Terminal Railroad Assn. v. United States - 266 U.S. 17 (1924)
U.S. Supreme Court
Terminal Railroad Assn. v. United States, 266 U.S. 17 (1924)
Terminal Railroad Association v. United States
Argued March 3, 4, 1924
Decided October 13, 1924
266 U.S. 17
1. Certain railway companies, defendants in a suit successfully prosecuted by the United States under the Sherman Law, instituted contempt proceedings against their codefendants, not to vindicate the authority of the court, but to enforce rights which the petitioners claimed under the original decree and alleged that the respondents were violating. The United States did not join in the complaint or participate in the hearing in the district court, but aligned itself with the petitioners on appeal. Held, that the contempt
proceedings were civil and remedial, and not criminal. P. 266 U. S. 27.
2. The authority of a Justice of this Court to allow appeals and grant supersedeas does not depend upon and is not limited by Rule 36, or any other rule of the Court. It includes appeals under the Expedition Act of February 11, 1903, c. 544, 32 Stat. 823, Rev.Stats., §§ 999, 1012. P. 266 U. S. 28.
3. Upon an appeal by parties adjudged in contempt of a decree, where the question is whether the decree was broad enough to forbid the conduct complained of, appellees cannot be heard to claim that the decree should have been enlarged unless they took a cross-appeal. Id.
4. In contempt proceedings for its enforcement, a decree will not be expanded by implication or intendment beyond the meaning of its terms when read in the light of the issues and the purpose for which the suit was brought, and the facts found must constitute a plain violation of the decree so read. P. 266 U. S. 29.
5. The making of railroad rates is a legislative, and not a judicial, function, and, as a general rule, the question of the reasonableness of rates of interstate carriers or of their divisions of joint rates will not be considered by the courts before application has been made to the Interstate Commerce Commission. P. 266 U. S. 30.
6. The original decree in this case (a suit by the United States against the Terminal Association, its subsidiaries, and the proprietary railroads owning its stock, to prevent monopoly and restraint of trade in violation of the Sherman Act, United States v. St. Louis Terminal, 236 U. S. 194) does not regulate rates, or prescribe divisions of joint rates or fix liability for transfer charges, and expressly provides that these matters may be dealt with by the Interstate Commerce Commission. P. 266 U. S. 31.
7. Therefore, contempt proceedings will not lie to determine whether the "west side" proprietary railroads have paid more than their fair share of charges for services of the Terminal Association or to require the "east side" proprietary railroads to make payments on that account to the "west side" railroads, and refusal to pay such charges is not contempt of court. Id.
8. Assuming that the issuing by the Terminal Association of bills of lading and passes from points on its lines to distant points beyond them is not included in the business allowed under the original decree, proprietary railroads not shown to have been injured by it are not entitled to relief against it in contempt proceedings. P. 266 U. S. 32.
Appeal from an order of the district court adjudging appellants guilty of contempt, committed by disobeying a decree.