Andrew G. Nelson, Inc. v. United States

PETITIONER: Andrew G. Nelson, Inc.
RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)

CITATION: 355 US 554 (1958)
ARGUED: Dec 11, 1957
DECIDED: Mar 03, 1958

Facts of the case


Media for Andrew G. Nelson, Inc. v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 11, 1957 in Andrew G. Nelson, Inc. v. United States

Earl Warren:

Number 16, Andrew G. Nelson, Appellant, versus United States of America.

Mr. Blanchard.

Paul E. Blanchard:

May it please, Your Honors.

These cases here on appeal from a decision of a three-judge court sitting in the Eastern Division of the Northern District of the State of Illinois, in which two of the participating judges refused to annul and set aside an order entered by the Interstate Commerce Commission in a preceding entitled Andrew G. Nelson, investigation of operations.

The order commanded the carrier to cease and desist from transporting by motor carriage certain commodities which I shall describe.

Our notice of appeal and your -- and the jurisdictional statement was seasonably filed and this Court noted probable jurisdiction, November 13, 1956.

The order opening the proceedings before the Commission and issued before you a hearing was even set, recited that it contained a positive statement that the carrier and I quote, “Has been and now is transporting commodities outside the scope his permit.”

The order then proceeded to name 20 specific commodities.There is no question here but that we hold the commodities that are described in that order.

And in view of the fact that a -- relevant term here is the term “stock in trade of drug stores”.

We should point out here, there is no question here but that every article named in that order was regularly found up on the shelves or the counters of the average drugstores throughout the areas served by this carrier.

This sin which we are said to have been -- to have committed is not hauling the commodities but in not delivering -- having delivered them to drugstores.

It is the contention of the Commission that our authority which we think we shall establish is to haul commodities indicated by the term “stock in drugstores” must be read as though they were appendant to that authority, the clause but only when moving on moot with sale in a drugstore as the intended ultimate objective.

Thus, our authority to haul the drugs is conceded --

William O. Douglas:


Paul E. Blanchard:

-- if they be moved and delivered to drugstores.

The basic question here is the authority of the Interstate Commerce Commission to read and do a -- an authority to operate by implication only.

A clear restriction of the authority can -- extended by an operation and when no restriction of any kind appears on the face of the authority.

The basic facts are not complicated.

On January 2nd of 1936, Andrew Nelson, an individual filed an application for a grandfather permit, seeking authority to continue in the business of contract carriage in which he had engaged with a prior 16 years.

He described that business in his permit as the contract carriage of store fixtures, miscellaneous commodities and household goods.

Nowhere in the application itself was there any reference made to drugstores.

During the following 11 months, after the case was given a docket number and assigned to Supervisor (Inaudible) of the Commission of Chicago Office.

The -- the Commission made an intensive examination of the past operations of this carrier during and prior to the grandfather period.

During this several inspection trips that were made to his office, they were supplied and were continually before them were more than 30,000 serially numbered delivery tickets.Each ticket evidencing a specific transportation service performed on a specific date for a specific person.

Those 30,000 tickets covered every movement of freight which this carrier had made since he started in business 16 years before.

It is difficult to concede how the Commission could have had more detailed information of what the scope of the grandfather operations of this carrier were.

After considering all the evidence before it, the Commission made its finding of fact which was contained and the basis for a compliance order authorizing the carrier to continue operations upon compliance where the insurance and the rate schedule provisions of the Act.

The word is often used as compliance order but the only part of that order that has any bearing here is the finding of fact in establishing what the scope of the grandfather business was.

Thereafter, from it issued, which we shall see as a matter of law, was to -- must reflect the authority inherent in the grandfather operation.

We believe the action of the Commission and the evidence to which we will refer will be more comprehensible.