ICC v. Baltimore & Ohio R. Co. - 225 U.S. 306 (1912)
U.S. Supreme Court
ICC v. Baltimore & Ohio R. Co., 225 U.S. 306 (1912)
Interstate Commerce Commission v.
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company
Argued January 15, 16, 1912
Decided June 10, 1912
225 U.S. 306
The Commerce Court has jurisdiction of a petition of a carrier to restrain an affirmative order of the Interstate Commerce Commission that it desist from paying allowance for lighterage to one shipper unless it pay the same to other shippers, and also has power to determine whether such order was entitled to be enforced.
The Commerce Court has power to allow a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission directing the carrier to desist from paying allowances for lighterage.
An appeal to this Court from an interlocutory order of the Commerce Court allowing a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of an affirmative order of the Interstate Commerce Commission lies under § 2 of the act creating the court, now § 210 of the new Judicial Code.
Under § 210 of the Judicial Code, injunction orders can be issued by the Commerce Court restraining the enforcement of an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission in the following classes of cases:
First. A temporary restraining order staying in whole or in part the operation of the order for not more than sixty days to be allowed by the court or a judge thereof.
Second. A preliminary injunction to restrain or suspend in whole or in part the operation of the Commission's order pendente lite to be granted by the court.
Third. A perpetual injunction upon entry of final decree.
The requirements in § 210, Judicial Code, that a restraining order must contain a statement of facts as to irreparable damage resulting from the order of the Commission relates only to the first class of cases.
This Court will not apply to the construction of the equity powers of a statutory court general principles of equity if the effect would be to destroy the law creating the court by expunging therefrom the very powers which Congress intended to grant, and so held that the power given by § 210, Judicial Code, to the Commerce Court to issue an injunction pendente lite was to enable that court to have proper time for consideration, and the right of appeal to this Court was given as a safeguard against a possible abuse of the power to issue the order, and the order will not be reversed in the absence of such abuse. Where Congress creates a special tribunal for a special class of cases with an appeal to this Court, it is the duty of this Court to give effect to that purpose and uphold the lawful authority of the court so created and to also correct abuse of power when it appears.
In this case, held that there was no abuse of power in issuing the order for an injunction pendente lite, and the order is affirmed and the case remanded so that there may be opportunity to dispose of it in the forum selected by Congress for that purpose.
The facts, which involve the jurisdiction of the Commerce Court and its power to issue restraining orders and injunctions, are stated in the opinion.