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JONES MOTOR CO. v. UNITED STATES

June 4, 1963

JONES MOTOR CO., Inc.
v.
The UNITED STATES of America and The Interstate Commerce Commission



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WOOD

Plaintiff, an interstate motor carrier certificated by the Interstate Commerce Commission, but without a certificate granted by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, covering the specific operation in question, commingled 22 Pennsylvania shipments with 108 other shipments, admittedly interstate in character, and transported these 130 shipments over routes through the State of New Jersey.

On May 1, 2 and 24, and June 28, 1957, these 22 shipments, destined for points in Pennsylvania, were moved from Philadelphia, over U.S. Highway 1 to Trenton, thence over New Jersey Highway 69 to Clinton, thence over U.S. Highway 22 to Allentown, and return movements were over the same routes. The plaintiff operated between Philadelphia and the Allentown, Pennsylvania area over the described routes by tacking its two interstate authorities. *fn1"

 During the period previously referred to, Jones Motor Co., Inc., hereinafter referred to as 'Jones,' conducted daily operations between Allentown and Philadelphia over the specified route via Clinton, New Jersey. The shipments involved moved over these routes at night and there were no pickups, changing of freight from one vehicle to another, or any business or terminal stops in New Jersey. This was a terminal to terminal operation by Jones with distribution or pickups by Jones via peddle runs to and from intermediate points and points in the area served by it, or Jones connected with an interline carrier where points beyond were involved. Jones also transported over the same route other movements of the same consignors and consignees as are involved in the shipments covered by this action.

 The night operation is the only scheduled run between Allentown and Philadelphia, but operations were also conducted during this period, wholly or partially over this route, but not on a scheduled basis, during daytime -- pickups and deliveries being made directly by Jones from and to points in New Jersey. The involved routes used by Jones and rates pertaining to all the shipments involved in this action were published in appropriate tariffs filed with the Commission. No effort was made by Jones at any time to conceal its manner of operation over the involved route. Jones' solicitors are stationed at Allentown and Philadelphia and at the time covered by this action traffic was solicited for freight forwarders, steamship companies, export, for traffic having both origins and destinations in Pennsylvania, and for interline carriers with which it had published through routes and rates.

 Jones was denied authority by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (P.U.C.) to operate between the Philadelphia and Allentown areas over routes wholly in Pennsylvania on July 21, 1955. On or about August 5, 1957, the P.U.C. initiated a Complaint against Jones. The P.U.C. heard its own Complaint and sustained it by its own decision and issued a Cease and Desist Order against Jones Motor Co., Inc. (Docket C-16813). Jones then appealed through the Pennsylvania Appellate Courts *fn2" without success.

 Following this series of events, Jones petitioned the United States Supreme Court for a Writ of Certiorari, which Court granted the Petition and reversed the judgment of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania in Jones Motor Co., Inc. v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, 361 U.S. 11, 80 S. Ct. 60, 4 L. Ed. 2d 50 (1959), a per curiam opinion which cited Service Storage & Transfer Co. v. Virginia, 359 U.S. 171, 79 S. Ct. 714, 3 L. Ed. 2d 717 (1959). The United States Supreme Court denied the P.U.C.'s Petition for Reconsideration and Clarification, wherein it prayed the Court 'to file a clarifying opinion or memorandum order expressly stating that the judgment of the Court below was reversed on jurisdictional grounds without regard to the merits of the controversy in the instant cause.' 361 U.S. 904, 80 S. Ct. 204, 4 L. Ed. 2d 160 (1959).

 Thereafter, the P.U.C. filed a Complaint with the Interstate Commerce Commission docketed by the Commission at M.C.-C-2732, naming Jones as defendant. This Complaint averred that the operations by Jones in transporting property between certain Pennsylvania points over routes lying partly in New Jersey were beyond the scope of its certificated authority and requested the issuance of a Cease and Desist Order.

 Jones filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint at MC-C-2732 with the Interstate Commerce Commission (I.C.C.) predicating that Motion upon the doctrine of res adjudicata and on the merits. The Motion was denied by the I.C.C. A hearing was held before the Examiner in Philadelphia on February 8, 1961 and Jones renewed its Motion to Dismiss. On September 28, 1961, the Examiner filed his 'Corrected Report and Recommended Order,' finding that Jones was performing authorized transportation between points in Pennsylvania through points in New Jersey, recommending the dismissal of the Complaint against Jones at MC-C-2732 on the merits, but denying the Motion to Dismiss which was presented formally at the outset of the hearing.

 As previously stated, none of the basic facts are in dispute, and they were admitted by Jones in stipulations of fact.

 Stated seriatim the Examiner concluded that:

 1. The longer circuitous routes utilized by Jones in and of themselves were not proof of bad faith or subterfuge, *fn3" and

 2. There existed 'logical,' 'practical' and 'feasible' reasons '* * * from the standpoint of operating efficiency and economy, for a carrier to include in the same vehicle with 108 shipments, which are admittedly in interstate commerce and moving over routes specified in its interstate certificates, 22 other shipments, over a period of four specified days, which, if defendant (Jones) had held the appropriate authority, might technically have been moved by themselves over a shorter route.

 '* * * It would not have been likely for defendant (Jones) to move an average of 5 shipments per day on four different days over this route, by themselves, while moving other shipments the same days in the same area in other vehicles via ...


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