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U.S. Supreme Court

Conrail v. National Assn. of Recycling Indus., 449 U.S. 609 (1981)

Consolidated Rail Corporation v. National Association

of Recycling Industries, Inc.

No. 80-568

Decided January 26, 1981

449 U.S. 609


After conducting the investigation required by §§ 204(a)(1) and (2) of the Railroad Revitaliation and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976, the Interstate Commerce Commission ultimately concluded that the rail rate structure for recyclable and competing virgin materials unjustly discriminated against certain recyclables and that, in general, rates for recyclables were unreasonable high if they produced a "revenue to variable" cost ratio exceeding 180%. The Commission's order, with regard to the elimination of discrimination, permitted the railroads to raise the rates for recyclables and competing virgin materials to a level above the previous levels for either commodity, if the new rate did not produce revenue in excess of the 180% ratio. The Court of Appeals affirmed as to the Commission's findings on discrimination, but concluded that the Commission had erred as to the scope of the remedy and had failed adequately to justify the 180% ratio as indicative of reasonableness. The court revoked the resulting rate increases for recyclables; remanded for a determination of whether the 180% ratio, or some other formula, provided the appropriate standard for determining reasonableness; and, until such a standard had been adequately justified, enjoined implementation of any rate increase for recyclables, except one caused by a general rate increase.

Held: While the Court of Appeals had the power to order further proceedings to determine the propriety of the 180% ratio standard, it had no power to revoke rates implemented under the standard and to enjoin any further increases toward the 180% level. The court did not reject the 180% ratio standard outright, but remanded to the Commission for further proceedings which could either produce a new standard or clarify the basis for the 180% ratio. Such a posture provides no basis for either revoking or enjoining rate increases.

Certiorari granted; 201 U.S.App.D.C. 342, 627 F.2d 1328, vacated in part and remanded. chanrobles.com-red

Page 449 U. S. 610


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