Service Storage & Transfer Company, Inc. v. Virginia

PETITIONER: Service Storage & Transfer Company, Inc.
LOCATION: Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co.

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)

CITATION: 359 US 171 (1959)
ARGUED: Feb 26, 1959
DECIDED: Mar 30, 1959

Facts of the case


Media for Service Storage & Transfer Company, Inc. v. Virginia

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 26, 1959 in Service Storage & Transfer Company, Inc. v. Virginia

Earl Warren:

Number 92, Service Storage & Transfer Company, Petitioner versus Commonwealth of Virginia.

Mr. McInerny, you may proceed.

Francis W. McInerny:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

This case was on writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia.

Petitioner is a motor carrier holding operating authority from the Interstate Commerce Commission.

It conducts operations of principally between defined areas in the States of Virginia and West Virginia.

The State Corporation Commission instituted proceedings against petitioner which led to fines totalling of $5000 for transporting shipments between two points in Virginia through Bluefield, West Virginia in accordance with its interstate certificate as construed by the Interstate Commerce Commission.

There were a total of 17 counts specified in the rule to show cause before the State Corporation Commission.

And at the hearing, in the submission of briefs there, they convicted on a total of the seven counts omitting three that the Government later confessed thereon.

So to summarize on that points -- on that point, Your Honors, there were 10 counts involving shipments moving from one point in Virginia to a second point in Virginia where the State authority has conceded that the operations were interstate in character.

Now, I believe that if I can make reference to a map that I have here behind me.

I may more quickly inform the Court on the facts and circumstances surrounding the growth or development of these interstate certificates and I earnestly state that an understanding of these facts, I believe, will make it easy for the Court to decide the question of law that's involved.

Here is Southwestern Virginia.Above the black line is the State of West Virginia and over here to the west or left is a portion of Kentucky.

Soon after the enactment of the Motor Carrier Act, a petitioner qualified as a grandfather operator and was issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity which generally describe and as is depicted here, permits operations between Bluefield, West Virginia and points within five miles thereof, on the one hand, and on the other points in Southwestern Virginia and described by this blue line and points in West Virginia.

Now, the Interstate Commerce Commission's --

Earl Warren:

What is the scale of that map, please do -- just -- just so we would know approximately.

Francis W. McInerny:

By maintenance is 5000 -- about 40 miles.

Earl Warren:

Period is 40 miles.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Yes, you mean the whole -- all of that is 40 miles?

Francis W. McInerny:

No, Your Honor, from Old Bluefield to Roanoke is about 54 miles.

This -- this would be about 54 miles, Your Honor.

Earl Warren:

The one inch to five miles that's the -- one is to five miles.

Francis W. McInerny:

That's correct, sir.

Now, with respect to this first certificate of petitioner, the Interstate Commerce Commission has consistently held that a -- the radial authority of this truck authorizes the whole of thereof to conduct operations between the radial base which would be the Bluefield area here on the one hand and on the other any or all points described in the outlying territory.

That is, that it could pick up a shipment at Roanoke and deliver it in Bluefield or pick up a shipment in Bluefield West Virginia and deliver it in Bristol or Whitfield or Charleston, West Virginia.

(Voice Overlap) --

William O. Douglas:

They pick up the shipment at Bristol and deliver it to Roanoke?

Francis W. McInerny:

It could not, sir.

Later, I believe in 1943 Service Storage through a Section 5 application asking Interstate Commerce Commission to be permitted to acquire the authority previously issued to a gentleman by the name of (Inaudible) and he was the holder of authority described here in yellow that is between Bluefield, West Virginia enforced within five miles thereof and on -- on the one hand and on the other points in within 75 miles of this base area in Virginia and West Virginia.

Now, pursuant to the provisions of Section 216 (a) of the Motor Carrier Act, prior to the time that these two individual carriers were merged in one carrier, they were permitted to interchange or interline the track just as railroads and for the regulated carriers are permitted.