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MINNEAPOLIS EASTERN RAILWAY COMPANY v. MINNESOTA.

decided: March 24, 1890.

MINNEAPOLIS EASTERN RAILWAY COMPANY
v.
MINNESOTA.



ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA.

Author: Blatchford

[ 134 U.S. Page 469]

 MR. JUSTICE BLATCHFORD delivered the opinion of the court.

This is a writ of error to the Supreme Court of the State of Minnesota, to review its judgment awarding a peremptory writ of mandamus against the Minneapolis Eastern Railway Company, commanding it to comply with the requirements of the recommendation and order made by the Railroad and Warehouse Commission of the State of Minnesota, on the 2d of August, 1887, and to change its tariff of rates and charges for handling and switching any car over the lines of its railway in the city of Minneapolis, regardless of the distance or the character of the freight in such car, and to substitute therefor the tariff recommended, published and posted by said commission, to wit, the rate of $1.00 for handling and switching any car over its line of railway in said city, regardless of the distance or the character of the freight in such car, being the rate published by the commission and declared to be equal and reasonable. The case arose under the same statute considered in the case of Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Co. v. Minnesota, just decided, ante, 418.

The Minneapolis Eastern Railway Company was and is a railroad corporation duly created and organized under the general railroad law of the State of Minnesota, operating one or more lines of railway in the city of Minneapolis in that State, and a common carrier engaged in transporting freight

[ 134 U.S. Page 470]

     and property by rail within the limits of that city, and more particularly engaged in the business of handling and switching cars over its line or lines of railroad within said limits, and, as such common carrier, enjoying the right to conduct its business within the State of Minnesota, subject to the provision of section 4, of article 10 of the constitution of that State, and bound to carry minerals, agricultural and other productions and manufactures on equal and reasonable terms. Prior to the 7th of July, 1887, the company had and maintained in force a schedule of its tariff of rates within the city of Minneapolis, as follows: For handling and switching empty cars over its lines of railway within the limits of the city, $1.25 per car; for handling and switching loaded cars over its lines of railway within the limits of the city, $1.50 per car; and prior thereto said schedule of rates had been published by the company.

On the 7th of July, 1887, the Railroad Commission constituted by said act made an order which was served upon the company, and on the 2d of August, 1887, made a further order, a notice of which was served on the company in the following terms:

"Whereas, at a regular meeting of the Railroad and Warehouse Commission of the State of Minnesota, held at the office of said commission, in the city of St. Paul, in said state, on the 7th day of July last, and pursuant to section 8 of an act entitled 'An act to regulate common carriers, and creating the Railroad and Warehouse Commission of the State of Minnesota, and defining the duties of such commission in relation to common carriers,' approved March 7th, 1887, a notice of order was then and there made and issued by said commission and duly served upon you, of which the following is a copy, namely:

"'Whereas, all railroad companies owning or operating terminal or switching facilities at or within the city of Minneapolis, in said State, with the exception of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway Company, pursuant to subdivision (d) of section 8 of an act entitled "An act to regulate common carriers, and creating the Railroad and Warehouse

[ 134 U.S. Page 471]

     Commission of the State of Minnesota, and defining the duties of such commission in relation to common carriers," approved March 7th, 1887, have filed with this commission copies of their several schedules of rates and charges for switching cars on their respective tracks at and within said city; and whereas it appears from said schedule that the rates and charges made by said companies vary from twenty-five cents per car for empty cars to two dollars per car for loaded cars; and whereas said commission, after due and careful inquiry and consideration, do find that each and every charge in excess of one dollar per car for switching within the limits of said city of Minneapolis is unreasonable and an excessive compenation for the service performed: Now, therefore, it is ordered and determined by this commission, pursuant to the authority in them vested by the aforesaid legislative act, that all such schedules be changed by striking therefrom all charges or rates in excess of one dollar per car for the switching or transfer thereof and insert in room of the words or figures stricken out the words "one dollar" or the appropriate sign and figure therefor. It is the object and purpose of this order to establish one dollar as the maximum charge for the switching or transfer of any car at or within the limits of said city without regard to distance or the kind of goods or merchandise with which the car so switched or transferred may be loaded;'

"And whereas, by the subsequent action of said commission, of which said action you were duly notified by order of the commission, the said order or notice should not take effect or be considered to be of binding force upon you until the fifteenth day of said month;

"And whereas you have neglected and refused for more than ten days after and since the fifteenth day of July last to substitute such tariff of rates or charges or to adopt the same as recommended and directed by said commission, as in and by said notice and order you were recommended and required to do, and do still so neglect and refuse:

"Now, therefore, we, the said commission, do hereby publish and declare the said tariff of rates, namely, one dollar per

[ 134 U.S. Page 472]

     car for the switching or transfer of any loaded car by you within the limits of the said city of Minneapolis, as and to be the legal, equal and reasonable charge for such switching or transfer of cars by you, and that the same is now in force and effect in place of the charges and rate of compensation by you heretofore charged for such service.

"You, the said railway company, your agents and employes, will act accordingly or answer for a violation of the section and act to which reference is above made."

On the 10th of January, 1889, the commission, by the attorney general of the State made application in writing to the Supreme Court of the State to compel the company to comply with the recommendations made to it by the commission to change its tariff of rates for handling or switching cars within the city of Minneapolis, and to substitute therefor the tariff recommended by the commission, and to adopt the rates declared by the commission to be equal and reasonable for such services. The application set forth the schedule or tariff of rates so maintained by the company prior to the 7th of July, 1887, for switching empty and loaded cars over its lines of railway within the limits of the city of Minneapolis, the finding of the commission, on the 7th of July, 1887, that such schedule of rates was unequal and unreasonable, and its order establishing one dollar as the maximum charge for switching or transferring any car within the limits of the city, without regard to distance or the kind of goods with which it might be loaded; that the company had been duly notified of such action of the commission, and had neglected, for more than ten days after the 15th of July, 1887, to substitute or adopt the tariff of charges recommended and directed by the commission; that the commission had duly posted and published the tariff declared by it to be equal and reasonable; and that the company still refused to carry out the recommendation of the commission so made, published and posted, and continued to charge the rates so specified as its schedule tariff.

An alternative writ of mandamus was applied for and issued, commanding the company to adopt the rate of charges so declared by the commission to be equal and reasonable for

[ 134 U.S. Page 473]

     handling and switching cars within the city of Minneapolis, or to show cause why it had not done so, on the 15th of January, 1889.

By its return, filed January 21, 1889, the company made answer to the alternative writ as follows:

"That this respondent was organized as a railway company under and by virtue of the General Laws of the State of Minnesota, on or about the 17th day of June, A.D. 1878.

"That on or about the 27th day of January, A.D. 1879, its articles of association were amended so as to declare and make the general nature of its business to be the building and operating of a railway from the city of Minneapolis, in the county of Hennepin, and State of Minnesota, to the city of St. Paul, in the county of Ramsey, in said State, with branches connecting with any and all railroads then built or thereafter to be built or secured or constructed to or into the said cities or either of them; also branches to mills and manufactories in said cities or in either of them; the said railway and branches to be constructed and operated with one or more tracks and with necessary side-tracks, turn-outs and connections and all necessary roadways, right of way, depot grounds, yards, machine shops, warehouses, elevators, station-houses, structures and buildings, rolling stock, and all other real estate and personal property necessary or convenient for the operation and management of said railway.

"That the total length of its tracks heretofore constructed is about three and one-half (3 1/2) miles, and that said tracks are and at all times have been wholly within the city of Minneapolis.

"That the total cost to this respondent of its said system of railway and of the equipment thereof is the sum of two hundred and fifty-three thousand one hundred and forty-eight dollars and eleven cents ($253,148.11), embracing the following items:

"For right of way and damage to buildings, one

hundred thousand one hundred and two dollars

and ninety-nine cents $100,102 99

"For grading and surfacing, nine thousand two

hundred and thirty-seven dollars and sixty-four

cents ...


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