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UNITED STATES AT RELATION KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY v. INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION

March 8, 1920

UNITED STATES AT THE RELATION OF KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY
v.
INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION



ERROR TO THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

White, McKenna, Holmes, Day, Van Devanter, Pitney, McReynolds, Brandeis, Clarke

Author: White

[ 252 U.S. Page 182]

 MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the court.

The Act of Congress of March 1, 1913, c. 92, 37 Stat. 701, amending the "Act to regulate commerce," imposed the duty upon the Interstate Commerce Commission (ยง 19a) to "investigate, ascertain, and report the value of all the property owned or used by every common carrier subject to the provisions of this Act." Specifying the steps to be taken in the performance of the general duties thus imposed, the same section commanded as follows:

"First. In such investigation said commission shall ascertain and report in detail as to each piece of property owned or used by said common carrier for its purposes as a common carrier . . . the cost of reproduction new, the cost of reproduction less depreciation, and an analysis of the methods by which these several costs are obtained, and the reason for their differences, if any. . . .

"Second. Such investigation and report shall state in detail and separately from improvements the original cost of all lands, rights of way, and terminals owned or used for the purposes of a common carrier, and ascertained as of the time of dedication to public use, and the present value of the same, and separately the original and present cost of condemnation and damages or of purchase in excess of such original cost or present value.

Fifth . . . [7th par.]. Whenever the commission shall have completed the tentative valuation of the property of any common carrier, as herein directed, and before such valuation shall become final, the commission shall give notice by registered letter to the said carrier, . . . stating the valuation placed upon the several

[ 252 U.S. Page 183]

     classes of property of said carrier, and shall allow thirty days in which to file a protest of the same with the commission. . . .

"If notice of protest is filed the commission shall fix a time for hearing the same, and shall proceed as promptly as may be to hear and consider any matter relative and material thereto. . . . All final valuations by the commission and the classification thereof shall be published and shall be prima facie evidence of the value of the property in all proceedings under the Act to regulate commerce as of the date of the fixing thereof, and in all judicial proceedings for the enforcement of the Act approved February fourth, eighteen hundred and eighty seven, commonly known as 'the Act to regulate commerce" and the various Acts amendatory thereof, and in all judicial proceedings brought to enjoin, set aside, annul, or suspend, in whole or in part, any order of the Interstate Commerce Commission."

Pursuant to these requirements the Commission proceeded to investigate and report the value of the property of the Kansas City Southern Railway Company. Upon completing a tentative valuation, the Commission gave the notice required by the statute to the Railway Company, which thereupon filed a protest against such valuation on the ground that in making it the Commission had failed to consider and include the "present cost of condemnation and damages or of purchase in excess of such original cost or present value." Upon the subject of the protest, the Railway Company took a large amount of testimony and much was also taken by the Commission, both parties having incurred considerable expense in the matter.

Pending this situation, in order that the excessive expense of taking each individual parcel and showing what it would cost to acquire it or a right of way over it by purchase ...


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