Eastern Railroad Co. v. United States - 129 U.S. 391 (1889)


U.S. Supreme Court

Eastern Railroad Co. v. United States, 129 U.S. 391 (1889)

Eastern Railroad Company v. United States

No. 134

Argued January 22-23, 1589

Decided February 4, 1889

129 U.S. 391

APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF CLAIMS

Syllabus

Prior to the expiration, June 30, 1877, of a written contract with a railroad company for carrying the mails, the Postmaster General, acting under provisions of law, notified the company in writing that from the day of that expiration to a day which made a term of four years, the compensation would be at rates named in the notice, "unless otherwise ordered." The company transported the mails and accepted pay therefor at those rates, without objection. On the 1st July, 1878, the Postmaster General reduced the rates 5 percent under the provisions of an act of Congress to that effect. The company made no objections to this, and continued to transport the mails for the rest of the term of four years, and received pay therefor at the reduced rates. They then brought suit to recover the amount of the reduction made after July 1, 1878.

Held:

(1) That there was no contract to carry the mails for four years at fixed rates.



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