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U.S. Supreme Court

Stimson Lumber Co. v. Kuykendall, 275 U.S. 207 (1927)

Washington ex Rel. Stimson Lumber Company v. Kuykendall

No. 66

Argued October 24, 1927

Decided November 21, 1927

275 U.S. 207


1. Operators of towboats who hold themselves out as engaged in the business of common carriers in the towing of logs in Puget Sound chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 275 U. S. 208

and adjacent waters, and who for that purpose devote their towboat to public use, are common carriers, not because of any legislative fiat, but by reason of the character of their business, and are subject to legislative regulation of their rates for such towage. P. 275 U. S. 211.

2. The rule that towboats not having exclusive control of vessels towed are not to be held to the strict liability of common carriers does not affect this question, and a notice in the carrier's tariff that all tows are at the owner's risk is immaterial, since a common carrier is such by virtue of his occupation, not by virtue of the responsibilities under which he rests. P. 275 U. S. 211.

3. A state regulation fixing reasonable rates for towage of logs by common carriers does not deprive shippers of property in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing them from securing lower rates through private contract with such carriers. P. 275 U. S. 212.

137 Wash. 602 affirmed.

Error to a judgment of the Supreme Court of Washington sustaining an order of the Department of Public Works of the State of Washington declaring a specified rate on the towage of logs to be just and fair, and directing a towage company to collect it for towage done for the relator lumber company.

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