St. Louis Southwestern Ry. Co. v. ICC
264 U.S. 64 (1924)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

St. Louis Southwestern Ry. Co. v. ICC, 264 U.S. 64 (1924)

St. Louis Southwestern Railway Company v.

Interstate Commerce Commission

No. 398

Argued January 23, 24, 1924

Decided February 18, 1924

264 U.S. 64

Syllabus

1. Congress may make one fact prima facie evidence of another if the inference is not so unreasonable as to be a purely arbitrary mandate. P. 264 U. S. 77.

2. Under § 19a of the Act to Regulate Commerce, as amended, directing the Commission to investigate, ascertain, and report the value of the properties of common carriers and to hear the protests of any carrier against a valuation tentatively made, declaring a final valuation prima facie evidence of the value of the carrier's property in all proceedings under the act and in various judicial proceedings, and providing that, unless otherwise ordered by the Commission, its records and data shall be open to the inspection and examination of the public,

Held:

(a) That an order of the Commission denying inspection of records by others than its employees unless and until offered in evidence at hearings upon protests or before a court was valid against an interested carrier insofar as the claim to examine them might be based upon the naked ground of their being public documents. P. 264 U. S. 78.

(b) Subject to the right of the Commission to prevent undue interference with the work in its offices and undue protraction of hearings, manifest justice requires that the carrier be enabled to examine and meet the data upon which preliminary valuation of its property is founded, and, to this end, be given such information in advance of the hearing as will enable it to point out errors. Id.

(c) This claim of the carrier should not be denied upon the ground of public policy, nor upon the ground that the evidence was given the Commission in confidence. Id.

(d) The carrier is not entitled to subpoenas from the Commission not presently needed. P. 264 U. S. 79.

290 F. 24 affirmed.

Page 264 U. S. 65

Error to a judgment of the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia affirming a judgment of the Supreme Court of the District which dismissed a petition for a mandamus against the Interstate Commerce Commission and some of its officials.

Page 264 U. S. 74

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