Alexander Sprunt & Son, Inc. v. United States
281 U.S. 249 (1930)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Alexander Sprunt & Son, Inc. v. United States, 281 U.S. 249 (1930)

Alexander Sprunt & Son, Inc. v. United States

No.19

Argued October 31, November 1, 1929

Decided April 14, 1930

281 U.S. 249

APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS

Syllabus

1. Where an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission finding a rate differential unduly prejudicial and preferential as to certain shippers and prescribing a readjustment, has been acquiesced in by the carriers affected, a shipper who is thereby deprived of an economic advantage over competitors incident to the exercise of the supposed right of the carriers to maintain the old differential, but none of whose own rights is violated by its elimination, has no standing to maintain an independent suit to set the order aside upon the ground that there was no basis for the finding. P. 281 U. S. 254.

2. An order of that character was attacked under the Act of June 18, 1910, as amended by the Urgent Deficiencies Act of October 22, 1913, in a suit brought by some of the carriers, and in another brought by shippers who enjoyed the alleged preference, the suits being consolidated and heard as one case. Upon dismissal of the bills, the plaintiff carriers took no appeal, and joined the other

Page 281 U. S. 150

carriers in complying with the order by filing the new rates prescribed.

Held:

(1) That the shippers could not maintain.an appeal to this Court upon the issue of undue preference, first, because they lacked an independent standing and, second, because, through the carriers' acquiescence, that issue had become moot. Pp. 281 U. S. 254, 281 U. S. 257.

(2) That the suit could not be maintained upon the ground that the order, in alleged excess of the authority conferred by § 15 of the Interstate Commerce Act, had increased certain rates without a prior finding and hearing as to the reasonableness of the rate levels, since the order left open any question of reasonableness, and shippers aggrieved in that regard had their remedy before the Commission under §§ 13 and 15. P. 281 U. S. 258.

3. The Commission's order in this case leaves the appellant shippers free to demand allowances for transportation service performed by them under contract with the carriers and which properly should be performed by the carriers. P. 281 U. S. 259.

4. A decree dismissing on the merits a consolidated suit which became moot after the decree was entered should, as far as concerns the plaintiffs in one bill, who appealed, be reversed with directions to dismiss their bill without costs, but should stand as to the plaintiffs in the other bill, who took no appeal. P. 281 U. S. 260.

23 F.2d 874 reversed.

Appeal from a decree of the district court, of three judges, dismissing the bills in two consolidated suits to set aside an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission. The appellant shippers were the plaintiffs in one of the suits. Plaintiffs in the other, who were carriers, took no appeal.

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