Dixie Carriers, Inc. v. United States

PETITIONER: Dixie Carriers, Inc.
RESPONDENT: United States

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1955-1956)

ARGUED: Mar 27, 1956
DECIDED: Apr 23, 1956

Facts of the case


Media for Dixie Carriers, Inc. v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 27, 1956 (Part 2) in Dixie Carriers, Inc. v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 27, 1956 (Part 1) in Dixie Carriers, Inc. v. United States

Earl Warren:

Number 233, Dixie Carriers, Incorporated, Coyle Lines, Incorporated, et al. versus United States of America, Interstate Commerce Commission, et al.

Mr. Belnap.

Nuel D. Belnap:

Mr. Chief Justice, may the Court please.

This is an appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, three judges sitting which dismissed an action brought by the appellants to set aside an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

That order in turn was entered in a proceeding brought by way of a formal complaint by the appellants against four railroads, which are among the appellees here.

If the Court will permit, I would like to follow this plan of argument.

I will first describe the rate structure which led to the filing of the complaint then deal with the issues of the complaint, the disposition made by the Commission of those issues and finally with the errors of law on which we rely for reversal of the District Court.

The appellants collectively are common carriers by water, operate a barge service from Galveston, Texas.

I have a diagram on (Inaudible) Gulf from Galveston, Texas by the Intracoastal Canal to New Orleans and thus to East St. Louis.

At East St. Louis, they connect with alliance of the four railroads which were the defendants in the proceeding before the Commission and those railroads, New York Central and others, operate rail routes from East St. Louis, Illinois to Danville, Illinois.

And I shall hereinafter refer to them as the Danville railroads.

There is a receiver of sulphur at Danville who uses about 20,000 tons a year which we -- that sulphur is received from sulphur mines in Texas in the vicinity of Galveston.

He has available two types of routes.

One is an all-rail route from the mines via East St. Louis.

It's composed of various southwestern railroads and mines up to East St. Louis.

Beyond East St. Louis is composed of the rails of the Danville railroad.

He also has available a barge-rail route composed of the services of the appellants, as I have described them to you, to East St. Louis and hence the same services of the Danville railroads to destination.

I should note that that route, that barge-rail route starts at Galveston.

It does not start at the mines.

There is an antecedent rail haul from the mine at the Galveston, a distance of about 60 miles.

It's secured by the shipper who maintains storage stocks on the piers and wharves at Galveston.

And by reason of the cost of that rail haul, the handling of the sulphur and the rental of the piers, the price of sulphur at Galveston is $1.50 higher for shipment by barge than it is at the mines for shipment by rail.

As I said that --

Stanley Reed:

You mean the purchase price and the sulphur?

Nuel D. Belnap:

The selling price.

The selling price of the sulphur --

Stanley Reed:

What the buyer has to pay?

Nuel D. Belnap:

The buyer has to pay if he's going to ship by barge in Galveston.

Stanley Reed:

Well, that's sent down to Galveston by the producer?

Nuel D. Belnap:

They are sent to Galveston by the producer and put in storage there.