In Gulf R. Co. v. Texas, 204 U.S. 403; 27 Sup. Ct., 360; 51 L.Ed., 540, a shipment moved under a bill of lading issued by the defendant from a point in South Dakota, consigned to Texarkana in the State of Texas. At the latter point it was recognized by the consignee to another point in Texas.Summary of this case from Beaufort Truck Growers Assn. v. S.A.L
Argued October 11, 1906. Decided February 25, 1907.
Where the facts are settled in the state court by special findings, those findings are conclusive upon this court. An interstate shipment — in this case of car-load lots — on reaching the point specified in the original contract of transportation ceases to be an interstate shipment, and its further transportation to another point within the same State, on the order of the consignee, is controlled by the law of the State and not by the Interstate Commerce Act. 97 Tex. 274[ 97 Tex. 274], affirmed.
Mr. Gardiner Lathrop, with whom Mr. Aldis B. Browne and Mr. J.W. Terry, were on the brief, for plaintiff in error:
Transportation of freight from a point in one State to a point in another is of itself interstate commerce without reference to any question of intended sale of freight. Such a shipment does not become intrastate commerce when it reaches the state line, but continues interstate commerce until delivery at the final place of destination in the State. Rhodes v. Iowa, 170 U.S. 412. The intention of the parties who control the shipment determines the place of final destination in the State. The mere fact that a sale is made of the freight while in transit to the place of final destination does not change its character from interstate to state commerce. Kelley v. Rhodes, 188 U.S. 1; United States v. Freight Assn., 166 U.S. 290; McCall v. California, 136 U.S. 108; Norfolk Western Ry. Co. v. Pennsylvania, 136 U.S. 114; Wabash Ry. v. Illinois, 118 U.S. 570, 573, 574; Hanley v. Kansas City Southern Ry. Co., 187 U.S. 617.
If railroad companies by manipulation or form may not make that a state or territory shipment which otherwise would be an interstate commerce transaction, for the same reason it necessarily follows that those who determine the destination of the freight cannot deprive it of its quality of interstate commerce by the form which they may elect to give to the transaction. Cutting v. Fla. Ry. Nav. Co., 46 F. 641; The Daniel Ball, 10 Wall. 557; Ex parte Koehler, 30 F. 867; Houston Direct Navigation Co. v. Insurance Co., 89 Tex. 1[ 89 Tex. 1]; State v. Southern Kansas Ry. Co., 49 S.W. 252; M., K. T. Ry. v. Fielder, 46 S.W. 633; G., C. S.F. Ry. Co. v. Ft. Grain Co., 72 S.W. 419.
The power to tax does not alone determine whether the transaction is one of interstate commerce. The decisions of the courts have been more liberal in sustaining authority of the State to tax than in cases where the attempted regulation of the State applies directly to interstate shipments such as in this case regulating the amount of the charge to be made by the carrier.
Mr. Robert Vance Davidson, Attorney General of the State of Texas, for defendant in error:
The Supreme Court of Texas did not err in its conclusion of law in finding that the shipment in controversy from Texarkana, Texas, to Goldthwaite, Texas, was not an interstate shipment, but originated and terminated in the State of Texas. Interstate Commerce Act, § 1; Interstate Com. Comm. v. Brimson, 154 U.S. 457; Railroad Co. v. Interstate Com. Comm., 162 U.S. 191; New York v. Knight, 192 U.S. 21; Brown v. Houston, 114 U.S. 622; Diamond Match Co. v. Ontonogon, 188 U.S. 82, 92; Coe v. Erroll, 116 U.S. 517; Railroad Co. v. Osborne, 10 U.S. App. 430; Bridge Co. v. Railway Co., 37 F. 613; Ft. W. D.C. Ry. Co. v. Whitehead, 6 Texas Civ. App. 595 [ 6 Tex. Civ. App. 595].
Transportation from a point in one State to a point in another State constitutes interstate commerce; but when the commodity transported has reached the termination of its journey and has been delivered to the consignee, it ceases to be a subject of interstate commerce and the subsequent shipment from the point at which it has been delivered to another point in the State, is an intrastate shipment. Coe v. Erroll, 116 U.S. 517; Ft. W. D.C. Ry. Co. v. Whitehead, 6 Texas C. C.A. 595; C., N.O. T.P.R.R. Co. v. Interstate Com. Comm., 162 U.S. 184; S.C., Civ. App., 56 F. 925; C. N.W. Railway Co. v. Osborne, 52 F. 912; Interstate Com. Comm. v. B.Z. C. Ry. Co., 77 F. 942; Interstate Com. Comm. v. Detroit, etc., Ry. Co., 167 F. 642; United States v. Interstate Com. Comm., 81 F. 783; G., C. S.F. Ry. Co. v. M.S.S. Co., 86 F. 407; M. I.R.R. Co. v. G. S.S.R.R. Co., 1 Interstate Com. Comm. Rep. 30.
When the corn arrived at Texarkana and was delivered to the consignee it became a part of the property situated within the State of Texas and subject to the laws of that State. 17 Am. Eng. Enc. of Law, 2d ed. 71; Robbins v. Shelby Co., 120 U.S. 497.
When commodities have been transported from a point without the limits of a State to a point within the State, to which, under the contract of shipment, they were to be transported, and the contract of shipment complied with, and ended, such commodities have ceased to be articles of interstate commerce, and are thereafter in all respects subject to the laws of the State in which they may be, and this although the shipper may have intended from the beginning that they were to be immediately taken to some place within the State other than that to which the carrier had contracted to convey them. The motives of an importer or shipper can not be looked to for the purpose of causing commodities to continue subjects of interstate commerce, which would have ceased to be such but for such motives.
The Texas Pacific Railway Co., the carrier which transported the corn from Texarkana to Fort Worth, and the plaintiff in error, which transported it from Fort Worth to Goldthwaite, were not shown by the evidence to have had any agreement with other carriers to transport said corn, by through bill of lading or in any other manner, and upon the receipt of said corn at Texarkana, Texas, by the Texas Pacific, it had the right to demand and receive its Texas state rate to Fort Worth, and the plaintiff in error its Texas state rate from Fort Worth to Goldthwaite, and neither of said railroads had the right to charge more or any other rate, or voluntarily convert a local shipment into an interstate shipment, especially when such interstate shipment from Hudson, South Dakota, to Texarkana, Texas, had terminated at Texarkana, and the corn had been there delivered; and it is immaterial what might have been the motives or intentions of any of the parties to the transaction in the shipment of the corn to Texarkana. Interstate Com. Comm. v. C., N.O. Ry. Co., 66 F. 925; C., N.O. Ry. Co. v. Interstate Com. Comm., 162 U.S. 192; So. Pacific Ry. Co. v. Interstate Com. Comm., 200 U.S. 553; Texas c. R.R. Co. v. Interstate Com. Comm., 43 F. 37; L. N.R.R. Co. v. West Coast Naval Stores Co., 198 U.S. 483; United States v. Knight Co., 156 U.S. 13; Railway Co. v. Osborne, 52 F. 912.
The single question in the case is whether, as between Texarkana and Goldthwaite, this was an interstate shipment. If so the regulations of the state railroad commission do not control, and the court erred in enforcing the penalty. If, however, it was a purely local shipment, the judgment below was right and should be sustained.
The facts are settled by the special findings, those findings being conclusive upon this court. Dower v. Richards, 151 U.S. 658; Egan v. Hart, 165 U.S. 188; Thayer v. Spratt, 189 U.S. 346; Adams v. Church, 193 U.S. 510; Clipper Mining Co. v. Eli Mining Land Co., 194 U.S. 220.
The corn was carried from Texarkana, Texas, to Goldthwaite, Texas, upon a bill of lading which upon its face showed only a local transportation. It is, however, contended by the railway company that this local transportation was a continuation of a shipment from Hudson, South Dakota, to Texarkana, Texas; that the place from which the corn started was Hudson, South Dakota, and the place at which the transportation ended was Goldthwaite, Texas; that such transportation was interstate commerce, and that its interstate character was not affected by the various changes of title or issues of bills of lading intermediate its departure from Hudson and its arrival at Goldthwaite.
It is undoubtedly true that the character of a shipment, whether local or interstate, is not changed by a transfer of title during the transportation. But whether it be one or the other may depend on the contract of shipment. The rights and obligations of carriers and shippers are reciprocal. The first contract of shipment in this case was from Hudson to Texarkana. During that transportation a contract was made at Kansas City for the sale of the corn, but that did not affect the character of the shipment from Hudson to Texarkana. It was an interstate shipment after the contract of sale as well as before. In other words, the transportation which was contracted for, and which was not changed by any act of the parties, was transportation of the corn from Hudson to Texarkana — that is, an interstate shipment. The control over goods in process of transportation, which may be repeatedly changed by sales, is one thing; the transportation is another thing, and follows the contract of shipment, until that is changed by the agreement of owner and carrier. Neither the Harroun nor the Hardin company changed or offered to change the contract of shipment, or the place of delivery. The Hardin company accepted the contract of shipment theretofore made and purchased the corn to be delivered at Texarkana — that is, on the completion of the existing contract. When the Hardin company accepted the corn at Texarkana the transportation contracted for ended. The carrier was under no obligations to carry it further. It transferred the corn, in obedience to the demands of the owner, to the Texas and Pacific Railway Company, to be delivered by it, under its contract with such owner. Whatever obligations may rest upon the carrier at the terminus of its transportation to deliver to some further carrier, in obedience to the instructions of the owner, it is acting not as carrier, but simply as a forwarder. No new arrangement having been made for transportation, the corn was delivered to the Hardin company at Texarkana. Whatever may have been the thought or purpose of the Hardin company in respect to the further disposition of the corn, was a matter immaterial so far as the completed transportation was concerned.
In this respect there is no difference between an interstate passenger and an interstate transportation. If Hardin, for instance, had purchased at Hudson a ticket for interstate carriage to Texarkana, intending all the while after he reached Texarkana to go on to Goldthwaite, he would not be entitled on his arrival at Texarkana to a new ticket from Texarkana to Goldthwaite at the proportionate fraction of the rate prescribed by the Interstate Commerce Commission for carriage from Hudson to Goldthwaite. The one contract of the railroad companies having been finished he must make a new contract for his carriage to Goldthwaite, and that would be subject to the law of the State within which that carriage was to be made.
The question may be looked at from another point of view. Supposing a carload of goods was shipped from Goldthwaite to Texarkana under a bill of lading calling for only that transportation, and supposing that the laws of Texas required, subject to penalty, that such goods should be carried in a particular kind of car, can there be any doubt that the carrier would be subject to the penalty, although it should appear that the shipper intended after the goods had reached Texarkana to forward them to some other place outside the State? To state the question in other words, if the only contract of shipment was for local transportation, would the state law in respect to the mode of transportation be set one side by a Federal law in respect to interstate transportation on the ground that the shipper intended after the one contract of shipment had been completed to forward the goods to some place outside the State? Coe v. Errol, 116 U.S. 517-527.
Again, it appeared that this corn remained five days in Texarkana. The Hardin company was under no obligation to ship it further. It could in any other way it saw fit have provided corn for delivery to Saylor Burnett, and unloaded and used that car of corn in Texarkana. It must be remembered that the corn was not paid for by the Hardin company until its receipt in Texarkana. It was paid for on receipt and delivery to the Hardin company. Then, and not till then, did the Hardin company have full title to and control of the corn, and that was after the first contract of transportation had been completed.
It must further be remembered that no bill of lading was issued from Texarkana to Goldthwaite until after the arrival of the corn at Texarkana, the completion of the first contract for transportation, the acceptance and payment by the Hardin company. In many cases it would work the grossest injustice to a carrier if it could not rely on the contract of shipment it has made, know whether it was bound to obey the state or Federal law, or, obeying the former, find itself mulcted in penalties for not obeying the law of the other jurisdiction, simply because the shipper intended a transportation beyond that specified in the contract. It must be remembered that there is no presumption that a transportation when commenced is to be continued beyond the state limits and the carrier ought to be able to depend upon the contract which it has made and must conform to the liability imposed by that contract.
We see no error in the proceedings and the judgment of the Supreme Court of Texas is