United States v. Lehigh Valley R. Co. - 220 U.S. 257 (1911)


U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Lehigh Valley R. Co., 220 U.S. 257 (1911)

United States v. Lehigh Valley Railroad Company

No. 536

Argued January 5, 1911

Decided April 3, 1911

220 U.S. 257

Syllabus

The rule that the allowance of amendments to pleadings is discretionary with the trial court and not to be reviewed on appeal except in case of gross abuse does not apply where such discretion is controlled by this Court and the refusal to allow an amendment defeats the evident purpose of this Court in remanding the case.

Where the refusal of the circuit court to allow an amendment is in conflict with the opinion and mandate of this Court, there is an abuse of discretion which this Court can and will correct on appeal, even if such abuse be the result of misconception of the opinion and of the scope of the mandate.

While the decision of this Court in this and other commodities clause cases, 213 U. S. 213 U.S. 366, expressly held that, under the commodities clause, stock ownership by a railroad company in a bona fide corporation, irrespective of the extent of such ownership, does not preclude the railroad company from transporting the commodities manufactured, produced, or owned by such corporation, it is still open to the government to question the right of the railroad company to transport commodities of a corporation in which the company owns stock and uses its power as a stockholder to obliterate all distinctions between the two corporations, and an amendment to the original bill in one of the commodities cases alleging such facts as show the absolute control by the defendant railroad company, through stock ownership, over the corporation whose commodities are being transported is germane to the original bill, and should have been allowed by the trial court.

By the operation and effect of the commodities clause, a duty has been cast upon an interstate carrier not to abuse its power as a stockholder of a corporation whose commodities it transports in interstate commerce by so commingling the affairs of that corporation with its own as to cause the two corporations to become one and inseparable.

Page 220 U. S. 258

The facts are stated in the opinion.

Page 220 U. S. 263



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