United States v. Brooklyn Eastern Dist. Terminal - 249 U.S. 296 (1919)
U.S. Supreme Court
United States v. Brooklyn Eastern Dist. Terminal, 249 U.S. 296 (1919)
United States v. Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal
Argued January 20, 1919
Decided March 24, 1919
249 U.S. 296
Whether a carrier is a common carrier within the meaning of the Hours of Service Act does not depend upon whether its charter declares it to be such, nor upon whether the incorporation so considers it, but upon what it does. P. 249 U. S. 304.
The fact that a carrier acts only as agent for other carriers may affect its contractual obligations to shippers, but cannot change its obligations, under the Hours of Service Act concerning the physical operation of its railroad and the safety of its employees and the public which the act aims to secure. P. 249 U. S. 306.
The act must be liberally construed. P. 249 U. S. 307.
A navigation company, owner of a terminal consisting of docks, float bridges, warehouses, etc., with delivery and other tracks which crossed a public street and varied individually from a few yards to a mile in length and aggregated 8 miles was engaged, under separate contracts with interstate railroads, in the reception and delivery there of freight in carload lots and less (the terminal being named as a reception and delivery station in the tariffs filed by the railroads with the Interstate Commerce Commission) and in transporting the freight on floats between the terminal and the railroad termini in cars furnished by the railroads which it hauled between its floats and its reception and delivery tracks, etc., by means of its engines and crews. As agent of the respective railroads, it accepted all freight offered for their lines, issued bills of lading to destination for outgoing freight and receipts for freight delivered to consignees, collected the railroads' tariff charges where they did not extend credit, adding nothing on its own account, and accounted to them in full. Its compensation, paid by the respective railroads, was determined by weight and origin or destination of goods handled. It owned no cars and moved none save those mentioned, paid nothing for their use, and did not hold itself out as a common carrier or file tariffs with the Interstate Commerce
Commission. Held a common carrier within the meaning of the Hours of Service Act, c. 2939, 34 Stat. 1415. P. 249 U. S. 304.
Crews engaged in moving at one time a locomotive and seven or eight cars between the dock and the warehouses and team tracks of a terminal company held engaged in the movement of a "train," within the meaning of the Hours of Service Act, § 1. P. 249 U. S. 307.
239 F. 287 reversed.
The case is stated in the opinion.