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UNITED STATES ET AL. v. HANCOCK TRUCK LINES

decided: April 23, 1945.

UNITED STATES ET AL
v.
HANCOCK TRUCK LINES, INC.



APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA.*fn*

Stone, Roberts, Black, Reed, Frankfurter, Douglas, Murphy, Jackson, Rutledge

Author: Roberts

[ 324 U.S. Page 775]

 MR. JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court.

The appellee is a motor carrier. With the approval of the Interstate Commerce Commission it acquired the operating rights of Globe Cartage Company, another such carrier, which then had pending before the Commission an application for a certificate of convenience and necessity under §§ 206 (a) and 209 (a) of the Interstate Commerce Act.*fn1 The appellee prosecuted the application as Globe's successor to obtain a certificate authorizing the exercise of Globe's so-called "grandfather" rights, that is, to continue Globe's operations as they were conducted July 1, 1935.

The Commission made an order awarding a certificate to appellee as a common carrier, but for less than all the routes embraced in the application and restricting appellee's operations to traffic moving on the bills of lading of freight forwarders.*fn2 The record discloses that the appellee filed a petition for reconsideration, in which it pressed for amendment of the order as respects the routes permitted, but waived objection to the restriction of its traffic to service of freight forwarders. It stated: "We do not challenge, nor do we complain against, the restriction to serve only freight forwarders." There is more to the same effect. The Commission denied the petition.

The appellee brought suit*fn3 to set aside and enjoin only so much of the Commission's order as restricted its operations to traffic moving on bills of lading of freight forwarders.

[ 324 U.S. Page 776]

     A district court of three judges heard the case, and issued a permanent injunction as prayed. One of these judges allowed an appeal to this court on a petition filed by the appellants more than thirty but less than sixty days after entry of the decree. The appellant in No. 449 intervened before the Commission in opposition to the appellee's application, and was permitted to intervene as a defendant in the court below. No circumstance differentiates its status from that of the appellants in No. 448, and what is said concerning that case may be taken as applicable to No. 449.

The appellee moved to dismiss on the ground that the appeal was not timely taken and was improperly allowed by a single judge. We postponed the question of our jurisdiction to the hearing on the merits. After argument and upon consideration we find ourselves in the anomalous position that whereas we hold we have jurisdiction, we cannot pass upon the substantive question of the statutory power of the Commission which is the ground of appeal.

First. Since the appeal is from the final decree of a statutory court of three judges, and not from the entry of a preliminary injunction the period for taking an appeal is sixty days, -- not thirty days as appellee contends.

When by the Act of October 22, 1913*fn4 the Commerce Court was abolished and its jurisdiction transferred to district courts, definite provision was made for direct appeal to this court, within thirty days, from an order granting or denying an interlocutory injunction in a suit to set aside an order of the Commission. In a later sentence the Act declares "A final judgment or decree of the district court may be" likewise reviewed "if appeal . . . be taken . . . within sixty days" after entry. The appellee's contention, as we shall see, rests on the assumption that when the Act speaks of a final decree, it is addressed to final decrees in

[ 324 U.S. Page 777]

     cases other than those brought to set aside orders of the Commission. But we think this reading incorrect. The paragraph as a ...


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