Banton v. Belt Line Ry. Corp.
268 U.S. 413 (1925)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Banton v. Belt Line Ry. Corp., 268 U.S. 413 (1925)

Banton v. Belt Line Railway Corporation

No. 465

Argued March 11, 12, 1925

Decided May 25, 1925

268 U.S. 413

APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

Syllabus

1. Where an order of the New York Public Service Commission establishing joint street railway routes with a maximum joint fare, long in force, became confiscatory as to one of the companies concerned, and remained obligatory under the state law notwithstanding an application for relief pending before the commission on rehearing, held that the company was not bound to await final action by the Commission and to serve in the meantime without just compensation before suing in the federal court for an injunction. P. 268 U. S. 415.

2. The right of a street railway company to enjoin enforcement of such an order, made by a state Commission having power to establish equal and nonconfiscatory rates, is not affected by the facts that another company, whose railway may benefit from the injunction through diversions of traffic from competitors, owns all the stock of the plaintiff and does not itself seek to have the order enjoined. P. 268 U. S. 417.

3. Mere acceptance and putting into effect by a street railway company of an order of the New York Public Service Commission fixing a rate obligatory by the state law and which presumably was valid at the time was not an agreement by that company to abide by the rate should it subsequently become confiscatory, nor is such consent to be imputed to a successor corporation because it was incorporated and acquired the first company's property while the order was in effect, where the acquisition was through foreclosure of a mortgage antedating the order, and under which the franchises of the first company passed unimpaired to the second, and where there is nothing in its certificate of incorporation or in the laws under which it was incorporated imposing on the second company an obligation to continue to serve for the fare fixed by the order. P. 268 U. S. 417.

4. The power of a state to require street railways to provide reasonably adequate facilities and services even though compliance may be attended by some pecuniary disadvantage cannot justify an order enabling passengers, by transferring from one line to

Page 268 U. S. 414

another, to ride on both for a fare so low as to deprive a company of any return on the value of the property used by it to perform the service; the state may not, under guise of regulation, compel the use and operation of a company's property for the public convenience without just compensation. P. 268 U. S. 419.

5. The evidence in this case justifies the conclusion that resumption by the plaintiff street railway company of transfer business under an order establishing joint routes and a joint 5

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