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W. J. DILLNER TRANSFER COMPANY v. MESSNER (06/24/52)

June 24, 1952

W. J. DILLNER TRANSFER COMPANY, APPELLANT,
v.
MESSNER



Appeal, No. 5, May T., 1952, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, 1950, Commonwealth Docket No. 234 and Equity Docket No. 1954, in case of W. J. Dillner Transfer Company v. Otto F. Messner, Secretary of Revenue, Ray M. Smock, Secretary of Highways and C. M. Wilhelm, Commissioner of Pennsylvania State Police. Order and decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Douglass D. Storey, with him Ernie Adamson, John H. Moody and Storey & Bailey, for appellant.

Phil H. Lewis, Deputy Attorney General, with him Robert E. Woodside, Attorney General, for appellees.

Before Drew, C.j., Stern, Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey and Musmanno, JJ.

Author: Bell

[ 371 Pa. Page 356]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL

The real question in this case is: May an owner operate a combination of a truck tractor and semitrailer

[ 371 Pa. Page 357]

    on the highways of Pennsylvania if the gross weight exceeds 45,000 pounds but does not exceed the gross carrying capacity for which each of the two vehicles has been separately registered under The Vehicle Code?

Plaintiff, a common carrier by motor vehicle in both interstate and intrastate commerce, duly registered and certified by both the Public Utilities Commission and the Interstate Commerce Commission, is a domestic corporation with headquarters in Pittsburgh. Plaintiff brought a Bill in equity (1) to restrain the Secretary of Highways and the Commissioner of State Police from interfering with the passage of their combined truck tractors and semi-trailers and (2) to compel the Secretary of Highways to issue to plaintiff a special hauling permit for overweight cargo. The Secretary of Highways refuses to issue a special permit if, as in this case, the load is built-up or is capable of dismemberment. Defendants filed preliminary objections which were sustained by the trial Court in an able opinion written by President Judge BRAHAM; the plaintiff's bill was dismissed.

Section 102 of The Vehicle Code -- Act of 1 May, 1929, P.L. 905, as amended, 75 P.S. 2 -- provides: "... Semi-trailer. -- Every vehicle of the trailer type so designed and used in conjunction with a motor vehicle that some part of its own weight and that of its load rests upon or is carried by another vehicle.

"Truck Tractor. -- Every motor vehicle designed and used primarily for drawing other vehicles, and not so constructed as to carry a load, other than a part of the weight of the vehicle and load so drawn."

ยง 903 (75 P.S. 453) provides: "Weight of Vehicles and Loads. -- (a) Commercial motor vehicles and truck tractors, other than those electrically operated, shall not be ...


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