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YOURGA v. UNITED STATES

January 25, 1961

John H. YOURGA, d/b/a John H. Yourga Trucking, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES of America and the Interstate Commerce Commission, Defendants, and The Pennsylvania Railroad Company, a Corporation, et al., Intervenors



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WILLSON

This civil action was brought pursuant to Title 28 U.S.C.A. §§ 1336, 1398, 2284, 2321, 2322 and 2325. The three-judge court was empanelled to hear and determine the issues by order of Chief Judge Biggs of the Third Judicial Circuit, entered September 19, 1960. In his brief plaintiff's counsel has given us a summary of the proceedings had before the Interstate Commerce Commission which is substantially as follows:

'* * * On or about December 23, 1958, John H. Yourga, d/b/a John H. Yourga Trucking filed an application with the Interstate Commerce Commission, seeking a certificate of public convenience and necessity, authorizing operations in interstate commerce as a common carrier by motor vehicle, over irregular routes, of iron and steel articles as described in Groups I, II and III of Appendix IV to the report in Descriptions in Motor Carrier Certificates, 61 M.C.C. 209, 766, from points in Mercer County, Pennsylvania to points in New York and New Jersey, and damaged shipments of the said commodities on return. This application was docketed at M.C, 59266, Sub. No. 7 and referred to Hearing Examiner C. Evans Brooks for hearing.

 'Hearing was held at Washington, D.C., on March 3 and 4, 1959, at which time a number of protestants appeared in opposition to the application. On or about June 2, 1959, the Hearing Examiner served his 'Report and Order Recommended by C. Evans Brooks, Hearing Examiner', wherein he recommended denial of the application in its entirety. On or about June 26, 1959 and within the time prescribed by law, Plaintiff herein filed Exceptions to the Examiner's Report and certain of the protestants filed replies thereto.

 'On October 19, 1959, the Interstate Commerce Commission, through Division 1, Commissioners Murphy, Webb and Herring, served its 'Report of the Commission', sustaining the Examiner and denying the application of Plaintiff in its entirety.

 'On or about November 11, 1959, Plaintiff herein filed a Petition for Reconsideration with the Interstate Commission.

 'Subsequent to the filing of applicant's Petition for Reconsideration, Plaintiff's counsel was notified that a certificate of public convenience and necessity, dated November 23, 1959, had been issued to the Youngstown Cartage Co. Analysis of this certificate made it plain that said carrier was not authorized to transport metals and metal products from Sharon, Pennsylvania to points in New York and New Jersey, a result directly contrary to the specific findings of the Examiner and of Division 1.

 'Plaintiff's counsel also was informed that Sawhill Tubular Products, Inc. and Sharon Steel Corporation had learned of the Youngstown Cartage Co. certificate, dated November 23, 1960 and had, accordingly, ceased the use of this carrier on or about January 22, 1960.

 'Under date of February 8, 1960, Plaintiff herein filed his 'Applicant's Petition for Reopening, for Receipt of Late Filed Exhibits and for Reconsideration'. This Petition attached certain exhibits which were offered in evidence to show the correct authority of the Youngstown Cartage Co.; to show the importance of Youngstown Cartage as a carrier for Sharon Steel Corporation and the tonnages which must be moved and for which Youngstown Cartage Co. is no longer available; to show the efforts made by Sharon Steel Corporation to secure service and the inability of Moore-Flesher Hauling Company to serve; and to show the tonnages moved by Youngstown Cartage Co. for Sawhill Tubular Products, Inc., which tonnage must now be moved and for which Youngstown Cartage Co. is no longer available.

 'Certain protestants filed Replies to applicant's Petition for Reconsideration, dated November 11, 1959 and certain protestants filed Answers to applicant's Petition for Reopening for Receipt of Late Filed Exhibits and for Reconsideration, dated February 8, 1960.

 'On or about June 15, 1960, the Interstate Commerce Commission issued its order denying both the applicant's petitions. * * *'

 We have thought it appropriate to accept plaintiff's review of the proceedings before the commission because plaintiff points to the chronological events, and the date of entry of the orders which form the subject matter of his claim for relief before this court. It is to be noticed that the final order of the commission does not come until June 15, 1960, but the commission, by Division 1, adopted the Examiner's findings on October 9, 1959. The foregoing then is the record upon which this court is to render a decision on whether the commission has given due consideration to plaintiff's cause.

 Plaintiff's counsel poses three propositions for decision. He says, (1) the order of the Interstate Commerce Commission dated June 15, 1960 is fatally defective by reason of the lack of findings and conclusions, (2) the Interstate Commerce Commission has failed properly to evaluate the evidence relative to necessity, and (3) the Interstate Commerce Commission has failed properly to evaluate the evidence relative to the inadequacy of the existing service.

 In commencing an evaluation of the propositions raised by the plaintiff, several well-known principles must be kept in mind. In the first place, the action of the commission is presumed valid. The commission is alone authorized to decide upon the weight of the evidence and the significance of the facts. There is no requirement that the commission specify the weight to be given to any item of evidence or fact, or disclose the mental operations by which its decisions are reached. Baltimore & O.R. Co. v. United States, 298 U.S. 349, 56 S. Ct. 797, 80 L. Ed. 1209. The court must sustain the commission if its findings are supported by substantial evidence. Universal Camera Corporation v. N.L.R.B., 340 U.S. 474, 496, 71 S. Ct. 456, 95 L. Ed. 456. We also recognize that unless in some specific regard there has been a prejudicial departure from the requirements, this court is without authority to interfere. United States v. Pierce Auto Freight Lines, 327 U.S. 515, 66 S. Ct. 687, 90 L. Ed. 821; and particularly on appeal this court cannot substitute its judgment for that of the commission provided the commission's determination is supported in the record and under applicable law. C.I.R. v. Fisher, 327 U.S. 512, 66 S. Ct. 686, 90 L. Ed. 818.

 Plaintiff's argument in attacking the order of June 15, 1960 proceeds: Plaintiff sharply complains that on November 23, 1959, the commission, by its own order, materially and substantially reduced the quantum of evidence upon which the Examiner's findings were based. As a result, he asserts, that the commission was thereafter required to make new findings and conclusions when the matter was finally disposed of in the June 15th order. The record shows that the Examiner, in considering the evidence before him, and in his findings and conclusions, relied upon Youngstown Cartage Company as being one of the major carriers who was authorized, and did provide a substantial portion of the service to two of the shippers from Mercer County, Pa. to the destination points sought by the plaintiff here. As is ...


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