Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Speight,
254 U.S. 17 (1920)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Speight, 254 U.S. 17 (1920)

Western Union Telegraph Company v. Speight

No. 241

Argued October 12, 1920

Decided October 25, 1920

254 U.S. 17


The transmission of a telegram between two states is interstate commerce as a matter of fact, and the fact must be tested by the actual transaction. P. 254 U. S. 18.

In transmitting a message from one point to another in the same state, a telegraph company, following its habitual practice and employing its established system of wires, relays, etc., sent it into another state and back to the point of destination, this being in the circumstances quicker, and more convenient and economical for the company, than to send over wires wholly within the first state. In an action to recover for mental anguish caused by a mistake in the message, wherein the right of recovery hung on the alleged intrastate character of the message, held: (1) that the message was interstate, irrespective of the motive of the defendant company in routing it outside the first state or of the necessity for so doing, and (2), if a motive to evade the jurisdiction of that state were material, it was error to lay the burden on the defendant company of disproving it.

178 N.Car. 146 reversed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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