Swift & Co. v. Hocking Valley Ry. Co.
243 U.S. 281 (1917)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Swift & Co. v. Hocking Valley Ry. Co., 243 U.S. 281 (1917)

Swift & Company v. Hocking Valley Railway Company

No. 376

Argued December 5, 1916

Decided March 6, 1917

243 U.S. 281

Syllabus

A railroad company, under a written agreement reserving a small annual rental and terminable on 30 days' notice, allowed a packing company the use, for warehouse purposes, of land belonging to the railroad and adjacent to one of its sidings, including a switch connected

Page 243 U. S. 282

with its main line. The agreement provided that the licensee should not interfere with the tracks of the railroad company, and that the switch track should be at all times under the railroad company's control; also, it reserved to the latter a right to enter at all times "for the purpose of repairing or maintaining the track thereon, or switching or removing cars thereover." The switch track was used by cars moving goods of the licensee in interstate commerce between the warehouse and the main line. Held that, under this arrangement, the switch track was not to be regarded as a private track, but as a track of the railroad company.

The Court cannot be controlled by an agreement of counsel on a subsidiary question of law.

The Court cannot decide fictitious cases.

A stipulation of counsel, made only for the purpose of reviewing a judgment rendered on demurrer to the petition, and declaring a proposition which, tested by the petition, is erroneous in fact and in law, will be treated by this Court as a nullity.

The fact that effect was given to such a stipulation by the state courts below does not conclude this Court.

Where the shipper lets his private cars to the carrier in consideration of mileage charged on both outgoing and return journeys, allowing the carrier to freight them on the return if the shipper does not, and the freight charged upon all goods hauled is the same as for goods hauled in cars owned by the carrier, the cars of the shipper are in the service of the carrier while standing loaded with goods consigned to the shipper on a switch track of the carrier at the shipper's warehouse.

In such case, the "transportation," within the meaning of the Act to Regulate Commerce, has not ended, and demurrage for detention of the cars by their owner may reasonably be exacted by the carrier in accordance with its rules and rates duly published and filed.

93 Ohio St. 143 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 243 U. S. 283

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