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SWIFT & COMPANY v. UNITED STATES ET AL.

decided: May 5, 1952.

SWIFT & COMPANY
v.
UNITED STATES ET AL.



APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS.

Vinson, Black, Reed, Frankfurter, Douglas, Jackson, Burton, Clark, Minton

Author: Minton

[ 343 U.S. Page 375]

 MR. JUSTICE MINTON delivered the opinion of the Court.

On July 28, 1947, the appellant, Swift and Company, filed a complaint, later amended, before the Interstate Commerce Commission against the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe and other railroads, alleging that the charges on direct carload shipments of livestock*fn1 from points outside Illinois to its proposed new plant in the Chicago Packingtown area are (1) unreasonable, (2) unduly prejudicial to livestock as a commodity, and (3) unduly prejudicial to Swift as against its competitors, all in violation of the Interstate Commerce Act.*fn2 Swift asked for the establishment of reasonable joint through rates for line-haul carriers serving Chicago and the Chicago Junction Railroad's lessee, the Chicago River and Indiana Railroad, hereafter called Junction,*fn3 such joint rates to

[ 343 U.S. Page 376]

     include delivery of livestock to Swift's industrial siding at its proposed plant and not to exceed the line-haul rates now in effect at the Union Stock Yards and other points of delivery on line-haul railroads in the area. Swift's proposed plant, near its present plant, will be located on Junction's rails and not on those of any line-haul carrier.

After Swift filed its complaint, Junction sought to file a new tariff canceling the present one as it applies to livestock. The present tariff provides a flat charge for switching carload freight to and from industrial sidings and team tracks; under the new tariff, Junction would not have offered switching services for livestock under any circumstances. Swift and others objected, and the filing was suspended so that the Commission could hear Swift's complaint and Junction's request together on a consolidated record.

The Commission dismissed the complaint and refused to cancel the switching tariff as to livestock. Swift & Co. v. Atchison, T. & S. F. R. Co., 274 I. C. C. 557. Swift then sought review of the Commission's order of dismissal by a statutory three-judge District Court. That court sustained the Commission's order, and this appeal followed pursuant to 28 U. S. C. §§ 1253 and 2101 (b). No question is raised as to the Commission's refusal to cancel the switching tariff.

All livestock shipments by rail to the Chicago area are handled solely by the line-haul carriers; delivery is direct to line-haul terminals at the line-haul rate. Such terminals are the Stock Yards and those unloading pens located on switches directly adjoining a line-haul carrier's rails. Swift is the one large packer in Chicago that has such a line-haul terminal and can receive all its direct shipments of livestock at line-haul rates. This terminal, the Omaha Packing Plant, a Swift subsidiary situated two and one-half miles northeast of Swift's present plant and outside the Stock Yards district, is located on the

[ 343 U.S. Page 377]

     rails of the Burlington Railroad, a line-haul carrier. Here Swift receives its direct livestock shipments, about 6,500 carloads annually, which it trucks to its plant in the Stock Yards area.*fn4 The balance of the livestock delivered in Chicago, whether direct or otherwise, is delivered to the Stock Yards, with some minor exceptions, by the line-haul carriers over certain Junction running tracks to the Stock Yards unloading pens. The carriers have trackage rights on these running tracks for which a charge is paid to Junction. On direct shipments to a packer delivered to the Stock Yards, the Yards' facilities, including a vast system of runways, overpasses and tunnels, are used to drive the livestock from the unloading pens to the packer's plant. The charges for these facilities are fixed by the Secretary of Agriculture. Junction has never switched or handled any livestock except in an emergency.

The delivery of livestock in the Stock Yards area is to be contrasted with that of "dead freight."*fn5 The line-haul carriers make no direct deliveries of dead freight; none of the approximately 500 industries in the area have plants located on line-haul rails and the line-haul carriers do not have trackage rights over the Junction rails which lead to the plants. Consequently, all dead freight is switched by Junction and delivered to the industrial sidings or team tracks alongside of and connecting with Junction's rails.

Since Junction provides only trackage rights for the livestock shipments to the Stock Yards, the line-haul rates on livestock do not include Junction as a participating carrier. Junction does participate, however, in joint

[ 343 U.S. Page 378]

     rates for dead freight. For any switching operation not covered by line-haul rates in which Junction participates, Junction has a flat switching charge of $28.80 per car.*fn6 This charge would apply to any direct shipments at Swift's proposed plant in Packingtown which, as we have noted, is not located on any line-haul rails but rather on Junction's rails.

Trains for the Stock Yards are made up at the break-up yards of the line-haul carriers, located from a few to several miles from the Stock Yards. A train coming in from the west moves to the Ashland Yards of Junction, which are divided into the North and the South Yards. The North Yards are used for the receipt, separation, and distribution of cars of dead freight and empties outbound from the packers and other industries, while the South Yards are used for cars of dead freight inbound. This division is made by three parallel running tracks owned by Junction, numbered 1102, 1103 and 1104, over which the line-haul carriers are permitted to operate in and out of the Stock Yards. Sixty-three percent of the trains to the Stock Yards area are composed exclusively of livestock. The balance are consolidated trains, carrying both livestock and dead freight.

An all-livestock train moves by line-haul carrier, using its own crew and equipment, eastward over Track 1103 to the unloading pens in the Stock Yards and is there spotted for unloading. While the cars are being unloaded, the engine cuts off, passes around to the other end of the train and couples on; when the unloading is completed, the train returns westward over Track 1102 or 1104 through Junction's Ashland Yards and back to its break-up yards with the empties. This all-livestock train is

[ 343 U.S. Page 379]

     delivered to the Stock Yards in one movement by line-haul ...


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