Baltimore & Ohio R. Co. v. Pitcairn Coal Co.
215 U.S. 481 (1910)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Baltimore & Ohio R. Co. v. Pitcairn Coal Co., 215 U.S. 481 (1910)

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company v. Pitcairn Coal Company

No. 289

Argued October 18, 19, 1909

Decided January 10, 1910

215 U.S. 481

Syllabus

Regulations which are primarily within the competency of the Interstate Commerce Commission are not subject to judicial supervision or enforcement until that body has been properly afforded an opportunity to exert its administrative functions. Texas & Pacific Railway Co. v. Abilene Cotton Oil Co.,204 U. S. 426, applied, and Southern Railway Co. v. Tift,206 U. S. 428, distinguished.

The distribution to shippers of coal cars including those owned by the shippers and those used by the carrier for its own fuel is a matter involving preference and discrimination and within the competency of the Interstate Commerce Commission, and the courts cannot interfere with regulations in regard to such distribution until after action thereon by the Commission.

Even if not assigned as error, this Court will consider the jurisdictional question of whether there is power in the court, in view of the provisions of the Act to Regulate Commerce, to grant the relief prayed for in regard to matters within the competency of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Under the court review provisions of § 15 of the Act to Regulate Commerce as amended in 106, the courts are limited to the question of power of the Commission to make the order, and cannot consider the wisdom or expediency of the order itself. Interstate Commerce Commission v. Illinois Central Railroad, ante, p. 215 U. S. 452.

Page 215 U. S. 482

Section 23 of the Act to Regulate Commerce, although added thereto in 1889, will now be construed in the light of § 15, as amended in 1906, and the remedy of mandamus is limited to compelling the performance of duties which are either so plain as not to require a prerequisite exertion of power by the Interstate Commerce Commission, or which plainly arise from the obligatory force given by the statute to existing orders rendered by the Commission within the lawful scope of its authority

Petition in mandamus by a shipper averring discrimination in distribution of coal cars by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad dismissed because the matter had not been first submitted to the Interstate Commerce Commission.

165 F. 113 reversed.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

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