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U.S. Supreme Court

American Trucking Assns. v. Frisco Co., 358 U.S. 133 (1958)

American Trucking Assns. v. Frisco Transportation Co.

No. 15

Argued October 13, 1958

Decided December 15, 1958*

358 U.S. 133


Under what is now § 5(2)(b) of the Interstate Commerce Act, the Commission authorized appellee, the wholly owned subsidiary of a railroad, to purchase the operating rights of several independent motor carriers. Each of the Commission's reports authorizing such purchases stated that the approval was subject

"to such further limitations, restrictions, or modifications as the Commission may hereafter find necessary to impose in order to insure that the service shall be auxiliary or supplementary to the train service of the railroad. . . ."

Thereafter, without notice, hearing or other proceeding for the elimination of this reservation, the Commission issued to appellee certificates of public convenience and necessity which did not contain the reservation of power to impose restrictions. Still later, the Commission reopened the acquisition proceedings and found, after notice and hearing, that the omission of the reservation of such power from the certificates resulted from an inadvertent ministerial error of the Commission's staff, and it ordered that this error be corrected and that certain specified conditions consistent with the reservations be imposed. Appellee sued to have the order set aside.

Held: the Commission's order is sustained. Pp. 358 U. S. 134-146.

(1) On the record in this case, the Commission properly concluded that the omission from the certificates of the reservation of power to impose restrictions was not due to a conscious policy choice on the part of the Commission, but resulted from an inadvertent ministerial error on the part of the Commission's staff. Pp. 358 U. S. 140-144.

(2) Under § 17(3) of the Act, the Commission had power to modify the certificates so as to correct these inadvertent ministerial

Page 358 U. S. 134

errors, and such action is not prohibited by § 212, which makes the issuance of a certificate the final step in the administrative process. Pp. 358 U. S. 144-146.

153 F.Supp. 572 reversed.

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