United States v. Butler County R. Co.
234 U.S. 29 (1914)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Butler County R. Co., 234 U.S. 29 (1914)

United States v. Butler County Railroad Company

No. 837

Argued April 13, 1914

Decided May 25, 1914

234 U.S. 29



The Tap Line Case, ante, p. 234 U. S. 1, followed to the effect that:

The fact that the same ownership controls the freight offered and the stock of a railroad company which is a common carrier does not justify a different rate imposed upon the same kind of traffic.

Under the Commodities Clause, it is not unlawful for a common carrier to carry lumber owned by it, and until the law otherwise provides, it may treat freight owned by it in the same manner as like freight independently owned.

Page 234 U. S. 30

If the division of rates between a trunk line and a common carrier controlled by the same interest as controls the bulk of the freight moved by the carrier, is a mere cover for rebates and discriminations, the Interstate Commerce Commission has power to prevent such practices.

209 F. 260 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the status of a lumber tap line and the powers of the Interstate Commerce Commission in regard to establishment of joint rates thereover, are stated in the opinion.

Page 234 U. S. 31

MR. JUSTICE DAY delivered the opinion of the Court.

The appellee, the Butler County Railroad Company, filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission its petition asking for the reestablishment of through routes and joint rates with certain trunk lines, which was consolidated with and decided upon the same record as the complaints before the Commission in the Tap Line Case involved in

Page 234 U. S. 32

the previous cases Nos. 829 to 836, just decided, ante, p. 234 U. S. 1. The general statement of the Commission in its report and supplemental report, filed April 23 and May 14, 1912 (23 I.C.C. 277, 549), referred to in those cases, preceded the following findings of fact:

The Butler County Railroad Company, the Brooklyn Cooperage Company, which owns the railroad company, and the Great Western Land Company, owning most of the timber reached by the railroad, are all subsidiaries of the American Sugar Refining Company.

The tap line, which was acquired from the cooperage company, consists of a section of track at Linstead, near Poplar Bluff, Missouri, extending into the plant of the cooperage company, and connecting it with the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway and the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad, which are within three-quarters of a mile of the plant, and the principal track extending about 7 miles from Lowell Junction, a station on the Iron Mountain, 7 1/2 miles from Poplar Bluff, to Baileys, with a branch about 3 miles from Rossville, an intermediate point, and with trackage rights over unincorporated spurs from Baileys belonging to the cooperage company, and over the Iron Mountain from Lowell Junction to Poplar Bluff, paying for the latter 65

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