Pan-Atlantic Steamship Corporation v. Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company

PETITIONER: Pan-Atlantic Steamship Corporation
RESPONDENT: Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company
LOCATION: Congress

DOCKET NO.: 408
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 353 US 436 (1957)
ARGUED: Apr 23, 1957
DECIDED: Jun 03, 1957

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Pan-Atlantic Steamship Corporation v. Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 23, 1957 (Part 1) in Pan-Atlantic Steamship Corporation v. Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 23, 1957 (Part 2) in Pan-Atlantic Steamship Corporation v. Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company

Earl Warren:

Mr. Macdonald, you may proceed.

David G. Macdonald:

Thank you, sir.

As I said before the recess, this was a suit by the railroad appellees to set aside the order of October 28th, 1955, of the Interstate Commerce Commission, which either itself extended the previously granted temporary authority or recognized that the section 9 (b) in itself acted upon the previously granted temporary authority to extend it.

The position of the railroads was not that the Commission abused this discretion in granting this order of October 28 but that it lacks statutory authority to do the Act.

Earl Warren:

Was this -- was this an isolated act or did the Commission do this in other similar circumstances?

David G. Macdonald:

This is a practice which began, sir, in 1947, and has continued.

Since that time, there had been, I believe brief show, probably a thousand similar orders entered.

About three years ago, the -- for the first time, an -- an attack was made on the validity of that action by the Commission in a case which is appendix B of our brief Stone's Express, Inc.versus U.S.

That suit, the Stone's Express suit also arose in the United States District Court from Massachusetts.

As a consequence, when this case was presented to the same court, the lower court took the position that the matter was already decided and that it would not change its position but would be bound by its previous position in the Stone's Express case.

Felix Frankfurter:

Was -- who was -- who sat in Stone's Express besides Judge -- Judge Hartigan.

David G. Macdonald:

Judge Ford.

William O. Douglas:

(Inaudible)

David G. Macdonald:

I'm not certain as to the third one.

Hugo L. Black:

(Inaudible)

David G. Macdonald:

In -- in the -- in our case, Judges Magruder, Wyzanski and Ford sat.

In the Stone's Express case, we had one of the three who would -- I mean in our case, we had one of the three who would sat in the Stone's Express case, that was Judge Ford.

Felix Frankfurter:

When Judge Ford now, the reason I ask is because Judge Ford expresses his independent judgment as if agreeing with Judge Wyzanski.

David G. Macdonald:

That's correct.

He --

Felix Frankfurter:

But he even dissented in the earlier case.

David G. Macdonald:

That is correct, indicating a change in -- in his attitude towards the problem presented.

Felix Frankfurter:

(Inaudible)

David G. Macdonald:

Okay.

Felix Frankfurter:

-- he had been asked to report.

David G. Macdonald:

That was the point I was going to make next that while we were the defendants below, because the Court indicated to is prior argument that if this was the same issue presented in the Stone's Express case, we could expect the same result.

We did get the same result.

We lost the case below but two of the three judges in a concurring opinion indicated that were the matter presented for the first time to that court rather than being bound by Stone's Express, they would have viewed it differently.

As a consequence, we have no decision of -- no independent decision of the lower court in this case to look to for the reasoning supporting the decision.

We have to look to the earlier decision in the Stone's Express case which in effect was adopted by the Court in this case.