Phillips Co. v. Grand Trunk Western Ry. Co.,
236 U.S. 662 (1915)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Phillips Co. v. Grand Trunk Western Ry. Co., 236 U.S. 662 (1915)

A. J. Phillips Company v. Grand

Trunk Western Railway Company

No. 124

Argued January 15, 1915

Decided March 15, 1915

236 U.S. 662


A finding by the Interstate Commerce Commission in a general investigation that an advance in a rate on specified commodity between specified points is unreasonable inures to the benefit of every shipper who has paid the unjust rate, provided however, that he asserts his claim against the carrier within the time fixed by law.

A shipper who paid charges prior to the passage of the Hepburn Act and did not commence proceedings until more than one year after the passage of that act cannot recover on the strength of a finding of the Interstate Commerce Commission made in a general proceeding to which he was not a party that the rate paid was unreasonable.

The Conformity Act (Rev.Stat. 914) does not apply to a state rule of practice prohibiting taking advantage of the statute of limitations by general demurrer tc a cause arising under a federal statute expressly limiting the time within which the right created by the statute can be asserted -- in which case the lapse of time not only bars the remedy, but destroys the liability.

The prohibitions of the Interstate Commerce Act against unjust discriminations relate not only to inequality of facilities, but also to giving preferences by means of consent judgments or waivers of defenses open to the carrier.

Quaere whether connecting carriers participating in a haul, the advanced

Page 236 U. S. 663

rate for which was held by the Commission to be excessive but who were not responsible for advancing the rate, could be held jointly and severally responsible for reparation before they had been heard by the Commission.

The facts, which involve the right of a shipper to recover from the carrier freight charges held to have been unreasonable by the Interstate Commerce Commission and the provisions in the Hepburn Act limiting the time within which claims of that nature can be asserted, are stated in the opinion.

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