SWIFT & CO. V. UNITED STATES, 316 U. S. 216 (1942)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Swift & Co. v. United States, 316 U.S. 216 (1942)

Swift & Co. v. United States

No. 595

Argued March 6, 9, 1942

Decided May 4, 1942

316 U.S. 216


1. Transportation by railroad of livestock in carload lots to public stockyards includes unloading into suitable pens. § 15, Interstate Commerce Act. P. 316 U. S. 223.

2. Whether the use of stockyard facilities for egress of livestock to the public street after unloading is a part of the transportation service for which charges may reasonably be made, is a question to be decided by the Interstate Commerce Commission in the exercise of its judgment upon the facts of each particular case, and not for decision according to any fixed rule of law. P. 316 U. S. 225.

3. Pursuant to long and uniform practice, direct shipments of livestock made by Chicago meat packers to themselves at the Chicago stockyards are there unloaded in pens furnished by the stockyards company -- a service for which the carrier pays the stockyards, absorbing the charge in its transportation rates, and further "yardage" charges are collected by the stockyards company from the packers for subsequent stockyards services, including the use of the stockyards property for egress of the livestock to the public street. The packing companies asked the Interstate Commerce Commission to establish rules and practices under which they might obtain delivery of the livestock in the pens, with egress for its immediate removal to the nearest public street by a way to be designated by the carriers, without payment of yardage charges to the stockyards company or of any charges other than the line-haul rates.


(1) In determining the reasonableness of the practice, the Commission properly considered its evolution, including the history of dealings between the packers and the stockyards company, and considered the effect of the existing and proposed practices on the interests of the carriers, the public and other shippers. P. 316 U. S. 225.

(2) A finding by the Commission that the practice is reasonable is supported by evidence, and is therefore conclusive on this Court. P. 316 U. S. 231.

(3) The Commission, having decided that transportation ended with the unloading of the livestock into the unloading pens, rightly concluded that it had no jurisdiction to inquire into the reasonableness chanrobles.com-red

Page 316 U. S. 217

of practices or charges of the stockyards company beyond that point. P. 316 U. S. 231.

(4) Insofar as the stockyards company is an agency in transportation, it is subject to the Interstate Commerce Act and to the control of the Interstate Commerce Commission. Insofar as it performs stockyards services, it is subject to the Packers and Stockyards Act and to regulation by the Secretary of Agriculture. P. 316 U. S. 232.


Appeal from a decree of the District Court, three judges sitting, which dismissed a bill to set aside an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission.


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