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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Carolina Freight Carriers Corp., 315 U.S. 475 (1942)

United States v. Carolina Freight Carriers Corp.


Argued January 16, 1942

Decided March 2, 1942

315 U.S. 475


1. Under the "grandfather clause" of the Motor Carrier Act of 1935, the Interstate Commerce Commission's authorization of operation as a common carrier by motor vehicle within a specified "territory" may permit service to all points in part of the area and to designated points in other parts. P. 315 U. S. 480.

2. The precise delineation of the area or the specification of localities which may be served is for the Commission, and only where error is patent may its determination be set aside. P. 315 U. S. 480. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 315 U. S. 476

3. A holding out to serve a specified area does not, in itself, constitute "bona fide operation" within the meaning of the Act; actual and substantial service is required. P. 315 U. S. 480.

4. In the authorization of operation as a common carrier under the "grandfather clause," there is no statutory warrant for applying to irregular route carriers a different or stricter test as to commodities which may be carried than is applied to regular route carriers. P. 315 U. S. 484.

5. In authorizing operation as a common carrier under the "grandfather clause" by an irregular route carrier in this case, the Interstate Commerce Commission determined that only certain commodities could be carried and that some could be transported only between designated points in the territory. Held that the basic or essential findings required to support the Commission's order were lacking. P. 315 U. S. 488.

(a) If an applicant for common carrier rights under the "grandfather clause" has, during the critical period, carried a wide variety of general commodities, he cannot necessarily be denied the right to carry others of the same class merely because he has never carried them before; nor can he necessarily be restricted to those commodities which he carried with more frequency and in greater quantities than he did others. P. 315 U. S. 483.

(b) Nor does the fact that some of the articles were carried before June 1, 1935, but not since, necessarily mean that they should be excluded from the permit. P. 315 U. S. 484.

(c) The questions are whether the applicant's service within the territory was sufficiently regular, and whether his coverage of commodities was sufficiently representative to support a finding that he was in "bona fide operation" as a "common carrier" of the group of commodities or of the class or classes of property during the critical period. P. 315 U. S. 484.

(d) If the applicant establishes that he was a "common carrier" of a group of commodities or of an entire class or classes of property and was in "bona fide operation" during the critical period in a specified territory, restrictions as to commodities within such classes which may be moved in any one direction or between designated points are not justified. P. 48.

(e) Once the applicant has established his common carrier status as respects particular commodities, shipments to any parts of the authorized territory, or to any of the authorized points therein, should be permitted in the absence of evidence that the applicant, chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 315 U. S. 477

as respects carriage between specified points, had restricted its undertaking. P. 315 U. S. 487.

38 F.Supp. 549 affirmed.

Appeal from a decree setting aside an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

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