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U.S. Supreme Court

Berwind-White Coal Mining Co. v. Chicago & Erie R. Co., 235 U.S. 371 (1914)

Berwind-White Coal Mining Company v.

Chicago & Erie Railroad Company

No. 92

Argued December 3, 1914

Decided December 14, 1914

235 U.S. 371




Filing with the Interstate Commerce Commission the book of rules as to demurrage of the Car Service Association, of which the railroad is a member, with a statement as to what its rates will be, held, in this case, to be a compliance with the provisions of the Act to Regulate Commerce requiring filing of tariff sheets, no objection having been taken as to form, and it appearing that the documents were adequate to give notice and that there was proof of posting.

Although cars billed for reconsignment may not have actually reached the point named as destination, demurrage may attach for the time held after reaching the point convenient to the belt line for transfer where, under usual practice for many years, cars so billed were held for reconsignment.

171 Ill.App. 302 affirmed.

The facts, which involve questions of filing tariff sheets under the Act to Regulate Commerce and the right of the railroad company to collect demurrage, are stated in the opinion.

Page 235 U. S. 374

Memorandum opinion by direction of the Court, by MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WHITE:

The judgment which is under review awarded demurrage

Page 235 U. S. 375

on carloads of coal shipped by the plaintiff in error from West Virginia to Chicago, there to be reconsigned. (171 Ill.App. 302.) There are only two alleged federal contentions:

1. That allowing the demurrage conflicted with the Act to Regulate Commerce because no tariff on the subject was filed or published. The fact is that the railroad had complied with the law as to filing tariff sheets, and had also, long before the time in question, filed a book of rules of the Chicago Car Service Association, of which it was a member, relating to liability for demurrage, and, a few days after, had written the Commission a letter stating that the demurrage charge would be one dollar per day. The argument is that such documents were not sufficiently formal to comply with the law, and hence afforded no ground for allowing demurrage. But the contention is without merit. The documents were received and placed on file by the Commission without any objection whatever as to their form, and it is certain that, as a matter of fact, they were adequate to give notice. Equally without merit is the insistence that there was no proof that the documents were posted for public inspection. Texas & Pac. Ry. v. Cisco Oil Mill, 204 U. S. 449; Kansas City So. Ry. v. Albers Comm. Co., 223 U. S. 573, 223 U. S. 594; United States v. Miller, 223 U. S. 599.

2. Conceding that a tariff concerning demurrage was filed, it is insisted it only authorized demurrage at destination, and the cars never reached their destination, but were held at a place outside of Chicago. The facts are these: the storage tracks of the railroad for cars billed to Chicago for reconsignment were at Hammond, Indiana, a considerable distance from the terminals of the company nearer the center of the city, but were convenient to the belt line by which cars could be transferred to any desired new destination, and the holding on such tracks of cars consigned as were those in question was in accordance with

Page 235 U. S. 376

a practice which had existed for more than twenty years. Under these circumstances, the contention is so wholly wanting in foundation as in fact to be frivolous.


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