Union Pacific R. Co. v. United States
313 U.S. 450 (1941)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Union Pacific R. Co. v. United States, 313 U.S. 450 (1941)

Union Pacific Railroad Co. v. United States

No. 594

Argued April 9, 10, 1941

Decided June 2, 1941

313 U.S. 450

Syllabus

1. The Interstate Commerce Acts condemn favoritism among shippers, however brought about. P. 313 U. S. 462.

2. Under § 1 of the Elkins Act, which forbids "any person, persons or corporation" to give or receive any concession "in respect to transportation" in interstate commerce, and which provides that any person, "whether carrier or shipper," who gives or receives such a concession is guilty of a misdemeanor, payment of a bonus to a prospective shipper to induce him to locate on a carrier's line is unlawful, though made by a person who is neither a carrier nor a shipper, if it be a payment "in respect to transportation." P. 313 U. S. 462.

The words "whether carrier or shipper" were added to § 1 of the Elkins Act by the Hepburn Act to make clear that the phrase "any person, persons, or corporation" includes shippers as well as carriers; they did not restrict the ordinary meaning of the words "any person."

3. Action by any person to bring about discrimination in respect to interstate transportation by a carrier subject to the Interstate Commerce Acts is unlawful under the Elkins Act. P. 313 U. S. 463.

4. A city, under the dominating influence and with the financial assistance of an interstate carrier seeking competitive advantages, established a new terminal market for foodstuffs, on land owned by the city on the carrier's line. In order to secure tenants for this market, carrier and city sought to obtain, and obtained, agreements with dealers (interstate shippers) who marketed such produce in a nearby municipality to move to the new market, under the stimulus of concessions offered to them by the city alone, in the way of rental reductions and cash payments, which were characterized as compensation for their losses in moving, but which in some cases were excessive. The United States, at the request of the Interstate Commerce Commission, filed a bill to enjoin.

Held:

(1) That the concessions were "in respect to transportation," and contrary to § 1 of the Elkins Act. P. 313 U. S. 464.

Page 313 U. S. 451

(2) While it is the result, and not the purpose, which determines the illegal character of advantage granted shippers, when there is a purpose or plan for securing traffic, developed cooperatively by a carrier and others, the purpose makes clear that the concessions offered are in respect to transportation. P. 313 U. S. 467.

(3) The injunction should require that rates to dealers for space in the new market shall be the fair rental value of the facilities leased. P. 313 U. S. 471.

5. Criteria of "fair rental value." P. 313 U. S. 473.

32 F.Supp. 917 affirmed with modification.

Appeal from a decree of the District Court enjoining violation of prohibitions of the Interstate Commerce Acts in respect of discriminatory concessions to shippers.

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