Louisville & Nashville R. Co. v. United States, 238 U.S. 1 (1915)

Author: U.S. Supreme Court

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Louisville & Nashville R. Co. v. United States, 238 U.S. 1 (1915)

Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company v. United States

No. 673

Argued March 1, 1915
Decided June 1, 1915
238 U.S. 1



The general rule is that the appellate court will not interfere with the decision of the Chancellor refusing an interlocutory injunction unless abuse of discretion clearly appears; where, however, the order sought to be enjoined operates to reduce revenue, the Chancellor’s discretion should be influenced by the fact that the decree, though interlocutory, may be the equivalent of a final decree.

The fact that irreparable injury might result from orders of the Interstate Commerce Commission, unless interlocutory injunctions might be granted restraining their enforcement, undoubtedly influenced Congress to enact the provision in the Act of October 22, 1913, for a direct appeal to this Court from an order granting or denying, after notice and hearing, an interlocutory injunction.

Where appellants are able to concede that there was evidence which, although conflicting, tended to support the findings of the Commission, the practice of omitting the testimony and simply insisting in this Court that the findings are insufficient to support the orders is commendable, not only as a saving of expense of printing the record, but also of eliminating such testimony, as is necessarily immaterial in an appellate court which cannot reverse findings if supported by any substantial evidence, even though the evidence be conflicting.

The new Equity Rules (75, 76, 77) call for a winnowing out of the useless; the presentation of only relevant evidence and exhibits; the elimination of reduplications of oral and written evidence and condensation into narrative form of what is material to the issue before the court.

Where an existing freight rate is attacked, the burden is on complainant to show that it is unreasonable in fact; this rule especially applies when the rate has been in force for a long period, during which the traffic has greatly increased in volume.

Market price of property and work is affected by so many and varying factors that it is impossible to lay down fixed rules for ascertaining actual value; a common measure, however, is by comparison with amounts charged for the same article by different persons. This applies to some extent to freight charges by carriers.

Mere distance is not necessarily a determining factor in fixing freight rates; competition by water and rail and in the markets largely enter into such determination.

While mere comparison of rates does not necessarily tend to establish reasonableness of either, the finding of one of many rates to be higher than all the others may give rise to the presumption that the single rate is high, and if some of the lower rates had been prescribed by the Interstate Commerce Commission, there is a prima facie standard for testing the reasonableness of the rate under investigation.

The Interstate Commerce Commission having in this case, after consideration of much and varied evidence as to the rates charged on coal to Nashville, fixed the amount of the rate in light of the findings made on such testimony, and as the rate fixed is not claimed to be confiscatory, this Court holds that the findings support the order fixing the rate.

An order in this case requiring a carrier to extend to connecting carriers, as to competitive business, the same switching facilities that it extends to some of the other connecting carriers, in regard to the same class of business, is not violative of the due process provision of the Fifth Amendment, nor does it violate the provision in § 15 of the Commerce Act that a carrier shall not be required to give the use of its tracks or terminals to another carrier engaged in like business. Pennsylvania v. United States, 236 U.S. 351.

216 F. 672 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the validity of orders of the Interstate Commerce Commission establishing rates on coal and also requiring the carrier to furnish certain switching facilities to connecting carriers, are stated in the opinion.


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Chicago: U.S. Supreme Court, "Syllabus," Louisville & Nashville R. Co. v. United States, 238 U.S. 1 (1915) in 238 U.S. 1 238 U.S. 2–238 U.S. 9. Original Sources, accessed January 30, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=94UIFQHT4DZFD1A.

MLA: U.S. Supreme Court. "Syllabus." Louisville & Nashville R. Co. v. United States, 238 U.S. 1 (1915), in 238 U.S. 1, pp. 238 U.S. 2–238 U.S. 9. Original Sources. 30 Jan. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=94UIFQHT4DZFD1A.

Harvard: U.S. Supreme Court, 'Syllabus' in Louisville & Nashville R. Co. v. United States, 238 U.S. 1 (1915). cited in 1915, 238 U.S. 1, pp.238 U.S. 2–238 U.S. 9. Original Sources, retrieved 30 January 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=94UIFQHT4DZFD1A.