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decided: May 27, 1907.



Author: Mckenna

[ 206 U.S. Page 433]

 MR. JUSTICE McKENNA delivered the opinion of the court.

This is an appeal from a decree of the Circuit Court of Appeals affirming a decree of the Circuit Court for the Southern District of Georgia, adjudging an advance in freight rates made by appellants to be effective June 22, 1903, upon yellow pine lumber of two cents per one hundred pounds over rates previously in force, to be unjust and unreasonable, and enjoining

[ 206 U.S. Page 434]

     the appellants, jointly and severally, from maintaining the same, "in so far as they apply to shipments of lumber from points in Georgia to Ohio River destinations and points basing thereon."

The original bill was filed April 14, 1903, by appellees to enjoin such advance in rates and a temporary restraining order was issued and notice to appellants to show cause why an injunction should not issue. On May 8 the bill was amended. On May 12 the appellants filed a demurrer to the amended bill for want of jurisdiction in the court as a court of equity and as a court of the United States, and the Southeastern Freight Association filed an answer. Appellants also filed a response to the order to show cause. On May 16 the demurrer was overruled. The temporary injunction was, however, dissolved, but the following condition was expressed:

"In case the respondents shall enforce the rates complained of, and the complainants shall make proper application to the Interstate Commerce Commission to redress their alleged grievances, the court will entertain a renewed application on the record as made, and such appropriate additions thereto as may be proposed by either party, enjoining the enforcement of such rates, pending the investigation of the Commission, unless otherwise dissolved, and on presentation to the court of the report of the Commission such other action be taken as will be conformable to law and the principles of equity." 123 Fed. Rep. 789.

The appellants took the steps prescribed by the Interstate Commerce Act to put the advanced rates into effect, and the appellees, on June 23, 1903, filed a petition before the Interstate Commerce Commission, charging that "in promulgating said tariff of increased rates and maintaining and enforcing the same" the appellants were acting "in concert with each other and with other lumber carrying roads," who with them were "co-members of the Southeastern Freight Association." The petition also charged that the advance was "arbitrary, unreasonable and unjust," and prayed for an order commanding

[ 206 U.S. Page 435]

     appellants, and each of them, to desist from enforcing the advance. All of the appellants except the Macon and Birming-ham Railway Company filed a joint and several answer, in which they traversed the allegations of the petition and pleaded justification by the conditions affecting the roads and the traffic. They also alleged that the Georgia Saw Mill Association, to which appellees belonged, was a combination in restraint of trade and commerce, and that, therefore, appellees did not "come before the Commission with clean hands." A great deal of testimony was taken on the issues presented, and the Commission found and concluded that the advance in rates "was not warranted by the testimony, and that the increased rates put in force June 22, 1903, were unreasonable and unjust." The specific findings and conclusions of the Commission are reported in 10 I.C.C.R. 548. After the petition was filed before the Interstate Commerce Commission, but before final action, appellees filed an amended bill and again moved the Circuit Court for an injunction. In the amended bill it was alleged that appellants, after the dissolution of the restraining order, filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission and gave public notice that on June 22, 1903, the advance in sales on lumber would be established and put in effect, and such advance became effective June 22, 1903. The appellants in a joint and several answer admitted the averments of the amended bill, but reserved the benefit of their demurrer to the original bill. The motion for an injunction was dismissed. 125 Fed. Rep. 789.

The Commission made its order hereinbefore referred to on the seventh of February, 1905, and on March 17, 1905, the appellees presented a petition to the Circuit Court stating the substance of the findings of the Commission and attaching a copy of its report and opinion.

An order to show cause was issued. On June 3, 1905, appellants filed a joint and several answer, which was verified. The Southeastern Association answered separately. The appellees also ...

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