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UNITED STATES v. MONT STAHLMAN LUMBER

August 24, 1973

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff,
v.
MONT STAHLMAN LUMBER, INC., Defendant


Scalera, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SCALERA

On August 16, 1966, acting as a partner in Mont Stahlman Lumber Company (a partnership located in Brookville, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania), and as the vice president of Westover Lumber Corporation, Sherwood R. Hilton signed an "Application for Motor Carrier Certificate or Permit" in behalf of carrier H.L. Knepshield. This application sought ICC authorization to make lumber shipments from points in Jefferson and Clarion Counties, Pennsylvania, to various destinations in Maryland, Indiana, New York and Wisconsin. During the period beginning October 1, 1967 and ending February 27, 1968, defendant, Mont Stahlman Lumber, Inc. (a corporation located in Derry Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania) engaged H.L. Knepshield to carry 13 shipments from Gray Station, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, to various destinations not covered by the ICC authorization application filed on August 16, 1966, or any other ICC authorization. Prior to and during this period, Sherwood R. Hilton also served as an officer of Mont Stahlman Lumber, Inc.

 On April 6, 1972, the government filed a civil complaint alleging that Mont Stahlman had aided and abetted H.L. Knepshield in the latter's efforts to carry lumber from Gray Station, Pennsylvania, to various destinations without first obtaining the required ICC authorization for those routes.

 The government is pursuing these charges on the following theory: Acting for Mont Stahlman Lumber Company, Sherwood Hilton signed H.L. Knepshield's request for ICC authorization to ship lumber from points in Jefferson and Clarion Counties. At that point Hilton knew or should have known that Knepshield did not have authority to ship lumber from points in Westmoreland County. Thus, when Hilton became an officer in Mont Stahlman Lumber, Inc., he brought that knowledge with him. Given that knowledge, the corporation's employment of Knepshield for unauthorized runs is equivalent to aiding and abetting him in using unauthorized routes. *fn1"

 The matter is presently before us on defendant's motion for summary judgment. In that motion the defendant argues that:

 1. Given the government's responses to interrogatories filed by the defendant, the government cannot adduce proofs legally sufficient to sustain the conclusion that Mont Stahlman aided and abetted Knepshield in his violations of 49 U.S.C.A. §§ 303(c), 306(a)(1) and 309(a)(1).

 2. Given the government's responses to interrogatories filed by the defendant, the government cannot adduce evidence which indicates that Mont Stahlman knew that Knepshield did not have authorization to make shipments from Gray Station, Pennsylvania, and if Mont Stahlman Lumber, Inc. lacked such knowledge, it cannot be an aider and abettor within the meaning of 18 U.S.C.A. § 2.

 We dispose of this motion on the basis of the defendant's first argument, and therefore we do not discuss the second, although it also appears to have merit.

 DECISION

 In the instant action, the government seeks to recover civil forfeitures from Mont Stahlman pursuant to § 222(h) of the Interstate Commerce Act (49 U.S.C.A. § 322(h)). That section in relevant part provides:

 
Any motor carrier, broker, or lessor, or other person, or any officer, agent, employee, or representative thereof, . . . who shall fail or refuse to comply with the provisions of § 303(c) or § 306(a)(1) or § 309(a)(1) of this title shall forfeit to the United States not to exceed $500.00 for each such offense. . . . All forfeitures provided for in this section . . . shall be recoverable in a civil suit in the name of the United States . . ..

 Sections 303(c), 306(a)(1) and 309(a)(1) prohibit the transportation of goods in interstate or foreign commerce by anyone engaging in the for-hire motor vehicle transportation business unless the ICC has issued a certificate or permit authorizing such transportation.

 These sections in relevant part ...


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