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U.S. Supreme Court

Seaboard Air Line Ry. v. Florida ex Rel. Ellis, 203 U.S. 261 (1906)

Seaboard Air Line Railway v. Florida ex Rel. Ellis

Nos. 10, 11

Argued March 2, 5, 1906

Decided December 3, 1906

203 U.S. 261


Atlantic Coastline v. Florida ex Rel. Ellis, ante, p. 203 U. S. 256, followed.

Where the record does not disclose why an order of a state railroad commission was made applicable only to certain local and intrastate rates, but the state law provides that rates so fixed are to be considered in all courts as prima facie just and reasonable, and the effect of the order was to equalize rates, this Court will not hold the judgment of the highest court of the state sustaining the rate was erroneous. A state may insist upon equality of intrastate railroad rates, the conditions being the same, without depriving the railroad company of its property without due process of law.

It will be presumed that a state railroad commission acts in fixing an intrastate railroad rate with full knowledge of the situation, and where the record does not disclose all the evidence, a rate sustained by the highest court of the state will not be held by this Court to be confiscatory and depriving the railroad company of its property without due process of law where it appears by the report of the company that the rate exceeds the average rate received by the company during the previous year.

48 Fla. 129 and 150 affirmed.

These cases resemble the one immediately preceding, in this: that review is sought in each of an award of a peremptory writ of mandamus by the Supreme Court of Florida to compel compliance with an order of the state railroad commission. In the first, the court sustained an order of the commission, made June 25, 1903, and to go into effect July 1, 1903, prescribing rates on the Florida West Shore Railway, charged to be under the control and management of the plaintiff in error, 48 Fla. 129, 152, the order being in these words:

"It is hereby ordered and adjudged by the Railroad Commission of the State of Florida that the following schedule of freight tariffs shall be allowed and adopted for freight shipments over the

Page 203 U. S. 262

Seaboard Air Line Railway, to apply only to shipments from or destined to points on the Florida West Shore Railway, and from points on the Florida West Shore Railway to points on the Florida West Shore Railway, and the same shall be put into operation and be effective on the first day of July, A.D. 1903,"

and followed by the schedule, and in the second, it enforced the order of the commission in respect to phosphates (which was noticed by us in the opinion in the preceding case). 48 Fla. 150.

The proceedings before the commission are not disclosed, nor is there anything to show upon what the orders were based. There was notice and a hearing. And in the pleadings in the first case appear the contracts between the plaintiff in error and the Florida West Shore Railway.

In the supreme court the relator presented no testimony, relying upon the statutory presumption which attends an order of the commission. The defendant introduced the report which it had made to the railroad commission for the year ending June 30, 1904, and the report of the railroad commission to the governor of the state for the year ending March 1, 1904, and upon these two reports the cases were considered by the supreme court. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 203 U. S. 268

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