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U.S. Supreme Court

Kansas City Southern Ry. Co. v. Albers Comm'n Co., 223 U.S. 573 (1912)

Kansas City Southern Railway Company

v. C. H. Albers Commission Co.

No. 18

Argued October 26, 1911

Decided February 26, 1912

223 U.S. 573


The insistence in the state court by an interstate carrier that a shipper cannot recover excess collected over a special contract rate because the rate collected conformed to the applicable provisions of the Interstate Commerce Act is an adequate assertion of a right or immunity under that act, and this Court can review judgment in favor of the shipper.

On writ of error to the state court, this Court may examine the entire record, including the evidence, to determine whether what purports to be a finding of fact is not so involved with, and dependent upon, questions of federal law as to be really a decision thereof.

In this case, the finding of the state court as to a rate charged by an interstate carrier necessarily involved the interpretation and construction of the Interstate Commerce Act, and this Court can examine the evidence and ascertain for itself the validity of the rate under the statute.

Posting the schedules of rates of interstate carriers as required by § 6 of the Interstate Commerce Act is a means of affording special facilities to the public for ascertaining the rates actually in force, but is not essential to make the rates legally operative.

The sanction by connecting carriers of through rates published by another carrier is only essential as to their application to the haul from common points; rates from other points are individual, and not joint.

Where a schedule of joint rates is not restricted to particular lines designated, it will be presumed, where there is testimony to that effect, as applying to shipments received from any connecting line of goods originating at the designated points.

Although the testimony offered may not be the best evidence, it cannot be disregarded if offered and admitted without objection. Diaz v. United States, ante, p. 223 U. S. 442.

Where there is no applicable through rate established, shipments, chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 223 U. S. 574

even if moving on through bills of lading, must take the local rate unless displaced by a lawful special agreement.

A special rate agreement which departs from the established local rate for the benefit of a single shipper, no schedule of which is filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission, violates § 6 of the Interstate Commerce Act.

A carrier is not liable to action to refund the excess over an illegal special rate if the rate actually collected is the applicable legal published rate.

79 Kan. 59 reversed.

The facts, which involve the right of recovery from an interstate carrier of difference between contract rates and rate actually charged, and the validity under the Interstate Commerce Laws of the rates contracted for and collected, are stated in the opinion. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 223 U. S. 584

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