Alton R. Co. v. United States
315 U.S. 15 (1942)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Alton R. Co. v. United States, 315 U.S. 15 (1942)

Alton Railroad Co. v. United States

No. 110

Argued December 19, 22, 1941

Decided January 12, 1942*

315 U.S. 15

Syllabus

1. Section 205(h) of the Motor Carrier Act of 1935 incorporates by reference the "party in interest" provision of § 1(20) of the Interstate Commerce Act. P. 315 U. S. 19.

2. A railroad company which is in competition with an individual engaged in the transportation of motor vehicles by the drive-away or caravaning method, is a "party in interest" entitled, under § 205(h), to sue to set aside an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission granting to such individual a certificate of public convenience and necessity. P. 315 U. S. 19.

3. Operations authorized under the "grandfather clause" of § 206(a) of the Motor carrier Act of 1935, in the territory to be served, need not be restricted to specified routes or between fixed termini. P. 315 U. S. 20.

4. In the case of a transporter of motor vehicles by the drive-away or caravaning method, the Interstate Commerce Commission, under the "grandfather clause," may, considering the characteristics of the particular transportation service, authorize operation to all points within a State, although but a few points had previously been served. Such authorization in this case was not inappropriate, and must be sustained. P. 315 U. S. 22.

5. There was evidence in this case that a transporter of motor vehicles by the drive-away or caravaning method was in bona fide operation in certain States on and since June 1, 1935, and the Commission's determination that he was, and that he was entitled in those States to rights under the "grandfather clause," may not be set aside. P. 315 U. S. 23.

6. That a carrier's status under the law of a State is that of a contract carrier does not necessarily bar his obtaining common carrier rights there under the "grandfather clause." P. 315 U. S. 23.

Page 315 U. S. 16

7. Whether a carrier's operation in a particular State was bona fide within the meaning of the "grandfather clause" is a question of fact for the Commission to determine. P. 315 U. S. 24.

8. Violation of state law by a carrier, though relevant to establishing an absence of "bona fide operation," does not necessarily bar rights under the "grandfather clause." P. 315 U. S. 24.

9. There is evidence in this case to sustain the Commission's finding that the carrier's operation in a particular State was bona fide, notwithstanding violation of the state law, and the finding is sustained. P. 315 U. S. 24.

10. Where the carrier's last shipment to a particular State was on May 12, 1935, and more than a year elapsed between June 1, 1935, and the time of the hearing on the application, held that a grant of "grandfather" rights under § 206(a) -- which requires that the carrier shall have been in bona fide operation on June 1, 1935, and "since that time" -- was properly set aside. P. 315 U. S. 24.

36 F.Supp. 898 affirmed.

Appeal and cross-appeal from a decree of a District Court of three judges in a suit brought to set aside an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission, 8 M.C.C. 469.

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