose was not simply to present a new case to the same court, but to obtain from a higher court a construction of the law applicable to the facts. The brief of counsel, while it points out what is alleged are differences between the case made in this petition and that established in the prior cases, also discloses that in his judgment the views expressed by the Court of Appeals in those cases were wrong, and that he is seeking the judgment of this court thereon.It was easy, if counsel intended to present an entirely different case, to make the averments so positive and distinct as to clearly distinguish it.

We remark again that there is no averment in this petition that the rates charged to and paid by the plaintiff were, in themselves, unreasonable; that is, it is not claimed that the rates charged for shipping corn from points in Iowa to Chicago were not fair and reasonable charges for the services rendered. The burden of the complaint is the partiality and favoritism shown to places and shippers in Nebraska. The plaintiff is not seeking to recover money which inequitably

[ 167 U.S. Page 455]

     and without full value given has been taken from him. He is only seeking to recover money which he alleges is due, not because of any unreasonable charge, but on account of the wrongful conduct of the defendant.

Again, his cause of action is based entirely on a statute, and to enforce what is in its nature a penalty. Suppose that the officials of the defendant company had charged the plaintiff only a reasonable rate for his personal transportation from his home in Iowa to Chicago, and at the same time had, without any just occasion therefor, given to his neighbor across the street free transportation, thus being guilty of an act of favoritism and partiality -- an act which tended to diminish the receipts of the railroad company, and to that extent the dividends to its stockholders -- such partiality on their part would not, in the absence of a statute, have entitled the plaintiff to maintain an action for the recovery of the fare which he had paid, and thus to reduce still further the dividends to the stockholders. So, but for the provisions of the interstate commerce act, the plaintiff could not recover on account of his shipments to Chicago, if only a reasonable rate was charged therefor, no matter though it appeared that through any misconduct or partiality on the part of the railway officials shippers in Nebraska had been given a less rate.

It was, among other reasons, in order to avoid the public injury which had sprung from such conduct on the part of railway officials that the interstate commerce act was passed, and violations of its provisions were subjected to penalties of one kind or another. But it is familiar law that one who is seeking to recover a penalty is bound by the rule of strict proof. Before, therefore, the plaintiff can recover of this defendant for alleged violations of the interstate commerce act he must make a case showing not by way of inference but clearly and directly such violations. No violation of statute is to be presumed.Now, the tariff set out in the first four counts appears on its face to have been a joint tariff, and stated the rates to be charged from points of shipment to Rochelle or Turner on corn shipped to the four cities of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore. It does not purport

[ 167 U.S. Page 456]

     to be the local rate on grain shipped to Rochelle or Turner, or even to Chicago -- the eastern limit of the defendant's road. Nowhere in these counts is there an allegation as to the through rates from Nebraska or Iowa points to the four above-named eastern cities, or to any other place beyond the eastern terminus of defendant's road. There is nothing, therefore, to show that the local rate charged plaintiff from the Iowa place of shipment to Chicago was greater than the through rate charged from Nebraska to the four places on the seaboard, or greater than that charged for like shipments from his place of shipment to the same four places. No figures as to the through rate are give; no averments as to its relation to the local rates on the defendant's road, whether from Nebraska or Iowa to Chicago. So that if we regard this tariff as being (what on its face it purports to be) a joint tariff, there is no violation of the fourth section of the interstate commerce act, the one containing the long and short haul clause.

But it is said that there is an averment that the fixing or naming of Turner and Rochelle as the pretended termini of the shipments of corn and oats under the special tariff was a mere device to evade the law; that they were not grain markets, and had no elevators or facilities for handling grain, and that the grain was intended to be, and was in fact, transported by the defendant to Chicago, and there sold on the market or delivered to connecting roads for eastern points. It is this averment which introduces some uncertainty into the case. For if there had been no agreement between the defendant and eastern companies, and no through rates established thereby from Nebraska to the four places named, and this putting forth of the so-called joint tariff was a mere device, under color of which the defendant was shipping grain over its own lines from Nebraska to Chicago only, at less rates than were charged to the nearer points in Iowa, there ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.